PANASONIC ANNOUNCES NEW AVCCAM HD HANDHELD CAMERA RECORDERS
* Premium AG-AC160 Offers Variable Frame Rates, LPCM Audio, HD SDI Output
Key new features include two SD card slots for relay or simultaneous recording, compatibility with high-capacity SDXC media, an enhanced viewfinder and LCD display, and DV recording. The higher-end AC160 includes such top production features including variable frame rate recording in 1080p, Linear PCM audio, HD SDI output, and switchability between 59.94Hz/50Hz.
“These new AVCCAM handhelds offer the longer lensing that customers have been clamoring for in a small form factor with state-of-the art, high-bandwidth AVCCAM, Panasonic’s implementation of MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 high-profile encoding,” said Jan Crittenden Livingston, Product Manager, PSC. “In addition, the AC160 adds the creative flexibility of Full HD off-speed recording and an HD SDI out.”
The AVCCAM camera recorders’ Full HD resolution imager produces stunning 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 AVCHD video at high sensitivity. Because the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec provides a doubling of bandwidth efficiency and improved video performance over the older MPEG-2 compression-based formats, recordings look clean and crisp, even during fast motion, without image degradation or dropouts. Utilizing a 21X zoom lens with three independent adjustable rings for zoom, focus and iris, these new AVCCAM units offer a wide 28mm (35mm equivalent) viewing angle, covering most shooting situations without the need for a wide-angle conversion lens.
The AC160/130 record video in four professional AVCCAM HD recording modes, including the highest-quality PH mode (average 21 Mbps/Max 24Mbps), the HA mode (approx.17 Mbps), the extended recording HE mode (approx. 6 Mbps) and a PM mode (less than 10 Mbps, 720p only), which is ideal for shooting sports training and web video.
These latest AVCCAM camera recorders are among the first to enjoy the benefits of advanced SDXC media card compatibility in addition to existing SDHC card support. SDXC is the newest SD memory card specification that supports memory capacities above 32GB and up to 2TB. With two SD slots for continuous recording, the AC160/130 can record up to 12 hours on two 64GB SDXC cards in PH mode, with automatic clip spanning across the two cards. The two slots can also be utilized for simultaneous recording.
At 60Hz, the camera recorders support the following HD formats in PH mode: 1080/59.94i, 1080/29.97p, 1080/23.98pN, 720/59.94p, 720/29.97p, 720/23.98pN; in HA and HE modes, they record in 1080/59.97i; and in standard definition DV, they record 480/59.94i, 480/29.97p, 480/23.98p. At 50Hz, the AC160 also records in 1080/50i and 1080/25p, in 720/50p and 720/25p, and in 576/50i and 576/25p.
The AC160 offers variable frame rate capability in 1080/23.98p, 29.97p and 25p, providing users the cinematic expression of higher-end cameras which support undercranking / overcranking for fast or slow-motion effects.
The AC160/130 include such desirable professional features as time code/UB recording; time/date stamp; and two wired remote control terminals (for zoom, focus, iris, REC start/stop controls). The camera recorder’s lens system offers useful functions including Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) for smooth stable shooting and Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS), which helps compensate for wide variations in lighting.
Standard professional interfaces include an HD SDI output (AC160 only), HDMI output (AVCHD only), USB 2.0 (mini B-type), IEEE 1394 output (DV only), and a built-in stereo microphone. The camera recorders feature two locking XLR inputs with switches for mic/line, two RCA audio outputs, and +48V Phantom Power capability. The AC160 records two channels of LPCM audio in the PH and DV modes, and Dolby Digital in all HD modes. The AC130 records two channels of Dolby Digital in all modes.
The AVCCAM handhelds offers useful solid-state recording functions including pre-record, interval recording, shot marker and metadata capture. Additional features include waveform and vectorscope display, focus assists, auto focus with face detection, white balance, mode display, zebra display, color bar, tally lamps, 4-position ND optical filter controls, slow shutter and synchro-scan shutter functions, a multi-language menu, and three programmable user buttons. A wireless remote is also included.
For editing or playback, professionals can transfer content by inserting the SD Card into Mac or PC computers or by connecting the camera directly via its USB 2.0 interface. Panasonic recently announced AVCCAM Importer software, a QuickTime plug-in component that eliminates the need to convert AVCHD files to ProRES422 files before editing in Final Cut Pro, that will be available this summer as a free download from the company’s web site.
For easy HD viewing, the camera recorders are equipped with a widescreen 1,226,000 pixels LCOS color viewfinder and a widescreen 921,000 pixels 8.8 cm (3.45 inches) LCD color monitor. Weighing approx. 2.3kg (5.1 lb), the AC160/130 offer a well-balanced, ergonomic design.
The AG-AC160 and AG-AC130 will be available this Autumn at suggested list prices less than $5,500 and less than $4,000, respectively. Panasonic will support the AC160/AC130 with a three-year limited warranty (one year plus two extra years upon registration).
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