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Old April 13th, 2008, 04:55 PM   #1
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Panasonic AG-HMC150 - Official Press Release

PANASONIC ANNOUNCES SOLID-STATE AG-HMC150
PROFESSIONAL AVCHD 1080 HANDHELD CAMCORDER

** Next Generation, Affordable HD Handheld Offers SD Card Recording, Three 1/3”CCDs, Enhanced Quality Recording Mode, 1080 and 720 with 24p **

LAS VEGAS, NV (April 13, 2008) – Here at NAB 2008, Panasonic added a powerful, new camcorder to its AVCCAM professional line – the handheld AG-HMC150. Building on the phenomenal success of the highly popular DV tape based, standard definition AG-DVX100 camcorder, the affordable HMC150 blends professional 1080 and 720 HD production capabilities and enhanced quality recording (at average 21 Mbps/ Max 24Mbps) with the simplicity and familiarity of SD card, digital still camera workflow.

With an exciting range of professional-level features and a sleek, compact design, the HMC150 can record hours of high-quality 1080 and 720 HD images onto solid-state SD and SDHC memory cards, at lower bit rates than current HDV compression formats. This new model offers an enhanced quality mode at average 21 Mbps (Max 24Mbps) that moves quality up even further. The AG-HMC150 camcorder utilizes AVCHD, the industry’s newest long GOP compression standard based on MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 high profile encoding (the same as Blu-ray HD players). AVCHD provides a near doubling of bandwidth efficiency and improved video performance over the older MPEG-2 compression used in HDV formats and standard definition DVD players. AVCHD high definition recordings look clean and clear, even during fast motion, reducing the image degradation or dropout associated with HDV.

Highest-Quality, Full HD Recording

Designed to be used in a variety of budget conscious production applications, the HMC150 records stunning high definition in four recording modes – PH mode (average 21 Mbps/Max 24Mbps), HA mode (approx.17 Mbps), HG mode (approx.13 Mbps) and HE mode (approx. 6 Mbps). It captures full horizontal resolution 1920x1080 images at its PH, HA and HG recording modes. The camera can also be set to capture 1280x720 images at PH mode. At its 6 Mbps record mode, it captures 1440x1080 HD images for extended HD recording at its lowest bit rate. The HMC150 supports a range of HD formats, including 1080/24p, 1080/60i and 720/60p.

This mainstream, production-level camera features native 16:9 progressive 1/3” 3-CCD imagers, enhanced by a high-performing digital signal processor with 14-bit A/D conversion and 19-bit processing. Its 13X Leica Dicomar zoom lens offers a 28mm (35mm equivalent) wide-angle setting (the widest in its class), a 72mm diameter, and a cam-driven manual zoom. The HMC150 provides auto or manual operation of focus and iris, and automatic optical image stabilization (O.I.S.) to ensure stable, smooth and precise shooting. It also features a range of selectable gamma functions including Cine-like gamma, making it well suited for cinema-like video production.

Extra-Long Record Times

With the HMC150, videographers can capitalize on the cost advantages, reliability, and widespread availability of SD and SDHC memory cards. Using just one 32GB SDHC card, users can record three hours of full pixel 1920x1080 video and audio at PH mode, four hours at HA mode and 5.3 hours at HG mode. In the HE mode, the camera can record up to 12 hours of 1440x1080 HD content – all on a single 32GB SDHC card. Panasonic also offers a variety of other SD and SDHC card sizes with Class 6 performance including 16GB, 8GB, 4GB, 2GB and 1GB.

Easy HD Playback on a Growing Number of Affordable Consumer Players

Content shot on the HMC150 can be played back directly on a wide range of widescreen flat panel displays, and front and rear-screen projectors, directly from the camera. Unlike HDV tapes, SD cards with HD content can be inserted into and played back on a growing number of affordable playback devices including Blu-ray players (like Panasonic’s DMP-BD30), the Sony PlayStation 3, and some new Panasonic plasma displays as well as computers with an SD card slot using applications that play AVCHD files. Using NLE software, content can also be edited and rendered in various formats and delivered on a wide range of media. Currently, AVCHD is supported by over 30 companies and implemented in numerous camcorders, NLE systems and consumer HD playback devices.

Professionals can instantly transfer content from the HMC150 camcorder to Mac or PC computers with an SD/SDHC card reader or by connecting the camcorder directly via its USB 2.0 interface. Other standard interfaces on the camera include HDMI out, component out (mini D terminal), composite out, remote jacks for zoom, focus iris and start/stop functions. The camera’s 3.5-inch LCD monitor displays content in thumbnail images for quick viewing.

The HMC150’s professional audio connections include XLR two-channel audio input (48V phantom power) with mic/line select, manual two-channel audio level VR and RCA audio out jacks. The camera offers waveform monitor display and an array of recording functions including time/date stamp, pre-record, shot marker, Index, time code/user bits and metadata.

Panasonic’s AVCCAM camcorder line-up brings the benefits of solid-state recording to budget-conscious professionals. Like digital still photography, recording onto SD/SDHC cards offer a fast and simple, file-based workflow with ultra-reliable performance and resistance to shock, vibration and extreme temperatures and weather. SD and SDHC memory cards are inexpensive and widely available and can be reused repeatedly. Since AVCHD records video as digital data files, content can be transferred and stored on affordable, high-capacity hard disk drives (HDD) and optical storage media and transferred to future storage media as technology advances.

The HMC150 will be available this fall at a suggested list price under $4,500.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 09:25 PM   #2
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The HMC150 will be available this fall at a suggested list price under $4,500.
That's about a grand too high.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 11:19 PM   #3
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I love the new marketing term "AVCam" that Panasonic made up to distance itself form the negative press about AVCHD.

I am very interrested in seeing the picture quality of this camera at full bitrate, but I do agree that $4,500 is about $1,000 too much.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 08:32 AM   #4
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If the list price is ~$4500, hopefully the 'street price' will be under $4K.

Any indication what the native resolution of the sensors will be?
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Old April 14th, 2008, 10:26 AM   #5
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Exactly when is "Fall?"

Is it September? or December?
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Old April 15th, 2008, 02:13 AM   #6
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Exactly when is "Fall?"

Is it September? or December?
My guess would be late October or in November, but that is a good question.
I wonder if this camera will have the same chipset as the upcoming HVX 200A and HPX 170.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 11:03 AM   #7
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I read that it will shoot at 23 mbps with 1/3 inch 3-CCD sensors.

That should be interesting.

Wonder if the NLEs will deal with the stuff a little better.

Overall, though, the Panasonic offerings, to me, were fairly underwhelming
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Old April 16th, 2008, 05:35 PM   #8
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If the list price is ~$4500, hopefully the 'street price' will be under $4K.

Any indication what the native resolution of the sensors will be?
960x540 -- the same chips as used in the DVX200B. Very low noise - it looked very clean in the very dark Pana booth. Although, it would have been nice to see a move to 1280x720 chips.

The best thing -- an LCD waveform monitor. Oh -- and it's light and balanced unlike the EX1/EX3/Z7.

21Mbps average with peak to 24Mbps. AVCHD should now be equal to HDV. So much for the claim it's 2X more efficient. Actually, might well be better on than HDV on fast motion.

Yes -- I would hope B&H would have it for $3500 because the prices for all the new HDV camcorders are going beyond many/most budgets!

I really really liked this camera for 720p shooting. October 2008.

PS: it's AVCHD so it's going to be no different than for the NLEs. Apple will not edit natively -- always a convert to ProRes or AIC.
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Old April 19th, 2008, 06:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by David Saraceno View Post
Exactly when is "Fall?"

Is it September? or December?
At the booth they said "September."

Keep in mind that when the HVX200 was announced it was a block of wood, and that shipped in December. The HMC150 they showed was already working. Probably in at least Alpha state, if not in Beta. So September is probably reasonable.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 03:47 PM   #10
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AG-HMC150 Pricing

I agree that "under $4500" is still too high for this camcorder. I'm sure the weak dollar has a lot to do with the pricing.

I was hoping that the MSRP would be $3500, and rapidly drop to a "street price" of about $3000-$3200. If it's anywhere near $4000, I'll probably "bite the bullet" and go for the Sony EX1.

Last edited by Dwain Elliott; April 22nd, 2008 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Mispelling
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Old April 21st, 2008, 10:12 PM   #11
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Any word on what frame rates this will shoot at?
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 05:56 AM   #12
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2 things 1. I wonder how it will handle itself in low light espcially compared to my GY-HD100s and 2. Why would you guys say its too much? It seems pretty comparable to the HVX-200 in spec with the exception of the card (which is what I like the most about it) personally I think the cheaper the better but am I mising something this camera lacks?


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Old April 22nd, 2008, 07:03 AM   #13
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This camera shoots AVCHD - which uses inter frame compression aka Long GOP at 21 (average) mbps with an apparent possible max of 24.

The Hvx shoots DVCPROHD - which uses intra frame compression and also runs at 100mbps (in 1080) which is just over 4 times the data rate as the top bit rate of the HMC150.

That would be you main difference

The DVCPROHD coming out of the hvx also samples colours with a colour space of 4:2:2. AVCHD only records 4:2:0, the same as HDV.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 07:35 AM   #14
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So the image is equal to or a little better than HDV? If thats the case my GY-HD110s still go for about $4000 and they use tape:( and suck light:( the Sony HDV line still goes for about about $5,000 to $6,000 why would we expect this camera to be cheaper? Did Panasonic omit some major features to keep this camera in the prosumer market?

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Old April 22nd, 2008, 08:04 AM   #15
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Well due to the fact AVCHD is Mpeg4 (H.264) and HDV is Mpeg2 (an older compression method than h264, then it SHOULD be better than HDV.. however only time will tell... well time and testing.

The reason people are disappointed at the announced possible MSRP price is due to the fact that this camera is being touted as an DVX100 replacement.. and the dvx is a lot cheaper than $4500.

$3500-4000 is more where the camera will hopefully end up after a few months.

Last edited by Joe Lawry; April 22nd, 2008 at 08:04 AM. Reason: added stuff..
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