Panasonic PBITS Professional & Broadcast Systems has announced the AG-HMC151E AVCHD tapeless professional handheld camera. Part of Panasonic's AVCCAM series of products, the AG-HMC151E incorporates the design concept of the highly regarded DVX100 and features a newly developed Leica Dicomar zoom lens, providing the widest angle of any 1/3-inch camcorder. At 1.7 kg, the AG-HMC151E is also the lightest 1/3-inch camcorder on the market.
The AG-HMC151E's AVCHD format allows the camera to record HD digital AV data on SD/SDHC memory cards with the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec, providing the robust and convenient tapeless operation proven in Panasonic's P2 range of professional cameras. Without the need for a motor drive and other moving parts, the camera is instantly ready for recording, and free from problems such as condensation, dropouts, head clogging, and wear. Footage shot with the AG-HMC151E is recorded as files and can be transferred at high speed for immediate use on a PC or Mac, without the need for digitisation.
The AVCHD recording format allows HD video to be recorded in the form of 8-bit digital component video using 4:2:0 chroma subsampling. The AG-HMC151E's "high profile" implementation of the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 standard provides improved compression efficiency and supports full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) recording. The AG-HMC151E also supports variable bit rate (VBR) recording, significantly reducing image quality degradation in scenes with rapid movement.
The AG-HMC151E's newly developed optical x13 Leica Dicomar wide-angle lens is lighter and more compact than the acclaimed lens used for the AG-HVX201E series cameras. With a frontal lens diameter reduced to 53.2 mm from the 67 mm of conventional systems, and a class-leading 28-mm wide angle, the AG-HMC151E provides exceptional versatility without the need for additional conversion lenses.
A range of shooting support functions enhances the AG-HMC151E's performance in demanding conditions. These include the Dynamic Range Stretcher (DRS) function, which reduces blocked shadows and blown highlights in scenes that include both bright and dark objects, such as views of interiors shot from outside. Gradations across bright, halftone, and dark areas are maintained, and colour distortions are minimised, resulting in footage with an exceptionally wide dynamic range. The AG-HMC151E's focus-assist function for HD has been enhanced to provide a histogram in addition to the centre zooming function that enlarges the centre of the viewfinder. A simplified waveform and vectorscope display of the image can be viewed on the LCD monitor.
In keeping with Panasonic's renowned support packages for its professional products, the AG-HMC151E is backed by a three-year, free-of-charge warranty contract, providing reassurance to users and significantly reducing cost of ownership, as well as a premium, five-day turnaround repair service.
Additional functions and specifications include: a high-performance DSP with 14-bit A/D and 19-bit process functions; seven-mode gamma parameters that produce rich gradations and cine-like images; an XLR audio input terminal; and an HDMI output terminal.
"The AG-HMC151E is an exciting addition to our AVCHD camera range," said European Provideo Project Manager Nela Pertl. "With this camera and the others in the AVCHD range, Panasonic is bringing to a wider base of users the benefits in performance, workflow, and creativity we pioneered in our P2 professional solid-state camcorders. Robust and very convenient in operation, and with computer-friendly file-based storage, the AG-HMC151E provides exceptional value in today's market."
The recommended retail price for the AG-HMC151E is 3,650 euros plus VAT. More information is available at www.panasonic-broadcast.com.