Panasonic's next generation 4K product is delayed until the AVC Ultra codec comes to market next year, writes Adrian Pennington. "[The time] has given us an opportunity to sit back and think very seriously about the future of cameras and our strategy," said Rob Tarrant, European product manager. "Everyone is talking about 4K so we are gathering feedback from our customers about exactly what they want because when you dig into 4K you realise that there are many different variants. There is a 4K JVC camcorder at one end and cameras at the top end like the Sony F65 and differences in trade-off between resolution and dynamic range. Anyone can do a 4K camera so we are now asking what's next, what is the next big leap?" To generate feedback Panasonic was trailing the idea of a 4K version of Varicam using the AVC Ultra code which at its top range is claimed to achieve 4K 4:4:4 12 bit. "Essentially the camera will have a cinema sixed sensor and have a modular design so you are able to have just the camera section or a camera section with an IO port, or a camera section with recorder and I/O so it becomes a camcorder. Modular means it can be built up, or you can add features to it One clue to this philosophy lies in the new AG-HPX600 camera which is the first in a new series of P2 units. "The camera has been designed from the ground-up as modular, upgradeable camera. For example, when AVC Ultra comes out the camera will accept the new codec. Our approach is to produce a basic platform of cameras that you can mould and change to your needs." The HPX600 weighs 7lb, so it is a lightweight choice for shoulder mount work and sports a 2/3 CMOS sensor, and is capable of recording by proxy currently in a 10-bit, 4:2:2 AVC-Intra format. It will cost a sizeable $16,000 and will use a new storage format, microP2, which is similar in design to that of an SD card but optimized for the specific uses of high-level camcorders. Panasonic also previewed a concept model of a 20-inch 4K monitor (titled 4K 2K IPS Alpha) which is 3.5mm thick and dubbed the world's highest resolution and thinnest. "This is ideally suited to production and a lovely companion to 4K cameras," said Tarrant. "There is no shipping date but it is imminent. It is in the final stages of development." MicroP2 details The new series of 64GB and 32GB microP2 cards will be simultaneously introduced with an Adaptor so that microP2 cards will operate in current P2 hardware. "Since introducing this solid-state recording format nearly a decade ago, Panasonic has continued to make improvements to P2," said John Baisley, executive VP, PSCNA. "The development of the microP2 card brings additional innovation to the owners of the more than 250,000 P2 products in use worldwide." The microP2 media and microP2 Card Adaptor will be available in spring 2013. C201LMRC3607
Panasonic's next generation 4K product is delayed until the AVC Ultra codec comes to market next year, writes Adrian Pennington. To generate feedback Panasonic was trailing the idea of a 4K version of Varicam using the AVC Ultra code.