Panasonic's AG-HPX250 P2 camcorder has been approved by the BBC for HD production, writes David Fox.
It is named in the HD Handheld category, a list that comprises only five cameras. Of these, the HPX250 is one of three that are authorised for on-board capture, rather than depending on an external recorder.
Weighing 2.5kg, the compact HPX250 has a 22x zoom lens, three 1/3-inch sensors and records 1920x1080 10-bit 4:2:2 video, using the AVC-Intra codec up-to 100Mbps on P2 cards.
"For news gathering and documentary work, the HPX250's long lens and low light performance will be a great asset. Its over- and under-cranking versatility and native 24p shooting mode will also make it an effective tool for creative producers," said Richard Payne, Technical Development Manager of Holdan - Panasonic's distributor.
It costs about £4,500, and with no need for expenditure on additional recording devices (unlike Sony's EX1 and EX3), it rivals Canon's XF300/XF305 cameras as the most affordable way of producing HD to the technical standard required by the BBC. However, as both camcorders have 1/3-inch sensors they may not meet the HD requirements of other broadcasters, such as Sky, that require at least 1/2-inch sensors.