Panasonic's pro 4K camcorder packs a punch in a small package

Panasonic Europe has unveiled the HC-X1, a brand new professional-level 4K camcorder.

At the heart of the HC-X1 is a one-inch Live MOS sensor capable of recording 4K video up to 60 frames per second (fps), in multiple frequencies (59.94Hz, 50.00Hz or 24.00Hz) and filetypes (QuickTime MOV, MP4, and AVCHD) for easy workflow adjustments.

Panasonic claims this is the first time a 4K one-inch Live MOS sensor has been implemented into a camcorder with an integrated lens.

Speaking of lenses, at the front is a Leica Dicomar 24mm 24x zoom lens designed specifically for 4K sensors. It features a 4-Drive Lens System, which independently controls all four of its lens groups to offer better quality across the entire zoom and focus range.

If more precise control is required, the lens offers three rings for manual operation, including a ring for zoom, focus, and iris functions. These are aided by the impressive collection of focus control assists, including MF Assist, One-Push AF, Expand/Peak, Focus Transition, and Area Function.

To prevent shaky footage, which should be especially noticeable in 4K, the Leica Dicomar has Optical Image Stabilizer technology. Panasonic claims the stabilization is 900-percent more effective than that offered in Panasonic’s AG-AC160 camcorder.

Panasonic HC-X1_02
Gannon Burgett/Digital Trends
Gannon Burgett/Digital Trends

Beyond the ability to record slow motion at up to 120 fps, one of the key features of the HC-X1 is its Variable Frame Rate (VFR) technology. This allows operators to adjust the frame rate at ten different steps between two and 60 fps, giving filmmakers more creative control over how the image looks straight out of camera.

To compose and review footage, there is a 3.5-inch 1,769,000-dot OLED monitor that’s built into the handle of the camera. Once pulled out from the handle, it can tilt a full 270 degrees for easy viewing regardless of the angle of the camera.

Camcorders are about more than just video though. Panasonic has also implemented a generous amount of audio options, inducing two channels of XLR input, switchable +48V phantom power supply/MIC/LINE, and manual volume control. Depending on what video format is being used, the HC-X1 can record sound in two channels using either a 16-bit linear PCM system (MOV/MP4) or a Dolby Digital system (AVCHD).

Storing content is done via two SD memory card slots, which can be set up to record separately or simultaneously for an immediate backup.

No pricing information or release date has been mentioned for the time being. We will update this article when we receive U.S. details.

Product Review

Equal parts tool and toy, the Lensbaby Edge 35 bucks photographic tradition

The Lensbaby Edge 35, part of the Composer Pro optic swap system, creates tilt-shift-like blur without the tilt-shift price. Made for photographers who want find tradition boring, it opens up new ways to work with blur.
Photography

Panasonic Lumix S1R vs. Sony A7R III: Which pixel-shift powerhouse is better?

The Lumix S1R and Sony A7R III are different in design, but similar in performance, and both offer pixel-shift high resolution modes which pull even more detail out of their already high-resolution sensors. Here's how they compare.
Photography

Light on price but rich on features, these are the best cameras for students

Need pro-level features on a budget? The best cameras for students mix advanced features with a more palatable price point. From $2K entry level full frame cameras to $600 budget picks, here are five of the best cameras for students.
Photography

Panasonic Lumix S1R vs. Nikon Z 7: When megapixels matter, which do you choose?

The 47-megapixels Lumix S1R and 46-megapixel Nikon Z 7 are the two highest-resolution, full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market. The S1R features a high-resolution mode that can take 187MP images, but the Nikon is lighter and cheaper.
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Photography

Etch-A-Snap camera puts a modern spin on one of your favorite childhood toys

Can't draw on an Etch A Sketch? Snap a photo with the Etch-A-Snap and the camera will draw out the scene for you. The weirdly cool camera designed by Martin Fitzpatrick replaces the usual LCD screen with an old-school Etch A Sketch.
Photography

The Black Eye Pro Cinema Wide G4 is a knockout lens for any smartphone

Where cheaper wide-angle accessory lenses add distortion, and costlier models don't always justify their higher prices, the Black Eye Pro Cinema Wide G4 offers a valuable balance of modest price and high quality optics.
Photography

Family feud: Huawei P30 Pro vs. P20 Pro vs. Mate 20 Pro camera shootout

The Huawei P30 Pro's camera has an amazing zoom mode and low light capabilities. But take these away, and how does it compare when facing its sibling phones, the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro, taking regular photos?
Photography

Nikon Z 7 vs. Sony A7R III: High-res mirrorless cameras compared

The Nikon Z 7 and Sony A7R III both have over 40 megapixels, but which one comes out on top? With similar image quality, the answer comes down to speed, autofocus, battery life, and design.
Deals

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera gets a steep price cut at Walmart

Modern smartphones can snap pretty impressive pics, but if you want pro-quality photos, you need a dedicated digital camera. The Canon EOS Rebel T6 is one of the best entry-level DSLR cameras on the market, and it’s on sale right now for…
Photography

Sweet 16: Wacom’s Cintiq 16 pen display makes retouching photos a breeze

Wacom’s Cintiq pen displays are usually reserved for the pros (or wealthy enthusiasts), but the new Cintiq 16 brings screen and stylus editing to an approachable price. Does it cut too much to get there?
Mobile

China bans selfies at gigantic Aperture Spherical Telescope

You can't take a selfie with the world's largest single-dish radio telescope anymore, as the Chinese government has banned everything from smartphones to digital cameras in the surrounding 5-kilometer area.
Photography

After controversial video, China bans ‘Leica’ on social media

A video that referenced Tiananmen Square got the name of the camera company Leica banned from the social media platform Weibo. Leica says the video wasn't an officially sanctioned promotion.
Photography

Photography News: Instagram’s disappearing likes, the best photos of the year

In this week's Photography News, see why Instagram is testing a version that excludes the number of likes a post gets. Also, see the impressive winners from two photography contests and the latest features coming to the Fujifilm X-T3.