The Panasonic AJ-PX230 AVC ULTRA was announced yesterday, a handheld camera which shares similarities with its predecessor—the AJ-PX270. In fact, it seems the AJ-PX230 has been designed to be a carbon copy of the PX270 for users who do not require networking, proxy recording, and genlock/timecode; and that means one thing. It costs less!
Not only does the Panasonic AJ-PX230 share the same body design as the older model but, according to Panasonic, it shares the same image quality too. Basically, if you’re not that interested in networking, proxy or genlock/TC, you can save yourself a fair bit of cash by opting for the Panasonic’s new offering. Seems fair enough to me!
Panasonic PX230 Overview
This camcorder offers 10-bit 1080p recording in AVC-intra and AVC-LongG codecs, a 22x zoom lens. Also featured are an OLED viewfinder and 1.56MP QHD LCD for monitoring. Two XLR inputs allow for recording up to 4 channels of 48 kHz, 24-bit audio and the interfaces included are HDMI, HD-SDI, and 3G-SDI. Meanwhile, 2 microP2 card slots help to keep the camera’s operating costs down.
The AJ-PX230PJ features 1/3″ 2.2MP 3-MOS sensors, apparently capable of delivering high sensitivity, low-noise performance in low-light.
- Minimum illumination: 0.02lx
- Gain control: -3dB-18dB
- Super gain: 24, 30, 36dB
The AVC-ULTRA codec allows for 100Mbps recording in AVC-intra100 and 200Mbps recording in AVC-intra200 while the three available AVC-LongG levels—LongG50, LongG25, and LongG12—offer 10-bit, 4:2:2 recording at 50Mbps and 25MbPS, and 8-bit 4:2:0 at 12Mbps; producing smaller files while maintaining decent image quality.
The Panasonic AJ-PX230 supports 1080/60i, 1080/24p, 30p, and 60p. 720p and SD recording are also options, with 50i, 50p, and 25p support as well. So too are variable framerates, in 25 steps—1fps through 60fps.
The 22x zoom lens of the Panasonic PX230 provides a zoom range of wide 28mm and tele 616mm and features three manual operation lens rings (zoom, focus, and iris). While the manual rings eliminate the need for interchangeable lenses, its multi-step zoom control ensures a smooth and responsive zoom.
The AJ-PX230 comes with Panasonic’s Chromatic Aberration Compensation for optimum lens performance, Dynamic Range Stretch function to improve scene image contrast and improve human skin rendition, a flash band detection and compensation algorithm, Optical image stabilization, and a four-position optical ND filter. The camera also delivers seven-mode gamma selection and various digital image settings, such as 12 + 3 Axis Matrix Control.
Panasonic PX230 First Impressions
Without talking too much about the camera itself, since it has only just been announced and we’ve yet to test it, I do like the direction that Panasonic have taken with this model. I think independent filmmakers and smaller studios that are working on a budget could really benefit from more manufacturers stripping features (and subsequently dollars) from various models in their ranges.
Then again, I’m a dreamer. I’ve always envisioned a world where filmmakers select the features they want and then get their own tailor-made cameras…