NAB 2009: Panasonic Introduces Low-Cost, High-Quality HD Camcorder

Filed at 2:15 p.m. EST on Feb. 11, 2009

Panasonic has introduced a new P2 HD solid-state camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2 image processing, the AG-HPX300, which will be available in March at a suggested list price of $10,700.

One of the first customers for the new HPX 300 camera will be NBC Universal. Panasonic Broadcast president John Baisley announced Wednesday that NBC's own stations and Telemundo stations are standardizing on Panasonic's P2 HD format for all of their newsgathering applications. NBC's decision makes sense as P2 is already used by the Fox stations that NBC is partnering with in its Local News Service news sharing venture.

The camera, which was formally introduced at a press event in New York Wednesday where Panasonic detailed its plans for the NAB convention in April, uses Panasonic's AVC-Intra advanced compression scheme to record HD video at 100 and 50 megabit-per-second bit rates in both the 1080i and 720p formats using solid-state P2 memory cards.

The HPX300, which has a 1/3-inch imager with 2.2-megapixel 3-MOS technology, can also be used as a studio camera and is equipped with a remote control terminal (RCU) for use with the optional AJ-RC10G Remote Control Unit and compatible studio remote control systems. Panasonic says that later this year it will release a customized studio configuration system which will include the AG-BS300 base station, AG-EC4 extension control unit (ECU) and AG-CA300 remote control camera adapter. The optional studio add-on package will sell for less than $10,000.

"The HPX300 establishes a new benchmark for performance within this price range" said Robert Harris, Vice President, Panasonic Broadcast. "It not only captures full native 1920 x 1080 HD resolution, but it allows professionals to record at a quality level that no other camcorder in this price range can equal. Without the compromise of 8-bit, long GOP, 4:2:0 recording, the HPX300 provides master-quality, 10-bit, 4:2:2 individual frame capture using our award winning AVC-Intra codec. Video professionals will immediately realize that this camera is in a field of its own."