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Panasonic debuts 1/3in camcorder with interchangeable lenses

Panasonic has unveiled a new 1920 x 1080 HD camcorder with interchangeable lenses, 10-bit (4:2:2) signal processing and AVC-Intra recording onto two solid-state P2 cards.

The new AG-HPX370 camcorder features three newly developed Ultra Luminance Technology (ULT) 1/3in imagers and can be configured as a studio camera or handheld ENG device. Panasonic offers a customized studio configuration system, which includes a base station, extension control unit and remote-control camera adapter.

Panasonic said the new ULT imagers produce similar image quality and sensitivity to 1/2in imagers, measured at F10. This performance has been achieved with a new high-sensitivity photodiode and low-noise pixel transistor, both based on low-noise analog process technology. The same levels of sensitivity and image production that characterize the interlace mode are now possible in progressive mode courtesy of Progressive Advanced Processing (PAP), a 3-D adaptive-processing technology. The HPX370 also features a built-in “flash band” detection and compensation technology that eliminates the flash band effect that can occur with CMOS imagers.

Although the HPX370 features advanced AVC-Intra compression, it also supports 100Mb/s DVCPRO HD as well as SD recording in DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV. The output of the camera can also be set for downconversion or crossconversion with letterbox, 4:3 crop or squeeze.

The HPX370 comes standard with a Fujinon 17x HD lens but offers the flexibility of interchangeable lenses, including the option of a 1/3in to 2/3in lens adapter, which allows the user to pair the HPX370 with existing zoom and prime lenses. The camera is equipped with chromatic aberration compensation to maximize lens performance, built-in scan reverse for use with film lenses, a dynamic range stretch function to help compensate for wide variations in lighting, a waveform monitor and vector scope display, and two focus-assist functions — a picture expanding function and a focus bar.

The camcorder also offers variable-frame-rate recording. In 720p mode, a user can choose from 20 steps between 12 and 60. The shutter speed can be set between 1/6s on the slow end (in 24p mode) and 1/2000s on the fast end.