Panasonic showed some new 1″ 4K broadcast camcorders under glass at NAB back in April that we were interested in. We’re finally getting details of the cameras, including price and availability.
Most interesting is the AG-UX180 “premium model”, which features a Leica Dicomar 20x optical zoom that is a widest-in-class 24mm-equivalent at the wide end and has an optical and digital zoom that goes freaking long. It has SDI and time code jacks. This camera is slated for a December 2016 ship date at $3795.
The “standard” version AG-UX90 will ship in November at $2295. It has a slightly less impressive 15x lens and lacks the SDI and timecode jacks that are on the UX180.
The cameras have dual SD card slots and record in your choice of Quicktime MOV, MP4, and AVCHD files, and the UX180 can simultaneously record UHD on one card and lightweight 1080 on the other and you can apparently send in your files straight from the camera.
Panasonic says the new image stabilization on this camera will rock your socks, and they claim it’s good in low light. You can record in variable frame rates up to 60fps in UHD and it will also shoot slow-mo at 120fps in HD.
The UX180 will do 200Mbps at 60p in HD. You’ve got 16-axis control over the color on these cameras if you need it and gamma control they compare to VariCams.
Three separate rings on the lens give control over zoom, focus, and iris. They’re touting the fast autofocus, which may be a good thing on a 1″ sensor, which is big enough to give a somewhat shallow depth of field but is also hard to focus. The lens is an f/2.8-4.5 that goes from 24mm-480mm (equivalent) optically.
The 1″ sensor cameras are a great compromise for those of us who have to shoot news and events. You can still throw the background out of focus wide open but can stop down and keep everything sharp when stuff is hitting the fan. These new Panasonic cameras compete with the Sony PXW-Z150 1″ camcorder ($3200) and the Sony PXW-X70 1″ camcorder ($2250 with 4K upgrade.) I use a PXW-X70 for a lot of events when I don’t want to carry a big load and I love it. But I’d love a longer lens and Panasonic skin tones – and I’m looking forward to trying out the UX180.
Panasonic has a site devoted to these cameras, and here’s Panasonic’s press release:
NEWARK, NJ (September 7, 2016) – Panasonic today announced availability and pricing for the first two models in its new UX series of professional 4K camcorders, the UX Premium Model AG-UX180 and the UX Standard Model AG-UX90. The UX180 and UX90 begin deliveries in December and November, respectively, with suggested list prices of $3,795 and $2,295.
The camcorders offer a host of features for the high image quality and advanced functionality required in video production, including a newly-designed Leica Dicomar 4K compact lens with a wide 24mm angle (4K 24p, 17:9), the industry’s widest for an integrated lens camcorder. Both models incorporate a 1.0-type (effective size) MOS sensor, providing the same level of sensitivity as conventional handheld camcorders. Versatile and easy-to-use MOV (QuickTime), MP4 and AVCHD file formats are supported.
When recording in FHD, variable frame rate (VFR) enables 10-step recording at 2-60fps. The variety of recording modes with selectable image quality, frame rate and bit rate settings respond to a wide range of applications, from education and corporate to sports and web video.
“The UX series delivers exceptional 4K performance at compelling price points, with breakthrough features such as the 24mm angle lens for wide-angle shooting without requiring a wide conversion lens,” said Steven Cooperman, Senior Product Manager, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. “The camcorders’ extensive focus assist features make 4K shooting easier than ever before.”
UX Series: Expanded O.I.S., Very Intelligent Auto Focus
Features for easy operation and high reliability, such as Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.), Intelligent Auto Focus (AF), and relay and simultaneous recording with a dual SD memory card1 slot, support professional camera work.
The O.I.S. correction area has been expanded to approximately 900% when in UHD/FHD mode over the conventional area (vs. AVVCAM models), providing powerful correction even in unstable shooting situations such as low-angle or high-angle shots. In FHD shooting mode, a 5-Axis Hybrid Image Stabilizer combines the effects of both optical and electronic image stabilization to detect and correct hand-shaking in various directions, including rotary.
Intelligent AF makes even difficult 4K focusing automatic and affords high speed, superior tracking performance and stability. AF operation can be customized with adjustments to speed, sensitivity and area width. When the Focus Assist button is pressed, Expand or Peaking is displayed to assist the user’s comprehensive manual focusing operation. Additionally, Auto Focus is activated for a subject that is touched on the camcorder’s LCD panel.
The camcorder’s two SD card slots enable virtually unlimited (to 96GB) relay recording by simply changing SD cards, and also allow simultaneous recording. Additional recording functions include pre-rec, interval rec, freeze frame and time stamp. Six files preset with picture quality settings are provided as Scene Files, and any of 44 functions can be allocated to 13 user buttons.
The lens system simultaneously and independently drives four lens groups; the lens size and drive range for each of the four groups can be efficiently suppressed to optimize image quality and zoom power. The camcorders feature three manual rings for zoom, focus and iris control, offering a familiar, professional feel; they are equipped with a digital zoom by any of three fixed values — 2x, 5x or 10x.
Bolstering professional-level capture, four position (OFF, ¼, 1/16/ 1/64) ND filters are built in. The camcorders also feature Gain Selector, Auto White Balance Selector and an Auto Tracking White Balance function. Both UX models are equipped with a terminal for remote operation of iris, focus, zoom and REC start/stop. An AG ROP app for iPad, available free of charge from the Apple App Store, enables wireless remote control with installation of a wireless module (optional AJ-WM50/ AJ-WM30).
A 3.5-type LCD monitor built into the camcorders’ handle section can be pulled out and turned 270 degrees vertically for use in high-angle, low-angle or selfie shots.
The Highly Professional AG-UX180: 20x Zoom, Super Slo-Mo, IR Shooting
Premium assets of the UX180 include a high-powered 20x optical zoom, 4K/24p, UHD/60p and FHD/60p multi-format recording, FHD super-slow motion 120fps recording, infrared shooting in darkness (0 lux) and 3G-SDI/HDMI output. The 20x optical zoom covers the range from 24 mm at the wide-angle end to 480 mm at the telescopic end (35mm film equivalent at 4K24p)–the lens can zoom from wide-angle to telescopic in approximately 2.0 seconds.
In HD shooting modes, an i.Zoom function increases the zooming capability to a maximum of approximately 30x, while maintaining high resolution. iZoom seamlessly switches on when the 20x optical zooming limit is reached. For worldwide use, the UX180 is 59.94Hz/50Hz switchable.
The UX180 supports dual codec recording (UHD2/FHD or FHD 100 Mbps+/FHD 8 Mbps); sub-recording files can be used for preview, off-line editing and online transmission. FHD (8 Mbps) sub files
can be transmitted via mobile networks so editing work can be performed before the delivery of the main recording files, facilitating workflow efficiency.
The camcorder’s 16-axis color correction provides an independent effect to each of 16 phases of video images, enabling color matching of multiple cameras under the same lighting conditions as well as creative image rendering. Additional image adjustment functions include detail, skin detail, chroma level, chroma phase, master pedestal, gamma and knee setting. The camcorder is equipped with eight selectable gamma modes, including two Cine-Like Gammas, drawing on technologies developed for the VariCam.
The high-resolution OLED EVF features a 1.77 million dot display. LCD/EVF displays include waveform and vectorscope, ZEBRA, Y level marker and level gauge. Beyond 3G-SDI/HDMI output, the UX180 offers a video/audio out for monitoring, two channel XLR audio, USB 3.0 Host/Device and TC Preset In/Out to sync multi-camera shooting.
The Highly Affordable AG-UX90: 15X Optical Zoom, UHD/30P Recording
The standard UX90 is a high cost/performance model with a 15x optical zoom, an industry-best 24.5mm wide angle lens (FHD), and UHD/30p and FHD 60p recording. In HD shooting modes, the i.Zoom function increases the zooming capability to a maximum of approximately 25x.
Professional interfaces include HDMI output, two-channel XLR audio, USB 3.0 Host/Device, and video/audio out for monitoring. The UX90 has a 0.24-type EVF.
For more information about Panasonic professional video products, visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast or contact Panasonic at 877-803-8492.