Panasonic has used the spotlight of IFA to reveal its latest pro-focused 4K camcorder. The HC-X1 is a handheld device targeted at professional videographers, and one which could mean they don't have to keep reaching for a wide conversion lens. That's because it features a 24-mm 20x zoom lens which is said to be the industry's widest.
The Leica Dicomar 4K lens is the undeniable headline attraction of the HC-X1. While the wide angle 24-mm end of the zoom may be the attention grabber, it's no slouch at the telephoto end either, and will zoom in to give a 480-mm equivalent view. This wide range should mean most users don't need the usual wide conversion lens.
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The HC-X1 also offers a 4-Drive Lens System, which manages its four lens groups simultaneously and independently to optimize image quality and zoom power, while keeping the size relatively small. Built-in optical image stabilization detects and corrects five axes, including the roll rotation, and is said to be better at stabilizing the handheld low- and high-angle shots pros often find themselves shooting at.
Behind that lens there's a 1-inch-type MOS sensor, which can record 4K (4096 x 2160) footage at 24 fps (frames per second), UHD (3840 x 2160) footage at 60/50 fps, or Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 60/50 fps. Dual codec recording is also possible, and HD footage at 120/100 fps can be used for creating a slow-motion effect. International shooters will be pleased with the ability to set the frequency at 59.94 Hz, 50.00 Hz or 24.00 Hz, and record in MOV (QuickTime), MP4 and AVCHD file formats.
The focusing skills of the HC-X1 should be up there thanks to a Micro Drive Focus Unit. This not only enables accurate autofocusing, but also the ability to adjust the speed and tracking sensitivity. There are also a number of focus assist functions to support quick and accurate manual focusing, which pros will often use.
Design and interface wise, the HC-X1 has very much been designed with professional videographers in mind. For example, the lens barrel features rings for zoom, focus and iris operations, and there are no less than 13 user buttons which can be programmed for quick access to commonly used functions.
There's a 3.5-inch type monitor built into the handle section of the camcorder, which can be pulled out and then rotated up to 270 degrees in the vertical direction for high-angle, low-angle and even selfie shooting. A high-resolution 1,769,000-dot OLED electronic viewfinder is also on hand, and is said to offer superb color reproduction.
The Panasonic HC-X1 shoots to two SD cards (either continuously or simultaneously) and has the sort of broadcast-grade camera image adjustment functions you would expect for this type of device. Audio should be just as good as video thanks to two channels of XLR audio input and high quality recording with a 16-bit linear PCM system (MOV/MP4), or a Dolby Digital system (AVCHD).
There's no word yet on price, but in the meantime you can check out a promo video for the Panasonic HC-X1 below.
Product page: Panasonic HC-X1