Image from Panasonic Press ReleaseI’m excited about this announcement from Panasonic. Or more accurately, I’m excited that the camera has finally launched. This shoulder-mounted camera, clearly targeting event videographers, offers quite a sweet spot of price and features:
- 3×1/4″ CCDs
- 12x Leica Dicomar Lens
- 1440x1080i AVCHD (a.k.a. H.264 or MPEG 4 Part 10)
- Records to cheap SD/SDHC cards
- XLR inputs
- BNC and HDMI outputs
- Headphone jack (OK, this should really be standard, but still worth noting)
- Street Price of around $2100
What more do you need, right? Then I get to the sticking point: 13Mbps bitrate for the AVCHD. That’s significantly lower than the limit for the spec (24Mbps) and is disappointing in a camera that is otherwise very promising.
ZDNet has a good description of the problems with low bitrate “HD” as well as an at-a-glance comparison of 13Mbps AVCHD and 24Mbps HDV (MPEG-2).
As you can see, there’s “HD” and there’s HD. This camera still has some utility, but mostly to institutional videographers. Handy for a school or church, but filmmakers looking for quality HD can probably find a better match for their needs.