Panasonic has announced a new line of sub $1k camcorders, most interestingly is the HC-WX970, a 4K enabled camera capable of up to 120fps in 1080.
The Panasonic HC-WX970 has all the tell tail signs of a consumer camcorder; the grip-with-one-hand form factor, broad selection of in-built effects such as sepia and grainy, the ability to categorize your thumbnails with reference to the birth date of your baby, heck even an additional swivelling camera to record picture-in-picture selfies whilst you shoot!
The fact that Panasonic now adds 4K recording to the form factor on its own does little for the professionals, although it does add traction to the debate that 4K has in fact arrived and is here to stay.
Ignoring all of the Daddy friendly tech jargon, and imagining for a second it was a cool, hip looking mirrorless camera, should we be making more of a deal about it? Let’s take a looks at what it offers.
The 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor provides 4K up to 30p, 1080 up to 120 fps (it can actually achieve 240fps via frame interpolation but lets pretend we didn’t hear that), bolted in front is a 20x optical zoom lens (at 4K that’s 30-626mm in 35mm terms) with a f/1.8-3.6 aperture range.
It features Panasonics 5-axis HYBRID OIS system, an example of which can be seen below (pictured is the HC-V700)
It also features a new HDR movie mode, the HC-WX970 takes two exposures and stitches them together to obtain more dynamic range. Here’s a video of that below:
It records to SD cards in an AVCHD based MP4 file. Doing a little digging to find out about data rates, Panasonic ambiguously list on their site 1080/50p (28Mbps / VBR). If the same data rate is maintained for 24/25/50 framerates then it’s not too bad for a consumer camera. However, if it’s half due to the reduction in frames that’s a little disappointing.
Being a strict consumer camcorder, it’s not a product for us to get overly excited about. But on paper, the features the HC-WX970 packs look great for aerial filmmaking. 4K, high framerate 1080, hybrid 5-axis I.O.S HDR movie mode in a 360g camera is fantastic (half the weight of a GH4 with lens). The codec and lack of picture profile control could be a big let down however.
If you fancy the Panasonic HC-WX970 for some drone stuff, or maybe have a baby on the way, it’s available for pre-order now using the link below.