Panasonic Ships AG-AF100 Camcorder

Low-cost HD camera targeted to film and video production sectors

Panasonic has begun delivering its newest low-cost HD camera, the AG-AF100, to customers. With a suggest list price of $4,995, the HD camera comes equipped the large 4/3-inch sensor and is designed to be an attractive low-cost HD option for independent filmmakers and videographers.

"The design of the AF100's advanced, custom-designed 4/3-inch sensor affords depth of field and field of view similar to that of 35mm movie cameras in a more affordable camera," noted Jan Crittenden Livingston, product line business manager, Panasonic Solutions Company in a statement.

Equipped with an interchangeable micro 4/3-inch lens mount, the AF100 can utilize an array of low-cost, widely available still cameras lenses as well as film-style lenses with fixed focal lengths and prime. That feature, along with the large imager, gives the AF100 camcorder many of the advantages of digital single lens reflex that can shoot both still photographs and high definition video.

These DSLRs have been increasingly adopted by independent filmmakers because they are less expensive, can be used with a wide array of lower-cost still camera lenses and offer very high quality HD images with a shallow depth of field that has a more cinematic look and feel.

While the AF100 has some of the advantages of DSLR, the camcorder overcomes a number of the drawbacks of using DSLRs. "Panasonic engineering ingenuity has resolved the aliasing and moiré that has haunted the DSLR shooter," Crittenden Livingston added. "In fact the AF100 was based on what we heard from and saw customers doing: purchasing DSLR cameras because they liked the look of the image but then agonizing over all the workarounds required to achieve an acceptable high definition recording."

The AF100 incorporates a large 4/3-inch 16:9 MOS imager, with an imaging area just slightly smaller than a 35mm cinema film that minimizes skew with fast imager scanning and it incorporates an optical low pass filter for elimination of aliasing and moiré. It records in a variety of HD formats and modes and is ready for global production standards, being 60Hz and 50Hz switchable.

It also offers variable frame rates, professional audio capabilities and compatibility with SDHC and SDXC media. SDXC is the newest SD memory card specification that supports memory capabilities above 32GB and up to 2TB. The camcorder weighs 3.5 pounds without lens or battery.