New Panasonic AVC camcorders ready to ship

Panasonic Solutions Company (PSC) has announced pricing and availability for two of its new professional AVCCAM HD handheld camcorders, the AG-AC160 and AG-AC130. The small-format camcorders feature three 1/3-inch, 2.2 megapixel CMOS imagers to capture native 1920 x 1080 HD images. They also include a new 22X HD zoom lens.

The AC160 will be available in September, and the AC130 will ship in October.

New features include two SD Memory Card slots for relay or simultaneous recording, compatibility with Panasonic’s new SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 (Ultra High Speed) memory cards, a color viewfinder and LCD display and all-digital recording. The higher-end AC160 also includes variable frame rate recording in 1080p, Linear PCM audio, HD-SDI output and switchability between 59.94Hz/50Hz.

Jan Crittenden Livingston, PSC Product Manager, said the new AVCCAM handhelds offer the longer lensing that customers have asked for in a small form factor with the high-bandwidth AVCCAM codec, Panasonic’s implementation of MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 high-profile encoding.

The AC160/130 camcorders record video in four professional AVCCAM HD recording modes, including the highest-quality PH mode (average 21 Mb/s/Max 24Mb/s), the HA mode (approx.17 Mb/s), the extended recording HE mode (approx. 6 Mb/s), and a PM mode (approx. 8 Mb/s, 720p only), which is ideal for shooting sports training and web video.

Panasonic’s ultra high-speed UHS-1 Memory Card series offers transfer rates of 90 MB/s, or 4.5x as fast as the previous generation of SDHC media. With two SD slots for continuous recording, the AC160/130 can record up to 12 hours on two 64GB SD cards in PH mode, with automatic clip spanning across the two cards. The two slots can also be utilized for simultaneous back-up recording.

At 60Hz, the camcorders support the following HD formats in PH mode: 1080/59.94i, 1080/29.97p, 1080/23.98pN, 720/59.94p, 720/29.97p, 720/23.98pN; in HA and HE modes, they record in 1080/59.97i; and in standard definition DV, they record 480/59.94i, 480/29.97p, 480/223.98p. At 50Hz, the AC160 also records in 1080/50i and 1080/25p, in 720/50p and 720/25p, and in 576/50i and 576/25p.

Both camcorders are equipped with a widescreen 1.226 million-pixel LCOS color viewfinder and a widescreen 921,000-pixel, 3.45-inch LCD color monitor. Weighing just over five pounds, the AC160/130 offer a well-balanced, ergonomic design. Power consumption is under 12 watts, according to Panasonic.