UPDATED -> Panasonic introduces the AG-AF100, 4/3” professional High-definition camcorder

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Awesome! Our source were right (click here to read our rumor)! Panasonic is introducing a micro4/3 camcorder!
.
This could be one of the most important micro4/3 news ever! You will be able to use your MicroFourThirds lenses on a highly professional camcorder. Look at the folk reaction on dvxuser.com :)
We have no price indication yet.
UPDATE: Camera design and specs are subject to change. I bet the real camera will be slightly different. The camera on the picture has the Panasonic 14-140mmLens.

Panasonic press release: LAS VEGAS, NV (April 11, 2010) – Panasonic Solutions Company today announced a game-changing AVCCAM HD camcorder, the AG-AF100, the first professional micro 4/3-inch video camcorder optimized for high-definition video recording. Scheduled to ship by the end of 2010, the AG-AF100 will set a new benchmark for digital cinematography.

Targeted at the video and film production communities, the AF100 delivers the shallow depth of field and wider field of view of a large imager, with the flexibility and cost advantages of use with a growing line of professional quality, industry standard micro 4/3-inch lenses, filters, and adapters. The full 1080 and 720 production camera offers superior video handling, native 1080/24p recording, variable frame rates, professional audio capabilities, and compatibility with SDHC and SDXC media.

The design of the AF100’s micro 4/3-inch sensor affords depth of field and field of view similar to that of 35mm movie cameras in a less expensive camera body.  Equipped with an interchangeable lens mount, the AF100 can utilize an array of low-cost, widely-available still camera lenses as well as film-style lenses with fixed focal lengths and primes.

“Designed in consultation with the filmmaking community, the AF100 eclipses the video performance of other cameras in this price range,” said Joe Facchini, Vice President of Sales & Product Management, Media & Production Services, Panasonic Solutions Company.  “Ideal for film schools and independent filmmakers, this affordable, digital cinematography camera employs an advanced professional AVC/ H.264 Hi Profile AVCHD codec compatible with a wide range of editing tools and affordable players.”

The AF100 incorporates a 4/3-inch, 16:9 MOS imager. The camcorder records 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) in AVCHD’s highest-quality PH mode (maximum 24Mbps). Ready for global production standards, the camcorder is 60Hz and 50Hz switchable.

The AF100 maximizes the potential of its high-resolution imager with built-in ND filtering and dramatically reduced video aliasing. Standard professional interfaces include HD-SDI out, HDMI, time code recording, built-in stereo microphone and USB 2.0. The AF100 features two XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power capability, 48-kHz/16-bit two-channel digital audio recording and supports LPCM/Dolby-AC3.

This newest Panasonic AVCCAM camcorder is the first to enjoy the benefits of advanced SDXC media card compatibility in addition to existing SDHC card support.  (SDXC is the newest SD memory card specification that supports memory capacities above 32GB up to 2TB). With two SD slots, the AF100 can record up to 12 hours on two 64GB SDXC cards in PH mode

The AG-AF100 will be available by the end of 2010. Panasonic will support the AF100 with a three-year limited warranty (one year plus two extra years upon registration).

source: panasonic.com

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  • http://www.florephoto.com Florian

    Price?

  • Nathan Bonsal

    Okay, this is officially awesome.

  • don

    Admin – Did anyone catch the specification for the lens shown on the new camcorder? Using a magnified glass it looks like a 13-75mm or maybe the rumored new 12-75/f2.5-3.3 lens for the GH2 and GP1?

    I was surprised to not see 1080P/50/60 HD so maybe the global shutter and sensor is not ready yet? Any more details on the sensor used? I expect this new sensor and HD capabilities is also what may be used in the GH2 and GP1?

    • admin

      Hi Don! No Global Shutter and no details about the sensor. I will try ot catch some infos but I suspect this will not the be the final and real specs.

  • Abi

    Sounds good. Panasonic generally delivers high quality electronic goods, and they are #1 here in Japan for almost everything (toilet washlets, AC, etc).

  • Abi

    @don: I’m sure that lens is 14-140mm. The maximum range is 3-digits and it looks awfully like 14-140. As far as I remember, 12-75mm is a fake rumor, created at a same time with panasonic G2 rumor that is shown to be false.

  • N!co

    The lens is the 14-140 HD. Go to the source (panasonic.com press release) and click on the picture, you’ll get a zip with the picture in HD.

  • http://thephoblographer.com Chris Gampat

    I hope they come out with some nice new cinema primes for it then. Perhaps that’s why Leica is now officially part of Micro Four Thirds.

    Oh man, dude, I creamed my pants reading this.

  • marcram

    Looks sweet. This will be great for pro video users. Hopefully the price is low for home users. Maybe the GH2 will get this tech too.

    I hope this sensor is native 1080 resolution.

  • Adrian Lewis

    Wonderful! Hopefully the prosumer version will follow in early 2011 … as I doubt I could afford the pro version! :-)

    Something like this would do nicely:-
    http://i528.photobucket.com/albums/dd330/Ajax9000/mFT/mFT-hybrid-camcorder-Sony-HDR-HC-1.png

    Or for the mass market:-
    http://i528.photobucket.com/albums/dd330/Ajax9000/mFT/xacti-1.png

    RE: lens
    The high-res image at http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prModelDetail?storeId=11301&catalogId=13251&itemId=407080 shows the lens to be the 14-140.

  • rUY

    This could be a very important step of m43, if Sanyo build a smaller m43 camcoder, then, m43 is no longer niche format for public but one of the mainstream for different devices. which lens can simply compatible to each others. I think OM should consider a wider range of products instead of focus on portable m43 for entry level.

  • Adrian Lewis

    Just to add re the lens …

    As damn-near every pro video camera has a power zoom and the 14-140 lens doesn’t, I think it is a fair bet to say that the AG-AF100 will have a different lens to the one shown in the mockup. (No great surprise that Panasonic doesn’t want to show an unannounced lens on the mockup.)

    This leads to the next interesting question … when will we see power zoom on standard µFT cameras — next generation, two generations, … ?

  • http://thephoblographer.com Chris Gampat

    @Adrian you’d be amazed how few power zoom lenses there really are for Sony, Panasonic, Canon and JVC. Most pros much prefer primes.

  • at

    The pro-camcorder is 50/60Hz switchable, that is definitely not available on GH2. Anyway, I hope it looks better and has competitive price…

  • http://youdidntdidyou.com/ YouDidntDidYou

    predicted this in July 2009 http://www.fourthirds-user.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4658 Sony and Canon must be quaking in their boots, what a great move from Panasonic :-)

  • marcram

    They are still using a 12mp sensor. Nobody is going to be shooting stills on this thing. I don’t see why they don’t make a sensor with 1080 resolution. Forget the AA filters or the increase in processing power required to decimate the images. I guess they are cutting costs by using the GH-1 sensor again.

  • http://www.akwd.com Rabot
  • HK

    Nice job with the early break of the story!

  • Adrian Lewis

    @ Chris

    Are we talking about the same thing? Possibly not — I mentioned pro *video* cameras, not *film / “digital film”* cameras.

    If you look at the VideoMaker Pro Camcorder Buyer’s Guide at http://www.videomaker.com/content/images/article/14800/pdf14800.pdf there are 21 models from Sony, Panasonic, Canon, and JVC spanning ~USD$2000-9000. Every single one of them has a “power zoom”. Whether the description is “remote zoom”, “servo zoom”, “power zoom”, “zoom-by-wire”, or something else is semantics.

    Yes, most or all also have a manual zoom-ring or leaver on the lens too, but even then many seem to be zoom-by-wire, rather than mechanically linked.

    Even looking around the manufacturers websites $20k+ video cameras have power zooms.

    So, with all due respect, I can’t say I agree with your comment that “… you’d be amazed how few power zoom lenses there really are for Sony, Panasonic, Canon and JVC.”

  • don

    ABI – The lens is definitely shown on dpr m4/3furum to be marked 14-140 but also a totally different design as much longer and larger front elements while main barrel appears smaller diameter.? Possible a 14-140/F2.8??? and maybe a new design incorporating a power zoom? Possible the picture is of 14-140 with front mounted 2x converter to get to 600mm effective reach?

    I was not aware of any confirmation that the 12-75/f2.5-3.3 or the spec for GH2 were a fake rumor?

  • Alfons

    If they are marketing it like this…

    “The design of the AF100’s micro 4/3-inch sensor affords depth of field and field of view similar to that of 35mm movie cameras in a less expensive camera body.”

    …they really need faster lenses.

  • ogge

    The Panasonic GH1 is already an impressive compact Full HD camera, only limited to its “Camera” or DLSR looks, we could only hope that Panasonic would eventually offers the same “power” in a more camcorder friendly design… And my friends, this time has come… Yesterday, Panasonic announced the AG-AF100, their first Micro Four-Thirds Pro Camera using the very same lenses as mounted on the GH1 for example or any cameras using this format as well as soon to be released specific lenses for Video professional.

    Just imagine for a second a HVX like camera with interchangeable lenses, and video quality matching a GH1… Announced at 6000$ this AG-AF100 will be a game changer in the industry and we just hope that Canon will goes in the same direction with a 5D MK II like Camcorder as well.

    Press Release

    Panasonic Solutions Company today announced a game-changing AVCCAM HD camcorder, the AG-AF100, the first professional micro 4/3-inch video camcorder optimized for high-definition video recording. Scheduled to ship by the end of 2010, the AG-AF100 will set a new benchmark for digital cinematography.

    Targeted at the video and film production communities, the AF100 delivers the shallow depth of field and wider field of view of a large imager, with the flexibility and cost advantages of use with a growing line of professional quality, industry standard micro 4/3-inch lenses, filters, and adapters. The full 1080 and 720 production camera offers superior video handling, native 1080/24p recording, variable frame rates, professional audio capabilities, and compatibility with SDHC and SDXC media.

    The design of the AF100’s micro 4/3-inch sensor affords depth of field and field of view similar to that of 35mm movie cameras in a less expensive camera body. Equipped with an interchangeable lens mount, the AF100 can utilize an array of low-cost, widely-available still camera lenses as well as film-style lenses with fixed focal lengths and primes.

    “Designed in consultation with the filmmaking community, the AF100 eclipses the video performance of other cameras in this price range,” said Joe Facchini, Vice President of Sales & Product Management, Media & Production Services, Panasonic Solutions Company. “Ideal for film schools and independent filmmakers, this affordable, digital cinematography camera employs an advanced professional AVC/ H.264 Hi Profile AVCHD codec compatible with a wide range of editing tools and affordable players.”

    The AF100 incorporates a 4/3-inch, 16:9 MOS imager. The camcorder records 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) in AVCHD’s highest-quality PH mode (maximum 24Mbps). Ready for global production standards, the camcorder is 60Hz and 50Hz switchable.

    The AF100 maximizes the potential of its high-resolution imager with built-in ND filtering and dramatically reduced video aliasing. Standard professional interfaces include HD-SDI out, HDMI, time code recording, built-in stereo microphone and USB 2.0. The AF100 features two XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power capability, 48-kHz/16-bit two-channel digital audio recording and supports LPCM/Dolby-AC3.

    This newest Panasonic AVCCAM camcorder is the first to enjoy the benefits of advanced SDXC media card compatibility in addition to existing SDHC card support. (SDXC is the newest SD memory card specification that supports memory capacities above 32GB up to 2TB). With two SD slots, the AF100 can record up to 12 hours on two 64GB SDXC cards in PH mode

    The AG-AF100 will be available by the end of 2010. Panasonic will support the AF100 with a three-year limited warranty (one year plus two extra years upon registration).

    Via Panasonic No Comments
    Category CAMCORDER

  • at

    @ marcram
    I don’t understand what you mean by a sensor with 1080 resolution. A sensor with native 1920×1080 resolution only needs 2MP, and oversampling is common nowadays. Of course, lower sensor resolution can definitely improve the video S/N ratio, but may not retrieve high HD video resolution (or sharpness) with the limitation of M4/3 lenses. I don’t know why you would use this video camera to shoot still image, does it mention that it is a 12MP sensor? It is a high resolution sensor but I think it is definitely not the same sensor as GH1, because it is a native 16:9 MOS sensor.

    @ Chris
    This is definitely not a cine camera, although it said so, because the optical resolution of SLR (or M4/3) lenses are still too low for 2K or 4K cinematography, we need 1080 or 2160 TV lines of optical resolution (totally different terminology from the number of pixels on its sensor). Of course, you can still use the adapter to connect M4/3 to PL-mount lenses if you wish to. I think it would be great if it can record 4K.

  • at

    I have to say sorry for the mistake in my previous comment. Actually, cine lens provides lower resolution but higher contrast, and SLR lens is just opposite. A 4/3-sensor can provide better S/N ratio with lower resolution, but sometimes people used to look at “sharpened images”, but it is still difficult to keep the cine-tone if we use DSLR lenses. Therefore, I still think that you need PL-mount lenses if you are shooting for film making, while you can still use M4/3 for video shooting.

  • mochapaulo

    I have an ambiguous feeling for that. If GH2 already has the same function of shooting FullHD Video (60i/50i),why bother to develop another body specific for film / video shooting.
    Is it just because the body design means something for the user? Somebody like Philip Bloom uses GH1 for over a year and the body design seems not matter for film / video shooting purpose.
    However, the m4/3 lens may be a problem because the zooming servo is not built -in that really makes some trouble when zooming. I think Panny should make an accessory that can aid zooming.

    May be I am too picky. I think AF100 is not a really shocking thing to the industry because it just fulfill the industry needs but not competitive with the hardcore player like RED,
    which can shoot high speed video @ 120fps. We know that 4/3 can produce good DOF but it can’t beat Canon because of the sensor size. If AF100 can using high speed,
    I can’t help to have one, seriously. :o)

  • Chow

    @at

    Why is it difficult to keep cine-tone with dslr lenses?

  • JHnAZ

    @Alfons

    I just posted a comment on this (faster lenses for this camera) in the one of the DVXuser threads:

    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?p=1958302#post1958302

    The interesting issue (to me) is where the trade-off should be set between micro 4/3 fast lens design for HD-video resolution vs. full still-camera resolution. Trying to reach the latter would be expensive and could compromise the video needs, but then optimizing the design just for video would create disappointing still images at 12MP – though still, I predict, better than results from Cosmicar, Noktor etc.

  • AirShaker

    Let’s dream a little bit :

    a native 1080p 16/9 sensor would mean 9.8um pixel pitch. The nikon D3 has 8.5um pixel pitch.
    If sensor technology is on par with other manufacturers, we could have nothing else than a class leader
    in DR and S/N ratio …

  • Paul

    This looks great, but but the market also needs a *consumer* M43 camcorder. M43 is going to dominate! :-)

  • Miroslav

    Good news, standardization is always better than two proprietary systems. This is going to bring benefits to both still and video m43 sides.

  • YeahYeah

    Wow! Awesome!!
    That’s wonderful, I just miss a 12-75 f/2.2 for instance… That would be great for video, just as 25/0.95, etc…

  • at

    @Chow
    You can emulate the cine-tone, but not comparable with video lenses, because the colour contrast are much better with cine lenses (actually resolution and contrast are contradictory, you need high cost for lenses to have both high res and high contrast). I think 4K lenses with PL-mount will be very good if you need a true cine-tone (but the color of 1MOS is different from 3MOS, and different from 3CCD anyway).

    @mochapaulo
    Usually, the internal sampling bit resolution will usually higher with pro-camera to obtain higher colour accuracy to match with some standards, like SMPTE, EBU, etc. Advanced features like Zebra, manual audio level control, real-time external monitor preview and headphone for audio monitoring, high resolution and contrast viewfinder of larger-size than still camera in B/W (you can focus better with B/W). Lens rings should be smooth enough for videographer for quick manual focus, zoom and iris (the existing M4/3 lenses are too frictional). 50/60Hz switchability will never be available on M4/3 because of the avoidance of parallel import trade.

    Anyway, there are adapters to emulate the 35mm DOF on M4/3 or other DSLR, and the photo of AF100 seems to have a lens adapter on its front thread that can change the DOF as well. Therefore, I can say that if its price can be comparable to mid-range DSLR, I think it is still quite competitive, because the body itself is not too huge.

    You don’t really need AF100 if you are not involved in video production, but you can use GH2 for promo videos, MV or short clips only, because quick control is very important to truely real-time video shooting.

  • mpgxsvcd

    Until they make fast 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm lenses it won’t matter what camera they make. The lenses are MUCH more important than the camera. Sorry to tell you but the 14-140mm is way to slow for camcorder use. Hopefully, these new cameras will come with faster lenses.

  • kesztió

    Cannot classify it as a professional camcorder unless having really fast big-zoom lenses (F1.8 or better), no matter how bulky should be such a lens.

    F4 ultrazoom lens is far not enough even for everyday needs of a serious movie maker.

  • marcram

    A sensor with native resolution closer to the max 1080p or 2k resolution would make a lot of the current slow lenses more usable. As AirShaker and I have said, this could be a leading SNR performer (i.e. for low light). Plus, not having to decimate the image (requiring anti-aliasing processing) or pixel binning should probably improve power consumption and allow the processer to focus on other tasks. Maybe even higher frame rates or better compression.

  • http://rubberball.com ACME

    Ho hum. All you get is better depth of field and crappy AVHCD compression at 24 Mbps. Even the Canon T2i has 45 Mbps….

    I like the idea of using a bigger 4/3 sensor than is found in most higher-end video cameras. but PLEASE. If you’re going to stick a big sensor in the beast allow it to record uncompressed or with minimal compression to SSD or some kind of small RAID. Then you’ve got something. Otherwise, you’re about to have your a** handed to you by the Scarlet. Don’t even get me started on the framerate. Ugh! Panasonic. So close. So close.

    • dacloo

      Acme, the 45 Mbps bitrate on the Canon T2i is because the codec implementation is really, really bad. I have a Canon 7D, and the high bitrate is to compensate the bad implementation of it. Watch DLSR footage on a monitor, and you see the lack of detail, crushed blacks, compression artifacts and ofcourse moire because the camera is line skipping.

      Compare this with raw footage of the TM700 from Panasonic. This consumer cam might have a small sensor, but you can see the incredible detail and the lack of problems the DLSRs have.

      The GH1 has a very bad codec implementation as well. In fact, the hacker (GH13) attempts proved that the codec was buggy and never fixed. I had the GH1 and sold it (before hacking was an option).

      So, the AF100 is not just a better depth of field cam, it is going to be the first one that combines the ergonomy of a real camcorder, great output possibilities, a good codec implementation with the benefit of the DSLR shallow depth of field and flexibility of using different lenses.

  • http://www.mf9design.com Mitch

    For those wondering about the price, the guy at the NAB booth said the price point is going to be around $6000 for the body.

  • dacloo

    The new price is $5000. Not sure if that includes a lens.

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