With all the hoopla surrounding “full frame” camcorders this year, it’s easy to forget that smaller chips have their benefits too, we just take them for granted. Certainly in terms of resolution, the smaller 3-chip models still beat the socks off their DSLR competition, and frankly you often want deep DOF in your shots. Panasonic stepped up to the plate to announce their newest 3 CMOS 1/3″ camcorder, the AG-HPX250. This is the latest model in Panasonic’s legendary P2 stable.
It records to AVCHD Intra 4:2:2 10 bit, which is the only good implementation of AVCHD as far as I’m concerned. It also records in DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO, and even DV. I really appreciate that Panasonic keeps bringing it’s legacy codecs to its newer models. It makes me as an owner feel more secure that if I invest in a new technology, Panasonic won’t end-of-life it in a few years leaving me high and dry. Say I bought an expensive DVCPROHD deck back in the tape days, I could still use it natively with this new camera for backups. Speaking of which, the media is still P2 cards, which you may have lying around from when you first bought an HVX-200 in 2006. 10 out of 10 for compatibility.
The AG-HPX250 it does all the international flavors and frame rates of HD, and SD, has Genlock, Timecode, HDMI, and HDSDI outputs it even has a Firewire connector (there’s that compatibility again, maybe I still have my Canopus DV Storm system hanging around?). Useful tools like a waveform monitor, vector-scope, and focus assist are built in. A nice and wide 28mm to 588mm (35mm equiv) lens with 3 rings for focus, zoom, and iris control, tops it off.
Something about this camera really appeals to me, it’s not exactly sexy, you can’t put any lens in the world on it, it doesn’t have ultra-shallow depth of field, it’s not 8K. I think I like it because the AG-HPX250 is not a hype driven product, this is a workhorse camera. It’s not a fetish item designed to impress all your production buddies on the forums. It just does it’s job, and that’s OK with me.
The Panasonic AG-HPX250 will be out in the Fall of 2011, and cost around $6,500 USD.