Panasonic Launches Low-Cost P2 HD Camera

Panasonic highlighted its NAB Show plans this week with the introduction of a new low-cost, professional-grade P2 camcorder.


The AJ-HPX300, which includes 10-bit, 4:2:2 image processing and exchangeable lenses, will be available in March for $10,700. The AJ-HPX300 imager incorporates advanced 1/3-inch 2.2-megapixel 3-MOS technology to acquire full native resolution HD images. The advanced 3-MOS imagers provide high image quality while minimizing any flare or chromatic aberration. Image performance has also been enhanced by a new 20-bit digital signal processor.

Panasonic officials said the price and high-end features of AJ-HPX300 set a new “benchmark” for professional cameras. “That price range really is the sweet spot for a lot different applications,” said Joe Facchini, Panasonic Broadcast’s director of marketing at a press conference.

Facchini said the camera’s newly developed 3-MOS imager “combines the resolution of a 2.2 megapixel imager without any loss of sensitivity. It’s as sensitive as other much lower density 1/3 imagers out there. That is a significant development in a camera this size.”

The camera uses AVC-Intra 100 and AVC-Intra 50 compression and also records individual frame images in 100 Mbps DVCPRO HD and in SD DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV. It records the plethora of both 1080i and 720 frame rates and also supports 1080p.

The AJ-HPX300 also features variable frame rate for under- and overcranking, and is equipped with 2 P2 card slots as well as an SD memory card slot for saving or loading scene files and user settings or proxy data (an optional AJ-YAX800G Proxy board is required). It also has advanced gamma functions offering six shooting scenarios, including Cine-Like Gamma modes found on the Panasonic Varicam.

The AJ-HPX300’s interchangeable lens design allows professionals to use a wide range of broadcast and production HD lenses. The camera can also be configured as a studio camera and is equipped with a remote control terminal for use with the optional AJ-RC10G Remote Control Unit and compatible studio remote control systems. Panasonic plans to release a customized studio configuration system for the AJ-HPX300 for less than $10,000, later this year.

The 8-pound camera consumes only 18 watts and features a widescreen 1,226,000-dot LCOS color viewfinder and a widescreen 921,000-dot 3.2-inch LCD color monitor.

Panasonic Broadcast President John Baisley announced that NBC-U O&Os, which are standardizing on P2 HD for ENG, have already placed “significant orders” for the AJ-HPX-300.