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Old July 20th, 2009, 03:37 PM   #1
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Panasonic Announces Dramatically Lower Pricing on AG-HMC40

PANASONIC ANNOUNCES DRAMATICALLY LOWER PRICING ON NEW
AG-HMC40 PROFESSIONAL AVCCAM HD HANDHELD CAMCORDER WITH
10.6 MEGAPIXEL STILL PHOTO CAPABILITY

* Compact, 3-Megapixel AVCCAM Handheld Ships in August for $2,295 *

SECAUCUS, NJ (July 20, 2009) – Initially previewed at NAB for $3,199, Panasonic's professional AG-HMC40 AVCCAM handheld camcorder will begin to ship in August at a significantly lower price, widening its appeal to a much larger customer base, the company announced today. Panasonic also announced that shipments of the new HMC40 camcorder will come initially (from August 2009 through March 2010) bundled with free EDIUS Neo 2 video editing software (Retail Value: $199).

Compact and lightweight at 2.16-pounds, the HMC40 is a versatile HD camcorder with high-quality AVCHD recordings, high-resolution still photo capture, and professional audio capabilities for a wide range of applications and markets including schools, government agencies, event videographers, web designers and more.

The camcorder’s full HD resolution 3-megapixel 3MOS imager produces stu
nning 1920x1080 or 1280 x 720 AVCHD video with high sensitivity. When used for digital still photography, the camera captures pristine still images with 10.6-megapixel resolution directly onto the SD card as a JPEG image file.

For video recording, the AVCHD format based camcorder uses MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 high profile encoding, which provides a near doubling of bandwidth efficiency and improved video performance over the older MPEG-2 compression based formats (e.g. HDV). AVCHD high definition recordings look clean and crisp, even during fast motion, reducing the image degradation or dropouts associated with older HDV recordings and can play directly from the low cost SDHC memory card on a growing number of affordable consumer devices including most Panasonic Blu-ray players.

The HMC40 records video in all four professional AVCCAM recording modes, including the highest-quality PH mode (average 21 Mbps/Max 24Mbps), the HA mode (approx.17 Mbps), the HG mode (approx.13 Mbps) and the extended recording HE mode (approx. 6 Mbps). It supports 1080/59.94i (in all modes) and 1080/29.97p, 1080/23.98p native, 720/59.94p, 720/20.97p, and 720/23.98p native (in PH mode only).

Using just one 32GB SDHC memory card, a user can record three hours of full resolution 1920x1080 video and audio in 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 1440 x 1080 HD content – all on a single 32GB SDHC card.

The camcorder’s advanced Leica Dicomar lens system captures super sharp images at up to 12X optical zoom as well as an additional 10x digital zoom. It features a 40.8mm (35mm lens equivalent) wide-angle setting, and an advanced Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) feature to ensure stable, smooth and precise shooting. The camera also provides users with professional image functions like Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS) that helps compensate for wide variations in lighting, and a Cine-Like Gamma mode that gives recordings a more film-like aesthetic look.

The HMC40 comes standard with HDMI output, USB 2.0 (mini B-type devices), composite output (AV multi/ch1, ch2), analog component (mini-D), and a built-in stereo microphone as well as a 3.5 mm external mic-in jack. To enhance its professional audio capabilities, users can add on the optional AG-MYA30G XLR adapter. Featuring two XLR audio input terminals (mic/line switchable) and audio record level controls and +48V capability, the adapter provides professional XLR terminals for mic/line recording or the ability to accept the audio output from microphone and PA systems in studios and auditoriums.

The camera’s 2.7-inch LCD monitor offers simple touch-panel operation and access to various solid-state recording functions such as nine different recording modes, pre-record, interval recording, shot marker and metadata capture. Additional features include time/date stamp, waveform monitor display, focus assists such as focus bar display and enlarged display, user assignable focus ring (Focus/Iris/Zoom), auto focus with face detection, white balance, mode display, zebra display, center marker, color bar, tally lamps, slow smooth zoom & soft landing, slow shutter and synchro-scan shutter functions, three programmable user buttons (13 different choices), time code/UB recording, and two wired remote control terminals (for zoom, focus, aperture, REC start/stop controls). A wireless remote is also included.

AVCCAM content recorded on the SD card can be played back directly and randomly accessed on a growing number of low-cost consumer devices including solid-state HD players, Blu-ray players, game machines, laptop computers, and widescreen plasma displays with SD card slots. For editing or playback, professionals can transfer content by inserting the SD Card into Mac or PC computers or by connecting the camera directly via its USB 2.0 interface.

The HMC40 will be available at the end of August, with the free Edius Neo 2 non-linear editing software package (for Windows PC only), at a suggested list price of $2,295. The optional AG-MYA30G XLR adapter will be available in August at a suggested list price of $300. Panasonic supports the HMC40 with a three-year limited warranty (one year plus two extra years upon registration).

About AVCCAM

Panasonic’s AVCCAM series brings the benefits of solid-state HD 0D
recording to budget-conscious professionals with a range of affordable camera and recorder products that record with inexpensive, widely-available SD/SDHC cards. The professional AVCCAM line includes the AG-HMC40 compact handheld, the popular AG-HMC150 handheld, the shoulder-mount AG-HMC70, the AG-HMR10 AVCCAM recorder and its optional AG-HCK10 camera head. AVCHD is supported by a wide range of editing options including Apple Final Cut Pro 6.0.5, Adobe Premier Pro CS4, EDIUS Pro 5 and EDIUS Neo 2. In addition, a free transcoder, available for download at Panasonic AVCCAM, converts AVCHD files to DVCPRO HD P2 and downconverted DV files for use with most existing professional editing packages.

About Panasonic Broadcast

Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co. is a leading supplier of broadcast and professional video products and systems. Panasonic Broadcast is a Unit of Panasonic Corporation of North America. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC) and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. For more information on Panasonic Broadcast products, visit Professional Video Cameras and equipment from Panasonic.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 05:56 PM   #2
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Why couldn't they release it in the beginning of august. Was ready to order the hmc150 tomorrow but now its crunch time. A wedding in the beginning of september to do and need to learn a new cam. CCD or CMOS with a grand less. Help folks. Will I be kicking my own rear end if I get the 150 and find out the 40 takes better video? Thought CCD has a crisper image than CMOS but really don't know. Decisions decisions.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 04:40 AM   #3
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HMC150 is a great cam. I prefer CCD over CMOS due to the jello and camera flashing gets distracting. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with CMOS, but its my preference. I'm looking closely at the HMC40 as a B-cam. Curious as to how it performs in lowlight. If you need it NOW, I'd have no problem recommending the HMC150.

Another question, why was the HMC40 put in the same price range as the HMC150? Are they supposed to be comparable models just CCD vs CMOS?

A few things that I noticed off the bat is that it doesn't have as wide a lens and doesn't include the XLR connections. That alone would make me spend the extra for an HMC150.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 09:36 AM   #4
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Good points you brought up. I just pulled the trigger and ordered the 150. Should be here thursday. Got such a headache pouring over data on different cams and the GH1 for 2 months but feel relieved its over. Now will download the manual to begin studying. This is my 1st prosumer cam and am excited to move up from consumer cams. Now have to get ready for my step daughters wedding.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 06:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
Another question, why was the HMC40 put in the same price range as the HMC150? Are they supposed to be comparable models just CCD vs CMOS?
I’d say for the same reason the V1u was priced close to the Z1u. People want small cameras with an extensive arrow of manual features and a lot of them are willing to pay a premium for that luxury. I mean Sony had no problems selling the V1u for more money than the XH-A1.

I bet the pressure from the HM100 caused Panasonic to rethink their pricing strategy. Even if you can get better images from the HMC40, the HM100 still offers you 2 memory card slots and the ability to record in .mov.

I hope this causes the price of the HM100 to be lowered as well.

Last edited by Paulo Teixeira; July 22nd, 2009 at 08:12 AM.
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Old July 26th, 2009, 01:39 PM   #6
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B&h is acepting pre-orders

$ 1,995.00

Panasonic | AG-HMC40 AVCHD CAMCORDER | AG-HMC40PJU | B&H Photo
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Old August 6th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #7
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Well, I hate to see this camera. Because I switched to Sony from Panasonic last year. I bought three Sony's: The FX1000, the HD1000U, and an HC9.

I sold my Panasonics and went Sony.

Why? Price and Tape option.

The HMC150 turned out, based on all reports, to be a terrific camera. The AVCHD is supposed to compete well with HDV. I fooled around with that Panasonic shoulder mount version that a friend of mine bought and the video loaded perfectly into my S4KP editing system.

Now this new HMC40 for $2225 with the handle and XLR.

Get this: I just bought the Sony CF recorder for my FX1000. That was another $900.

Seems like any budding video professional wanting to do ENG or event videography would go with the HMC150 and the HMC40. Why mess with the Sonys when you have to build up the camera to have XLR and tapeless?

I'm so tempted to sell all my Sony and go Panasonic. Anyone think that is a good idea?
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Old August 6th, 2009, 01:39 PM   #8
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Hard choice as you have a lot invested. I have a Sony HD1000 and will be selling it to get the HMC40 w/XLR. I am looking forward to going tapeless and having a smaller camera. Also use Adobe Premiere CS4 and it now edits AVCHD natively.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jonathan W. Hickman View Post
I'm so tempted to sell all my Sony and go Panasonic. Anyone think that is a good idea?
I have done three brand switches so far; from JVC to Canon to currently Panasonic (HMC-150s). Kinda painfull and expensive, and I still have batterys and old camera system equipment all over the place I never sold or gave away.

With the introduction of the HMC-40, it does make the event videographers choice much easier for a tapeless system. A $2,000ish B, C, or D camera is really a great value. It is probably even an A camera for some events. I can't wait to buy one.

So it really comes down to the expense of selling current equipment and buying Panasonic.
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Old August 9th, 2009, 12:21 PM   #10
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I shot on the set of a short film yesterday with my FX1000. They were shooting the film with the RED. I built up my camera and talked with the DP a little.

The footage I shoot onto CF card looked great. Tapeless has been perfected.

I haven't shot anything with my HD1000U in months, seems like selling it would be a good idea.

Since there has already been a price drop on the HMC40. Do you think it could actually go lower? And who is likely to have one for sale in September? B&H and Amazon are taking orders.

Also, what's the thought on the Sony and the HMC40 matching in 24?
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Old August 16th, 2009, 09:32 AM   #11
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AG-HMC40 Brochure

Here is the AG-HMC40 Brochure I found on the Panasonic site.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf AG-HMC40_brochure.pdf (2.20 MB, 731 views)
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Old August 16th, 2009, 10:33 AM   #12
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Just ordered

I just ordered the AG-HMC40 from B&H photo. They believe they will have it September 1st, maybe sooner. Hope its as good as it sounds for the price. I will be using it as a B camera lock down.
I was using the Canon XH-A1s and I was disappointed with the PQ, although it did well in low light. I returned it to B&H and thank goodness they did not charge me the 15% restock fee.

Last edited by Jim Forrest; August 16th, 2009 at 02:45 PM.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 09:54 AM   #13
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Jim:

I sure hope the low light capability matches the HMC-150 reasonably. If it is close, it will be a perfect B-cam.

I shot a reception in a ballroom with low/dimmed light over the weekend. The HMC-150 did very well. The B,& C cameras ranged from poor to terrible. Im going to have to use some of the B footage and it's going to stick out to even the most un-savy viewer.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 03:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
I sure hope the low light capability matches the HMC-150 reasonably.
In terms of what is likely, I think it won't and here's why:

(1) Smaller chip size. Think of going out in the rain with a small bucket and catching rain drops; now try it with a big bucket, you catch more rain drops. It's the same way with photons of light.

(2) Higher resolution chips; thus making each pixel even smaller. It's the same idea as point #1.

(3) CMOS, that's not a dirty word, but in general CMOS is not as sensitive to light as CCD.

The specification sheet says, "Minimum Luminance: Approx. 1 lx (Gain: +34 dB, Slow Shutter: 1/2 sec.)" For every 6 dB drop in the gain setting, the lux rating will have to increase by 2x. Also, increase the shutter speed from 1/2 second to 1/30 and the lux must increase by 15x.

Please don't get me wrong, Panasonic produces good cameras, but I believe low light performance of the camera will not be a strong point.


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Old August 19th, 2009, 09:10 AM   #15
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Thanks Bob. We all hope for camera miracles, but then current technology steps in the way.

I read one of your other posts about the 40ish? mm wide angle on the HMC-40. That alone is a major hurdle for a "B" camera. For my shooting, I need a wide angle on the B or unmanned camera. 40 mm could not be considered wide by any definition IMO.

Im starting to strongly think the only match for a HMC-150 is another HMC-150. We don't always shoot in low/poor quality light, but when you do, the HMC-150 is a lifesaver. However, the HMC-150 makes other cameras low light footage look like total crap (which otherwise in good light matches well enough).

I have noticed another low light plus of the HMC-150, it really responds well to mild (20W) on-camera lights and gives a really pleasing image that pops just right and does not give a spotlight in the face appearance. At the editors request I shot in 60i on the last shoot so I was able to use DRS2 which may have had some effect on this.
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