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Peter J DeCrescenzo

Panasonic AG-AF100 m4/3 pro video camera due 12/2010

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At NAB today, Panasonic announced a new pro video camera, the AG-AF100, due late 2010. It will reportedly share the same interchangeable Micro Four Thirds lens mount as the GH1, and an upgraded version of its sensor & electronics, plus many features found on "traditional" pro video cameras. I don't believe an official list price has been announced yet, but the number "around $6,000 US" has been mentioned off the record.:

http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/store...082010101919040

 

The illustration included in the press release looks to me to be a early prototype or Photoshopped rendition. I'm taking that depiction with a large grain of salt. :-)

 

Photos of the product mockup shown at the NAB press event, and some posts by Panasonic's Jan Crittenden, can be seen here:

http://www.dvxuser.c...ad.php?t=206752

 

It'll be interesting to follow this development over the next several months. Stay tuned ...

 

============

 

PANASONIC INTRODUCES AG-AF100,

4/3" PROFESSIONAL HIGH-DEFINITION CAMCORDER

 

* Premier AVCCAM Video Camera Combines 4/3" Sensor with Superior Video Quality, Professional Audio Inputs, Variable Frame Rates, SDXC Card Technology *

 

LAS VEGAS, NV (April 11, 2010) – Panasonic Solutions Company today announced a game-changing AVCCAM HD camcorder, the AG-AF100, the first professional micro 4/3-inch video camcorder optimized for high-definition video recording. Scheduled to ship by the end of 2010, the AG-AF100 will set a new benchmark for digital cinematography.

 

Targeted at the video and film production communities, the AF100 delivers the shallow depth of field and wider field of view of a large imager, with the flexibility and cost advantages of use with a growing line of professional quality, industry standard micro 4/3-inch lenses, filters, and adapters. The full 1080 and 720 production camera offers superior video handling, native 1080/24p recording, variable frame rates, professional audio capabilities, and compatibility with SDHC and SDXC media.

 

The design of the AF100's micro 4/3-inch sensor affords depth of field and field of view similar to that of 35mm movie cameras in a less expensive camera body. Equipped with an interchangeable lens mount, the AF100 can utilize an array of low-cost, widely-available still camera lenses as well as film-style lenses with fixed focal lengths and primes.

 

"Designed in consultation with the filmmaking community, the AF100 eclipses the video performance of other cameras in this price range," said Joe Facchini, Vice President of Sales & Product Management, Media & Production Services, Panasonic Solutions Company. "Ideal for film schools and independent filmmakers, this affordable, digital cinematography camera employs an advanced professional AVC/ H.264 Hi Profile AVCHD codec compatible with a wide range of editing tools and affordable players."

 

The AF100 incorporates a 4/3-inch, 16:9 MOS imager. The camcorder records 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) in AVCHD's highest-quality PH mode (maximum 24Mbps). Ready for global production standards, the camcorder is 60Hz and 50Hz switchable.

 

The AF100 maximizes the potential of its high-resolution imager with built-in ND filtering and dramatically reduced video aliasing. Standard professional interfaces include HD-SDI out, HDMI, time code recording, built-in stereo microphone and USB 2.0. The AF100 features two XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power capability, 48-kHz/16-bit two-channel digital audio recording and supports LPCM/Dolby-AC3.

 

This newest Panasonic AVCCAM camcorder is the first to enjoy the benefits of advanced SDXC media card compatibility in addition to existing SDHC card support. (SDXC is the newest SD memory card specification that supports memory capacities above 32GB up to 2TB). With two SD slots, the AF100 can record up to 12 hours on two 64GB SDXC cards in PH mode

 

The AG-AF100 will be available by the end of 2010. Panasonic will support the AF100 with a three-year limited warranty (one year plus two extra years upon registration). "

 

=========

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Wow, this is really amazing!

 

I had been looking at the micro 4/3 format and wondering about video on it and have also been waiting for something exciting from Panasonic for some time. This looks fantastic on paper!

 

I'm kind of shocked as I hadn't heard any rumours at all and wasn't even expecting something this amazing, just getting impatient for something more.

 

Can't believe it will be here so soon too.

 

Finally looks like Panasonic are getting back on track.

 

love

 

Freya

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"No one"? What an odd thing to say. Care to explain?

 

Needs a better bitrate, or else it will be useful to exactly no one.

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Guest Trevor Swaim
Needs a better bitrate, or else it will be useful to exactly no one.

 

 

I don't know, There is a 30 page thread going on DVXuser on this cameras intro, and a complementary 70+ page thread discussing feature requests and options. It seems that "no one" might be a bit on the low side.

 

Also if you want a 422 Intraframe codec you can can capture from the HD-SDI out, panasonic even makes a P2 card recorder that would work perfect.

Edited by Trevor Swaim

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Panasonic's AVCCAM codec vs. Sony's XDCAM-EX codec:

http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/article.php/25

 

The AG-AF100 will also have an uncompressed HD-SDI live output for monitoring or use with an external recorder, such as the NanoFlash Convergent Designs:

http://convergent-design.com/Products/nano...66/Default.aspx

 

... or the AJA KiPro:

http://www.aja.com/products/ki-pro/

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UrbanFox provides some of the 1st photos of the AF100 working prototype "engineering samples" now at the IBC expo in Amsterdam:

http://urbanfoxtv.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-panasonic-af100af101.html

 

I expect more info will be available on Panasonic's various websites very soon ...

 

http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/af100/index.html

http://www.panasonic-broadcast.com/en/news/archive.php?we_objectID=4037

http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/index.html

http://panasonic.net/news/topics/

 

Stay tuned!

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Man Peter, that camera is ugly as sin! But i've a soft spot for ugly ducklings. I believe I even saw the pre-orders for the cameras over @ bhphoto here on the east coast http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/731509-REG/Panasonic_AG_AF100_AG_AF100_Micro_4_3_Professional.html

 

 

Ultra Prime NOT included!

 

Still this looks like a very nice little offering. Sony is doing something similar with their camera, but from what i understand the NEX VG10 only does 60i.... But is also only around 2000 to purchase.

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An update from UrbanFox:

http://urbanfoxtv.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-panasonic-af100af101.html

 

"UPDATE: Now we've had a chance to see the pictures [the AF100 prototype] can produce, we're even more impressed. Someone from Panasonic in Germany shot a performance/theatre piece, with lots of nice shallow depth of field, and not a lot to trouble the codec. But, the pictures looked very filmic, there was no video harshness, the colours appeared to be very accurate. It was restrained, not flat, but not in your face. More interestingly, they'd given the camera to the ebullient Barry Green, of DVXuser, who had tried it on some of the pictures that normally cause aliasing on DSLRs, repeating patterns such as roof tiles and brickwork, and we didn't notice any aliasing at all - and on a big screen we would have. Although recording 24Mbps AVCHD does involve a lot of compression, the pictures stood up very well. Certainly, with the advantage of the AF101's HD-SDI output, being able to record to the Convergent Design nanoFlash, AJA's new Ki Pro Mini or Panasonic's own external AVC-I recorders, means that the codec choice shouldn't be a worry - just that you'll have to spend more on the extra recorder."

 

Also, Barry Green has been updating this thread throughout the day. Lots of good info there:

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=222673

 

See also DVXuser's new AF100 section:

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/forumdisplay.php?f=213

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That really is immensely heavily compressed, more's the pity.

 

This does bring up an interesting conundrum.

 

I presume in this case that the AF100 is effectively most of the guts of a GH1 stills camera, perhaps reworked to allow a more thorough debayering. I'd like to think that whoever wrote the above-quoted article would have noticed GH1-style aliasing on a "big screen", but if he didn't, it really could be no more than a GH1 with a new haircut.

 

You cannot make an h.264 encoder (for that is what AVCHD is) that produces really good results which has the combination of price, physical size and power consumption that exists in something like this. A really seriously good encoder could produce stunning 1080p24 results at 24mbps, but it is not currently a technical reality to find this sort of performance in a handheld, battery-powered device, unless you are willing to consider an SRW1 "handheld" or "battery powered" at, what is it, ninety watts? And six figures?

 

This is a simple function of silicon processing power, and for this reason throwing more bitrate at it doesn't always help. To some extent, encoding more output bits simply requires yet more processing power, and you might do just as well by applying that computing grunt to better use of the bits you already had.

 

So unfortunately, just asking Panasonic to increase the number isn't necessarily going to help, or at least not beyond a certain point with a given encoder ASIC. This is one reason I crank an eyebrow at things like nanoflash, which is certainly subject to all of these issues, and seems to be sold solely on the basis of "look how much bitrate!"

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Hi Phil: Given the AF100's likely list price (supposedly <$6K US), it may deliver very good value and great functionality for the money.

 

If the final shipping version of the AF100 delivers HD video quality and a feature-set at least as good as what's being described at IBC, it'll be more than adequate for a not-insignificant percentage of pro & semi-pro corporate/industrial, TV & internet productions.

 

For productions which require additional quality, and which have very slightly larger budgets, something like the smaller, new KiPro MINI or nanoFlash can be added to the camera for a significant improvement in visual quality.

 

Want even more quality? No problem; spend more money on a different external recorder capable of whatever quality you want, or use a different cam with better performance. Nothing new, right?

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Here's another video walk-through demo of the AF100 prototype (in German). Includes some close-ups of dials, switches, menus on the LCD, etc.:

 

http://www.videoakti...onic-AF101.html

 

Concerning the quality of the brief clips of AF100 prototype-shot video shown towards the end of the demo, please remember that this camera is an engineering prototype, according to Panasonic only "70%" complete. See:

http://www.dvxuser.c...6&postcount=111

http://www.dvxuser.c...2&postcount=187

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=2103568&postcount=64

 

 

Panasonic has published some additional AF100 preliminary specs here (use the menu in upper left corner for more info):

http://pro-av.panaso.../feature02.html

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Barry Green gives a detailed, 8-min. video walk-through of the AF100 prototype camera at IBC (in English):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZGtFZoSyhA&feature=player_embedded

 

Watch it in glorious 1080p "HD" on YouTube.

 

The Birger electronic lens mount adapter (for use with Canon EOS lenses) he refers to in the video is discussed here:

http://www.dvxuser.c...ad.php?t=223126

 

More AF100 info & specs here ...

http://blog.panasoni...category/day-5/

http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/sales_o/news_info/news100913/100913.html

 

... and way more info here:

http://www.dvxuser.c...splay.php?f=213

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Panasonic's product manager, Jan Crittendon Livingston has tweeted that the US list price of the AG-AF100 is $4995.00. This will have implications for Sony EX1R future sales and isn't that much more than a Canon 5D MkII w/HDMI portable monitor.

 

Jeff Regan

Shooting Star Video

www.ssv.com

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So hang on. Exactly what does this have that a GH2 doesn't?

 

Pay attention, Phil! :-)

 

http://www.cinematog...ndpost&p=332658

 

In addition to the info in Barry Green's video linked in the post above, Barry has also compiled a comprehensive list in the following post:

 

http://www.dvxuser.c...045&postcount=5

 

The wonderful (& less expensive) GH2 has some features in common with its (more expensive) cousin the AF100, but the AF100 has many, many more features geared towards professional video production.

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