September 09, 2010

New Panasonic AF100/AF101(updated)

At IBC Panasonic is showing engineering samples of its new AF101 Micro Four Thirds-based camcorder (aka the AF100 in the US).

What's the big deal? Well, it is the DSLR spoiler.... and this is the first time we've seen it as a working model, we were told that the anti-aliasing technology they are developing to give it a significant edge over HD DSLRs isn't finished yet, so any opinions you might see about the pictures won't be the final word. Street price is likely to be under £4,000, so it should attract a lot of interest.

It is quite a boxy shape. Definitely not like a DSLR or the Sony Handycam NEX-VG10, but should fit into DSLR rigs or work like a conventional camcorder.

[UPDATE: Now we've had a chance to see the pictures it can produce, we're even more impressed. Someone from Panasonic in Germany shot a performance/theatre piece, with lots of nice shallow depth of field, and not a lot to trouble the codec. But, the pictures looked very filmic, there was no video harshness, the colours appeared to be very accurate. It was restrained, not flat, but not in your face. More interestingly, they'd given the camera to the ebullient Barry Green, of, who had tried it on some of the pictures that normally cause aliasing on DSLRs, repeating patterns such as roof tiles and brickwork, and we didn't notice any aliasing at all - and on a big screen we would have. Although recording 24Mbps AVCHD does involve a lot of compression, the pictures stood up very well. Certainly, with the advantage of the AF101's HD-SDI output, being able to record to the Convergent Design nanoFlash, AJA's new Ki Pro Mini or Panasonic's own external AVC-I recorders, means that the codec choice shouldn't be a worry - just that you'll have to spend more on the extra recorder.]

[UPDATE AGAIN: We now have video - Panasonic AF100 / AF101 - the movie]

[FURTHER UPDATE: The new AF100A/AF101A can record up to 28Mbps internally and output 10-bit 4:2:2 via HD-SDI to an external recorder]

Key Specifications:

  • Micro 4/3-inch camcorder MOS sensor
  • Full 1080/720 - 60i, 50i, 30p 25p 24p
  • AVCHD 24Mbps
  • Variable frame rates
  • 2 XLR inputs with phantom power
  • SD cards
  • Shipping end of 2010

Panasonic were still building the stand so, they didn't have a lot of time to talk. Plus, apologies for the dark pictures but the stand wasn't lit. Hopefully during the show I'll get a chance to get a few well lit shots and some hands-on time with the camera.

We've previously written about the Panasonic AF100/AF101.  Plus, it has its own Panasonic micro site .

By Christina Fox


  1. Does this camera come with a factory lens? At $4000, it doesn't sound like it.

  2. 24Mb AVCHD is not going to put a dent in the HDSLR biz. Now if it shot a pro codec it would be revolutionary!

  3. @Mikel The article says under 4,000 pounds. They've estimated the cost at around $6,000 U.S. From what I've heard it should come with a factory lens...

  4. Sorry, no factory lens, I was mistaken.

  5. @Lance
    What "pro codec" do the HDSLR cameras have now? None that I know of. I think Panasonics AVCHD codec is a little better than the consumer one from what I've heard.

  6. Rich, i think that was Lance's point.

  7. AVCHD at 24Mbps can produce very nice pictures (especially if you don't push it too hard with lots of fine detail or fast motion) - which is what we saw in the pictures shown from the AF100 / AF101 at IBC, which looked great. The main problem with shooting at 24Mbps is that if you want to then broadcast those pictures, they have to go through further compression, and that causes problems. This is why having a non-compressed HD-SDI or HDMI output is so useful, because you can record in higher bitrates to ProRes or some other format...