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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Panasonic Announces new AVCCAM HD Handheld Camcorders


Panasonic announched two new professional AVCCAM HD handheld camcorders, the AG-AC160 and AG-AC130.

The AC160/AC130 incorporate high-sensitivity 1/3?, full-HD 2.2 megapixel 3-MOS imagers to capture native 1920 x 1080 resolution images, with a new, wider 22X HD zoom lens, the longest in its category.

The AC160 will be available in September at a suggested list price of $4,795.00, and the AC130 will deliver in October at a suggested list price of $3,895.00.

Key new AC160/AC130 features include two SD Memory Card slots for relay or simultaneous recording, compatibility with Panasonic?s new SDHC full Class 10 UHS-1 (Ultra High Speed) Memory Cards, an enhanced viewfinder and LCD display, and DV recording. The higher-end AC160 also includes such top production features as 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 in 1080p and an HD-SDI out.?

The AVCCAM camcorders? 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 22X zoom lens with three independent adjustable rings for zoom, focus and iris, these new AVCCAM units offer a wide 28mm to 616 mm (35mm full frame 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 (approx. 8 Mbps, 720p only), which is ideal for shooting sports training and web video.

These latest AVCCAM camcorders are compatible with Panasonic?s ultra high-speed UHS-1 Memory Card series (in addition to providing existing SDXC and SDHC card support), with transfer rates of 90MBs, four-and-a-half times as fast as the previous generation of SDHC media. With two SD slots for continuous recording, the AC160/130 can record up to 12 hours on two 64GB SDB cards in PH mode, with automatic clip spanning across the two cards. The two slots can also be utilized for simultaneous back-up recording.

At 60Hz, the camcorders 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, 480/223.98p. 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 22-step variable frame rate capability in 1080/23.98pN, 29.97p and 25p, providing users the cinematic expression of higher-end cameras to 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 camcorders? lens system offers useful functions including Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S) 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 camcorders 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. Other connectors include a camera remote for Zoom and Start/Stop recording, an index remote, and a pre-set time code in/out that doubles as a Video Out.

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 Memory Card into Mac or PC computers or by connecting the camera directly via its USB 2.0 interface. Panasonic?s new 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, will be available this summer as a free download from the company?s web site.

For easy HD viewing, the camcorders are equipped with a widescreen 1,226,000-pixel LCOS color viewfinder and a widescreen 921,000-pixel 3.45-inch LCD color monitor. Weighing just over five pounds, the AC160/130 offer a well-balanced, ergonomic design. Power consumption is low at under 12 watts.

Panasonic will support the AC160/AC130 with a three-year limited warranty (one year plus two extra years upon registration).


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