AC130/AC160 Upgrades announced at NAB 2012 at DVinfo.net

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AVCHD for pro applications: AG-AC160, AC130 and other AVCCAM gear.


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Old April 16th, 2012, 10:53 PM   #1
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AC130/AC160 Upgrades announced at NAB 2012

I purchased an AC160 about 3 weeks ago. I was hoping for the ability to shoot 1080/60p, and it looks like it's going to happen - here is the Panasonic announcement (link: For Journalists)

PANASONIC INTRODUCES UPGRADES TO AG-AC160A AND AC130A,
NEWEST GENERATION OF AVCCAM HD HANDHELD CAMCORDERS

LAS VEGAS, NV (April 15, 2012) — Panasonic has announced the AG-AC160A and AG-AC130A, upgraded versions of its newest professional AVCCAM HD camcorders. Improved functionality in both camcorders includes expanded focus assist and “turbo speed” one-push auto focus function; the AC160A also incorporates acquisition in the 1080/60p and 1080/50p HD recording formats (in new PS mode).

In addition to conventional focus-in-red assist, the expanded focus assist enables the AC160A and AC130A to zoom in on the picture to check focus. The turbo-speed one-push auto focus capability ensures that the camcorders quickly attain focus. The addition of 1080/60p and 50p recording (maximum 28Mbps in PS mode) to the AC160A is of especial value to worldwide customers in broadcasting, sports and scientific analysis, where this mastering-quality format is rapidly proliferating.

The AG-AC160A and AG-AC130A will be available in May at suggested list prices of $5,095.00 and $4,195.00, respectively. Current AC160 and AC130 owners can purchase this suite of upgrades for $300.
The 60p/50p upgrade is free and can be performed by the customer. The turbo-speed one-push auto focus and expanded focus assist upgrades require a hardware change and this need to be done at a Panasonic Authorized Service Center.

The AC160A and AC130A incorporate high-sensitivity 1/3”, full-HD 2.2 megapixel 3-MOS imagers to capture native 1920 x 1080 resolution images, with a new, wider 22X HD zoom lens, the longest in its category. Key features include two SD Memory Card slots for relay or simultaneous recording, compatibility with Panasonic’s new SDHC full Class 10 UHS-1 (Ultra High Speed) Memory Cards, an enhanced viewfinder and LCD display, and DV recording. The higher-end AC160A also includes such top production features as variable frame rate recording in 1080p, Linear PCM audio, HD-SDI output, and switchability between 59.94Hz/50Hz.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 10:59 PM   #2
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Re: AC130/AC160 Upgrades announced at NAB 2012

Quote:
The 60p/50p upgrade is free and can be performed by the customer.
This is good news!!

Quote:
The addition of 1080/60p and 50p recording (maximum 28Mbps in PS mode) to the AC160A
That is just what I was hoping for - higher bitrate, 1080/60p.. looking forward to this update.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:14 AM   #3
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Re: AC130/AC160 Upgrades announced at NAB 2012

Hi Ed

Just bear in mind that upgrading from a 130/160 to the "A" version involves a hardware change PLUS apart from sending in your camera you also have to shell out a cool $300 upgrade free to come up to the "A" specs.

Chris
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:58 AM   #4
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Re: AC130/AC160 Upgrades announced at NAB 2012

If you read the article carefully, there are two parts to the upgrade.

Part 1 (my term) is an upgrade to the focus system that adds the fast or 'turbo' focus mode, as well as an enhanced focus assist.

Part 2 is the upgraded 1080/60p capture and 'PS' mode with 28Mb/s capture.

The announcement specifies that the 1080p mode is a 'free' upgrade that requires software only, while the focus assist upgrade requires hardware and a $300 charge, and shipping the camera to an authorized service center.

I'd like to find out more about the focus assist system before I jump on that part, but the 1080p mode is a nice addition.

Also, the suggested retail price for the 'A' model 160 is north of $5K. IIRC, this is perhaps $400 more than the MSRP for the current model, although BHP has a much better out the door cost... so, by my calculations, it's still probably a decent deal to get the 'A' model upgrade, at least at some point down the road.

Cheers,

Ed
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Old April 17th, 2012, 06:51 AM   #5
 
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Re: AC130/AC160 Upgrades announced at NAB 2012

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Ed

Just bear in mind that upgrading from a 130/160 to the "A" version involves a hardware change PLUS apart from sending in your camera you also have to shell out a cool $300 upgrade free to come up to the "A" specs.

Chris
Bit of a cheek to ask fr $300 on top of $5000 spent on the camera that should have had this in the first place.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 07:12 AM   #6
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Re: AC130/AC160 Upgrades announced at NAB 2012

Hi Ed

My error..yes the firmware upgrade will be a free one and it won't be necessary to send the cam in either!!

What I did to make focussing easier (check the either threads here) is put a loupe over the LCD and put the cameras on a simple aluminium frame...I just cannot focus at all with the tiny 1/2" LCD (Ok it's razor sharp but you still have a very small picture!! Instead of having to switch in an enhanced focus (the new hardware upgrade) My 3X loupe over a 4" LCD gives me a huge image and it's really easy to nail focus and you have the big image all the time too!!! The camera's LCD is amazingly sharp even without any magnification!!

Jalan??? It's not compulsory!! The enhanced focus is just an add-on ..I'm not getting mine done at all!!
My mods above work way better!!!

Chris
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Old April 17th, 2012, 07:28 AM   #7
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Re: AC130/AC160 Upgrades announced at NAB 2012

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Originally Posted by Jalan Salur View Post
Bit of a cheek to ask fr $300 on top of $5000 spent on the camera that should have had this in the first place.
Panasonic has a history of making their popular camera's even better, like they did with the dvx, dvx a and dvx b, so good for them to listen to their clients and then I don't mind paying extra for anything better but I agree that this autofocus "malfunction" should have been addressed before the camera hit the market, especially since it has not been available that long. It is understandable though that this can't be a free upgrade as it seems to require hardware changes.

If I would decide to get a ag ac 130/160 I wouldn't mind getting the "older" model and spend what I save on accesoires.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 08:50 AM   #8
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Re: AC130/AC160 Upgrades announced at NAB 2012

Hi Noa

According to the "blurb" it says absolutely nothing about making the autofocus better!! It is to provide a focus assist enhance feature ... zooms the centre of the image (my HMC80's actually had that!!) and also make the push to focus button react quicker...it says nothing about the autofocus working better at high zooms OR (what I found) the autofocus hunting with a fixed camera position and fixed subject position.

As already mentioned I don't need the image made bigger so I won't do the mod... did you know that in our region (PAL) you can get the AC-120???? It's identical to the AC-130 but has no EVF ..only an LCD and it comes without a battery but is a lot cheaper!!!

Chris
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Old April 17th, 2012, 09:01 AM   #9
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Re: AC130/AC160 Upgrades announced at NAB 2012

Yes, it looks like the autofocus has not been approved, but the focussing aids have. Panasonics quick update does show that they toke the complaints seriously enough to make the update. And yes, I saw that there's a 120 too, only not for sale, yet, in my country. I didn't know though that the battery was not included either, it all depends on the price difference because original batteries don't come cheap either. For me a viewfinder is important, most of the time I work with the lcd but when handheld I always look through the viewfinder, just to add an extra supporting point to increase stability. The 120 does look like a great b-cam to a 130.

Last edited by Noa Put; April 17th, 2012 at 01:28 PM. Reason: typo
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