Panasonic Announces Availability, Pricing for AVC-ULTRA Shoulder-mount Camcorder
Panasonic announced that at the end of September it will begin shipping the AJ-PX380 1/3-inch 2.2M 3MOS AVC-ULTRA shoulder-mount camcorder, which offers powerful IT/wireless connectivity capabilities and dual codec recording for simultaneous high resolution and proxy image capture.
The new shoulder-mount camcorder will be available in two versions: the AJ-PX380GF including camera body plus AG-CVF15 Color Viewfinder and XT17x4.5 BRM 17X Fujinon lens for a suggested list price of $11,995; and the AJ-PX380G-camera-body only-for a suggested list price of $8,395.
“The PX380 is a fully-loaded, light, low-power camcorder that’s perfect for newsgathering, but is ideally suited for reality TV production, live events, and corporate uses as well,” says Steve Cooperman, Senior Product Manager, Panasonic. “It’s an excellent choice for those needing the ergonomics of a shoulder-mount camera, yet at a cost below larger 2/3-inch native cameras.”
The PX380’s multi-codec AVC-ULTRA offers master-quality and/or low-bit-rate 10-bit, 4:2:2 recording in full raster HD to meet a variety of user needs from mastering to transmission. Addressing the need for high-speed file exchange, high-resolution AVC-Proxy encodes in parallel with higher bandwidth production formats, enabling fast, efficient offline editing, at bit rates from 6 megabits down to 800 kilobits per second.
The camcorder also records in AVC-LongG to provide on-air content direct from the shooting location and for workflows using content transferred over the internet. The camera offers three AVC-LongG bit rates: AVC-LongG50/25 providing10 bit, 4:2:2 quality at bit rates of approximately 50/25 Mbps, and the more economical AVC-LongG12, optimized for field wireless workflows.
The PX380’s impressive workflow ability is epitomized by the camcorder’s simultaneous dual recording, with choices of HD or SD proxies. Built-in network functions support wired LAN, wireless LAN and 4G/LTE connections, enabling on-site preview, streaming and uploading data to a server quickly and easily at low cost with a PC/Mac, tablet or smart phone; or users can connect to the camera via WiFi to control, add or edit metadata, view proxies, or watch live streaming for logging or monitoring. Unique to Panasonic’s live streaming protocol is a quality of service (QoS) layer that rapidly and dynamically adjusts the bit rate of the streaming signal to optimize the transmission speed as bandwidth of the cellular network changes.
A built-in Camera Adaptor function facilitates direct integration via two simple BNC cables to Panasonic’s studio base station, the AG-BS300. A basic AG-EC4 camera extension control and remote control panel complete the studio configuration, a systemized approach native to the PX380 that is much simpler than previous models and removes the need for camera head adaptors and VF interface boxes.
The PX380 will include a “Rec during Uploading” function to allow automatic transfer of previously recorded content to an FTP server, which means that recording is possible even while video content is being uploaded. The camcorder will also support a P2 Remote Operation Panel (ROP) application, enabling wireless control of PX380 camera settings (video parameters, camera painting and rec/stop operation, for example) using an iPad. The P2 ROP App is available free of charge at the Apple App Store.
The PX380 is designed for easy integration into Panasonic’s new P2 Cast cloud-based news system, which adds the flexibility of a file-based workflow and multiple-user access via a private cloud. In combination with P2 Cast, the PX380 delivers a wide range of remote proxy based workflow options: remote preview, streaming, proxy review, simple editing /EDL creation, in-camera conform of selects, and FTP of selects (often while the camera is recording new material).
The PX380 is smaller, lighter (body under six pounds) and uses less power (19W) than similar cameras. The high-sensitivity (F11 at 59.94 Hz), low-noise 3MOS imagers produce stunning pictures, even in low light conditions, and the newly-developed sensors achieve the same maximum 600% dynamic range level as many higher-end shoulder-mounts. Superb image quality is defined by the camcorder’s FILM-REC gamma, seven-mode selectable gamma curves (HD/SD/FILMLIKE 1/FILMLIKE 2/FILMLIKE 3/FILM-REC/VIDEO-REC), Dynamic Range Stretch, Chromatic Aberration Compensation, Flash Band Compensation, User Matrix and powerful creative image manipulation controls.
With the flexibility of a B4 lens mount, the PX380 can be used with 1/3″ to 2/3″ lens adapters for use with existing 2/3″ zoom and prime lenses. Incorporating a fast, intuitive menu structure, the PX380 features a wide range of recording modes, including the full range of 100 Mbps AVC-Intra formats, up to 1080/60p,50p. Two microP2 card slots facilitate cost-effective operation; a P2 card slot and SD card slot are also included.
Professional interfaces include HDMI out, HD/SD-SDI in/out, 3G-SDI out to support 1080 60p video output, genlock in/video out for multi-camera operation, timecode in/out, USB 2.0 (host), and USB 2.0 (device). The PX380 boasts a built-in electronic level gauge that confirms camera tilting on the LCD monitor screen and keeps the camera level during handheld, low-angle and high-angle shooting. A variety of focus assist functions (Focus-in-Color, Expand and Focus Bar) supports quick and accurate focusing in manual focus mode.
Other top-level shooting functions include four-position optical ND filters (CLEAR, 1/4 ND, 1/16 ND,1/64 ND), Scan Reverse, a 2x/4x digital zoom, electronic shutter with slow shutter capability, Slow and Synchro Scan, shockless, three-position Auto White Balance, and +36 dB Super Gain for extra-high sensitivity.
The PX380 joins the latest series of Panasonic’s AVC-ULTRA camcorders with built-in wireless/wired streaming capabilities, the AJ-PX270 handheld, and the AJ-PX800 and AJ-PX5000G shoulder mounts. Sharing much of their basic technology, these models are all AVC-ULTRA capable, with the same recording formats, codec and file structure. When used in field production–whether fast -breaking news or scheduled interviews–the tool kits provided are similar across the range of camcorders, differing only in the lens / imager format and pricing. In many cases a mixture of cameras can be used by various crews.