Panasonic unveiled the world's first affordable 10-bit, 4:2:2 professional HD camcorder, featuring individual frame AVC-Intra recording, native 2.2-megapixel imagers and variable frame rates. Incorporating an innovative, low profile shoulder mounted design, the 1/3" AG-HPX300 P2 HD camcorder offers the flexibility of interchangeable lens but comes standard with a 17x HD Fujinon lens.
The HPX300 imager incorporates advanced 1/3" 2.2-megapixel 3-MOS technology to acquire full native resolution HD images. With a redesigned optical block and a high-precision prism bonding technology, these advanced 3-MOS imagers provide exceptional image quality while minimizing any flare or chromatic aberration. A new 20-bit digital signal processor (DSP) also enhances the HPX300's image performance. The solid-state 1/3" HPX300 offers the security of a five-year warranty program (1 year + 4 additional years with registration), ultimate quality and flexibility in an affordable, full-size HD camcorder.
"The HPX300 establishes a new benchmark for performance within this price range," said Robert Harris, Vice President, Panasonic Broadcast. "It not only captures full native 1920 x 1080 HD resolution, but it allows professionals to record at a quality level that no other camcorder in this price range can equal. Without the compromise of 8-bit, long GOP, 4:2:0 recording, the HPX300 provides master-quality, 10-bit, 4:2:2 individual frame capture using our award winning AVC-Intra codec. Video professionals will immediately realize that this camera is in a field of its own."
Delivering the impressive quality of AVC-Intra 100 and AVC-Intra 50, the HPX300 also records individual frame images in 100Mbps DVCPRO HD and in standard definition in DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV. The AVC-Intra 100 and 50 codecs allows recording in a choice of HD video formats: 1080/59.94i, 1080/29.97P and 1080/23.98P (native 24p/30p), and 720P with variable frames in 23.98pN, 29.97pN and 59.94P. In DVCPRO HD, the camcorder records 1080/59.94i, 1080/29.97P, 1080/23.98P, 1080/23.98pA, 720/59.94P, 720/29.97P, 720/29.97pN and 720/23.98pN. In DVCPRO50/25 and DV, it records 480/59.94i, 480/29.97p, 480/23.98p and 480/23.98pA. The 1080P and 480P signals are recorded with 2:3 pull down (23.98p) or 2:3:3:2 advanced mode (23.98pA). The camera also supports 1080/23.98PsF output (via HD-SDI) for use in high-end movie production. The output of the camera can be set for down conversion or cross-conversion with letterbox, 4:3 crop or squeeze.
The HPX300's interchangeable lens design gives video pros the flexibility to utilize a wide range of broadcast and production HD lenses. The camera is equipped with numerous popular features including Chromatic Aberration Compensation (CAC) to maximize lens performance, built-in scan reverse for use with film lenses, a Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS) function to help compensate for wide variations in lighting, a waveform and vector scope display, and two focus assist functions - a picture expanding function and a focus bar.
For added creative flexibility, the HPX300 also has variable frame rate functions for creating fast and slow motion effects. In 720p mode, a user can choose between 20 variable frame steps between 12p and 60p. Because the HPX300 records images at the frame rate set in the camera, users can preview the speed effect right on the spot, without using a frame rate converter. When working with the camera's advanced 1080/480 24pA mode, users have the option of using 2:3:3:2 pull down, which allows most nonlinear editing systems to easily extract 24 frames on ingest.
Equipped with two P2 card slots and new 64GB P2 cards, the HPX300 offers recording capacity that exceeds that of tape based camcorders. The HPX300 offers all the benefits of a faster, file-based P2 HD workflow including such recording features as instant recording startup, clip thumbnail view for immediate access to video content on all cards, and a host of time-saving recording modes including continuous recording, card slot selection, hot swapping, loop, pre-record (three seconds in HD and seven seconds in SD), one-shot and interval recording. The camera also features an SD memory card slot for saving or loading scene files and user settings, or proxy data (optional AJ-YAX800G Proxy board required).
The HPX300 has advanced gamma functions offering six shooting scenarios, including the popular Cine-Like Gamma modes found on Panasonic's popular VariCam, which gives recordings the characteristic warm tone of film recordings. A scene file dial on the side of the camera provides quick access to six pre-loaded settings; the dial can also be programmed with user-defined settings.
The camera's interfaces include two SDI outputs (switchable between HD/SD-SDI output), video output (down-converted SD video only), IEEE 1394, USB 2.0 interface compatible with host mode, time code input/output (with built-in SMPTE time code generator/reader). Additional features include Genlock input, 4-position ND optical filter controls, DC power input, color bar switch, three XLR audio jacks (one in the front, two on the rear), wireless microphone slot (2-channel UniSlot wireless receiver compatible) and programmable user buttons.
The HPX300 can also be used as a studio camera. It is equipped with a remote control terminal (RCU) for use with the optional AJ-RC10G Remote Control Unit and compatible studio remote control systems. Later this year, Panasonic will release a customized studio configuration system for the HPX300, which will include the AG-BS300 base station, AG-EC4 extension control unit (ECU) and AG-CA300 remote control camera adapter.
At eight pounds, the HPX300's lightweight, well-balanced design and ergonomic handle makes it comfortable to use. All operation switches, volume controls and card slots are on the left side for easier operation. The HPX300 is equipped with a widescreen 1,226,000-dot LCOS color viewfinder and a widescreen 921,000-dot 3.2-inch LCD color monitor. Its power consumption is low at only 18 watts.
The HPX300 will be available in March at a suggested list price of $10,700. The studio configuration add-on package for the HPX300 will be available later this year for less than $10,000.