Panasonic HC-X1500, HC-X2000, and AG-CX10 Review

Panasonic announced 3 models of 4K video cameras overseas-HC-X1500, HC-X2000, AG-CX10. This article provides a detailed featured and technological analysis of these cameras. 

At CES 2020 held in Vegas, Panasonic announced three models of compact video cameras equipped with 1 / 2.5-inch sensor, HC-X1500, HC-X2000, and AG-CX10. All of these camcorders are equipped with a 4K 60p recording function (supports up to 4K 30p / 4: 2: 2/10 bits). It also has a built-in 24x optical zoom (25-600mm: 35mm equivalent) lens. It is also equipped with 5-axis O.I.S, two manual rings, ND filter, a built-in LED video light, 24-bit linear PCM audio recording, a built-in Wi-Fi module for streaming, etc.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about full-frame cinema cameras equipped with large sensors, and even the S35mm gives the impression of a small sensor. However, compact broadcast cameras with smaller sensors are still in use, and camera makers continue to develop video cameras for this market.

At CES 2020 in Las Vegas, Panasonic unveiled three new professional camcorders with small image sensors. These camcorders are capable of 4K 60p recording, H265, and 4: 2: 2 10-bit internal video recording in all modes.

Overview of HC-X1500, HC-X2000, AG-CX10

Panasonic considers these cameras to be the industry’s smallest and lightest built-in lens 4K 60p camcorders. These cameras use the Venus engine known as LUMIX and a 1 / 2.5 ″ 8.29 megapixel MOS sensor. All camcorders are equipped with 5-axis hybrid optical image stabilization (OIS). Suppresses image stabilization even at the 24x telephoto end. 

All three models are equipped with Leica Dicomar lenses with a 4-Drive Lens System. This lens can perform 24x optical zoom from 25mm (f / 1.8) to 600mm (f / 4) (35mm equivalent), and with a digital zoom called i.ZOOM, it has 32x at 4K resolution and 48x at FHD. Zooming is possible.

Flare and ghosting are suppressed in these lenses. There are also two manual rings, one for focus and one for zoom or iris control. The size of the ring is different and can be recognized even by the blind operation.

There are also built-in 4-step ND filters for 1/4, 1/16, 1/64, and clear. A new glass material has been adopted for the ND filter to avoid the adverse effects of sunlight.

In addition, face detection AF / AE can control accurate focusing and exposure, enabling high-speed and accurate focusing even at 4K. In addition, the LCD panel can track the subject by color recognition.

These camcorders are equipped with a newly developed fan that draws in air from the back and dissipates heat from the front panel. With such heat management, it is possible to record for a long time even at the setting of the highest image quality.

Recording mode

When set to 10-bit recording, the camcorder outputs 4K 60p 4: 2: 2 10-bit video from the HDM and can record with an external recorder. For internal recording, 4K 60p can be recorded in H.265 (HEVC) mode (LongGOP / 10-bit 4: 2: 0 / MOV, 200 Mbps). 4: 2: 2 10-bit internal recording is possible up to 4K 30p and FHD 60p.

In addition to MOV, MP4, and AVCHD, the AG-CX10 also supports the broadcast P2 MXF format, which enables recording by AVC-Intra / AVC-LongGOP. Support for AVC-Intra 100/50 is planned for the future. A microP2 card is required to record in all P2 formats. Full HD mode allows slow-motion recording up to 120 fps / 10 bits without trimming, and autofocus is also available in this mode.

Other features

A video light is built into the upper handle of the camera (HC-X1500 requires the optional handle unit VW-HU1). With the dimming dial, you can adjust the brightness from 30% to 100%. The IR light supports IR (infrared) photography in dark places. 850 nm is the recommended wavelength of light.

The camera is equipped with a viewfinder and a monitor. The 3.5-inch touch screen monitor has a resolution of 2,760K dots and is said to have high visibility even in sunlight. The EVF can be tilted and has a resolution of 1,555K dots.

The focus assist function has expanded, peaking, and one-push AF modes for high-speed and accurate manual focus. With a fully charged battery, it can operate continuously for about 4.5 hours.

There are two SD card slots for simultaneous recording and relay recording. Relay recording automatically and seamlessly switches from slot 1 to slot 2 (or vice versa).

For audio recording, there is + 48V phantom power / MIC / LINE selectable XLR audio input, and manual volume is provided for each of the two channels. High-quality 2-channel audio recording is possible with a 24-bit linear PCM system (MOV / P2 MXF – AG-CX10 only), 16-bit AAC (MP4), or Dolby Audio System (AVCHD). The HC-X1500 requires the optional handle unit VW-HU1 for high-quality audio recording.

It also has a built-in Wi-Fi module that allows you to remotely control the camera using the HC ROP app. HD streaming compatible with RTSP / RTP / RTMP / RTMPS enables streaming via Facebook, YouTube, etc.

In addition, the AG-CX10 has an NDI | HX mode that allows data transmission and camera control via IP connection. However, this requires the purchase of a license.

The AG-CX10 and HC-X2000 are equipped with a 3G-SDI port for connecting to an external recorder. You can connect the camera to the LAN by using the USB (micro AB) to LAN conversion adapter on the AG-CX10.

Price & Availablity 

All three camcorders will be available in late March 2020. The price is about $ 1,700 for the HC-X1500 and about $ 300 for the optional VW-HU1 top handle unit. The price of the HC-X2000 is about $ 2,200, and the price of the AG-CX10 is about $ 2,600. There is no announcement of its availability in India. But it can be easily shipped