Along with a bunch of new digital cameras, Panasonic introduced seven video camcorders. One is a POV action cam and the others are full-featured video makers, including a waterproof edition.
The HX-A100 Wearable Camcorder is a bit different than the typical POV camcorder. The camera sits on an included ear hook so you can shoot hands-free without mounting it to a helmet, for example. A “Multi-Mount” option, however, is available for attaching the camera to a helmet or backpack if you’re not feeling so adventurous. It’s waterproof, too, and has built-in Wi-Fi to broadcast live video on UStream with simultaneous Full HD recording. You can upload recorded images to social networks by connecting through a smartphone or tablet.
The A100 features a waterproof design for outdoor shooting in water depths down to 5 feet for up to 30 minutes, plus it’s dustproof. Recording formats are 1920 x 1080/60 fps, 1280 x 720/120 fps, and 640 x 360/240 fps (for taking slo-mo and straight-ahead videos). It has Level Shot for automatic correction of tilting images, an image stabilizer to cut down the shakes, and 140 minutes of battery life.
Although Panasonic introduced five “classic” full-featured camcorders at the show, there are some differences from last year’s models. For 2013, far fewer have onboard flash memory, so you’ll have to use SDXC cards to save your footage. This really isn’t a big deal – it just allows the company to sell the camcorders at reduced costs.
As it typically does, Panasonic hits a number of bases, from the film student to new parents and grandparents. The 2013 lineup includes the HC-X920, HC-V720, HC-V520, HC-V210, and HC-V110. The HC-X920 has a new 3MOS System PRO with BSI (Back Side Illumination) sensor to enhance the three MOS sensors for excellent shooting performance, even in dim lighting situations. The use of the BSI sensor reduces noise to 50 percent of previous models, according to the company.
The X920, V720, and V520 all feature the new Level Shot function, which automatically adjusts tilting images, in addition to 5-Axis Correction Hybrid O.I.S. (image stabilization), which suppresses blurring. The camcorders also offer built-in Wi-Fi functions that allow live view control from a smartphone and enable real-time broadcasting via UStream.
The X920 is the star here, and caters to seasoned videographers. Along with the 3-chip system, it has a manual ring to control zoom, focus, iris, shutter speed, and white balance. A Level Gauge detects the horizontal and vertical angle of view with its internal level working with an acceleration sensor. This function corrects even slight tilting that is difficult to see with the naked eye, per Panasonic. Along with a 1,152,000-dot 3.5-inch touch-capable LCD it has an electronic viewfinder (EVF) rated 263,424-dots. Other nice features are the 29.8mm wide-angle lens and 5.1-channel surround recording.
Built-in Wi-Fi in the X920 enables real-time broadcasting of important events via UStream while recording images in Full-HD. This lets you deliver live images to people with Internet access around the world. There is also a function to send e-mail to notify the start of streaming to preregistered e-mail addresses. By using the dedicated Panasonic Image App, you can also remotely check audio recording, zoom in/out, and shutter on/off, while viewing the live image on a compatible smartphone or tablet.
The V720 uses a new single-chip system, records Full HD, and has Wi-Fi along with near-field communication (NFC) capability (you’ll be hearing a lot about companies including NFC in their products at this CES). It has a nice 50x zoom lens that starts off at 28mm, a 3-inch Touch Wide LCD, and 5.1-channel surround recording. The smaller HC-V520 also has 50x zoom, built-in Wi-Fi, NFC capability, 5-Axis Hybrid O.I.S., and Level Shot. It has a 2.25MP BSI sensor and a 3-inch Touch Wide LCD.
The compact V210 has Power O.I.S. to eliminate blurring, a 2.2MP BSI sensor, and a 32.3mm f/1.8 wide-angle lens. The V110 has a 2.07MP chip and is the entry-level model. Few specs were given, but expect this one to sell for less than $200.
Lastly, the HX-WA30 is a new rugged Full HD camcorder. In case you’re wondering why this product bears a resemblance to the old Sanyo Xacti cameras, we’re going to theorize that it probably has something to do with Panasonic’s acquisition of Sanyo. Designed for one-handed shooting, it’s waterproof down to 16 feet, dustproof, and freeze-proof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The camcorder can handle almost everything other than a drop onto rocks or concrete – don’t expect the durability like those in many rugged digicams. It has an 11.9MP MOS sensor so it not only takes Full HD movies, but 16MP stills using interpolation. The camcorder has nine filters to add some creative touches to your productions including One Point Color, Old Movie, Fish-eye Effect, HDR Paint, Soft Skin, Monochrome, Sepia, Vivid, and Soft. It has a new Active Digital Image Stabilizer and although there’s no Wi-Fi, it’s compatible with Eye-Fi cards.