Panasonic has revealed its latest action camera in the form of the compact and wearable HX-A1. Decidedly less quirky than the 4K-toting HX-A500 it launched last year, the new model does away with the cable-connected screen and recording unit in favor of a self-contained cylindrical device. The tough compact body houses everything it needs to record Full HD point-of-view footage.
Measuring 83.1 mm long with a maximum 26 mm diameter (3.27 x 1.02 in) and weighing 45 g (1.6 oz) the HX-A1 will be one of the smaller action cameras out there. The shape arguably also makes it more aerodynamic and better for mounting as a wearable than rectangular devices like the GoPro. Tough credentials see the camera waterproof to 1.5 m (5 ft) without the need for an external housing, shockproof from a height of 1.5 m (5 ft), freeze-proof down to -10°C (14°F) and dust-proof.
Inside there's a 1/3-inch effective 2.8-megapixel MOS sensor which is paired with a 2.6-mm F2.8 lens to give a view of around 19-mm equivalent. Recording to a microSD card, the HX-A1 can shoot Full HD 1080p video at 30 frames per second (fps), and HD 720p footage at 60 fps. Slow-motion 848 x 480 footage can be recorded at 120 fps, and there is also a loop recording mode. The camera can also shoot 2.7-megapixel JPEG stills.
Another interesting feature of the HX-A1 is a new "0 Lux Night Mode" which lets you record footage in total darkness. Using an external infrared (IR) light source and an IR filter (included with the HX-A1) this mode lets users capture video in very dark situations, such as exploring caves with no light or filming wildlife in the depths of a forest.
The camera is controlled via three buttons on the top, and while it lacks the sort of connected external screen we saw with the HX-A500, built-in Wi-Fi means that users can check the angle of shots, or review footage on their smartphone. The Panasonic Image app also allows sharing direct to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Flickr.
The Wi-Fi abilities of the HX-A1 mean it can also be used in conjunction with some of Panasonic’s 2015 camcorder range as a wireless twin camera. This allows the footage of the two cameras to be easily merged with one displayed in a sub-window, and could be used to simultaneously show a POV shot at the same time as other footage. The HX-A1 can also be connected to a computer via USB and used as a webcam.
The Panasonic HX-A1 will come bundled with Multi-use and Tripod mounts, with a range of optional mounts also available. These include the usual head, suction cup, and handlebar offerings, but also an interesting twin mount which can hold two cameras, for shooting in opposite directions, or a camera and an infrared light. An extended battery (which also makes the camera physically longer) allows for around 2 hours and 45 minutes of Full HD recording.
The Panasonic HX-A1 will be available from June in black or orange, priced at US$200.
You can check out the HX-A1 in action in the promo video below.
Product page: Panasonic HX-A1