January 11, 2011

Full 50p + 60p AVCHD at 28Mbps

Panasonic is replacing its 700-series cameras (the first camcorders to record 1080/50p - or 60p for NTSC countries - using AVCHD at 28Mbps) with the 900 series. These upgraded models have larger LCDs and can be fitted with a 3D conversion lens (allowing 3D recording – using the lower-resolution side-by-side format at 960x1080 per side - similar to the existing SDT750).

The images from the three CMOS sensors used by the 700 series delivered nice looking pictures (we've used one for some of our videos - such as this Panasonic AF100/AF101 interview) and the new models should be equally useful. However, editing the 50/60p video isn't particularly simple with most broadcast editing systems such as Final Cut Pro, as 28Mbps is not yet part of the AVCHD standard.

Panasonic's new TM900 and HS900 1080/50p camcorders have three CMOS sensors, record AVCHD at 28Mbps, have 3.5-inch touch screens, a manual control ring, 20x f1.5 zoom lens, and can record 3D with the addition of a 3D conversion lens.

Panasonic is also extending 50/60p recording to single sensor camcorders, the TM90 and SD90, with 28mm 21x zoom lenses that can also be converted to 3D. Other manufacturers have also announced their own 50/60p models, which hopefully should hasten its introduction in any NLE upgrades.

Sony extends to 28Mbps

Sony has adopted 50p and 60p 28Mbps HD recording with its $1,300 HDR-CX700VE, which will be available in March, and should lend more impetus to the AVCHD standard being extended to include 28Mbps recording (both Sony and Panasonic are part of the AVCHD consortium) - although it is currently unclear if the both manufacturers are using exactly the same codec.

The CX700 might be a useful small camera to have, as it can also do 24p or 25p (recording at 24Mbps compared to the 17Mbps on the Panasonic cameras). It comes with some professional features, such as Expanded Focus, Zebra and Peaking, as well as CinemaTone Gamma and CinemaTone Color presets. It also delivers a reasonably wide-angle image (26.3mm as a 35mm equivalent) and has 96GB flash memory and a GPS receiver built in. Sony built a more professional version of the CX700's predecessor, the CX550 (the HXR-MC50E), so perhaps there will be a version of the CX700 with, at least, improved audio.

Sony is also bringing out three lower-cost cameras shooting 1080 at 50/60p: the $450 HDR-CX130, $600 XR160 and $800 CX360.

All of its HD Handycam camcorders will also come with a new Tracking Focus feature, which maintains focus on moving objects. It is similar to Face Touch, where you can select a person in the frame to be prioritized, so you can now touch any subject in the shot, such as a dog or vehicle, to keep in focus. Just as face detection is now creeping in to professional camcorders, focus tracking will probably become widespread once it is proven.

Sony will also have new Handycam camcorders with projectors built into the front of the 3-inch LCD panel, allowing video to be projected at up to 60-inches (diagonally) when projected from 6m away, which could be useful when doing presentations.

Cyber-shot at 50p with 3D too

The Sony Cyber-shot TX100V is the world’s first compact digital stills camera to offer 1920x1080 video at 50p or 60p. It is also one of five new cameras that can shoot 3D stills with a single lens and sensor (the DSC-TX10 - pictured in use below right, DSC-HX7V, DSC-WX10 and DSC-WX7 record interlaced HD at 50i or 60i).

In the 3D Still Image mode, the camera takes two consecutive shots in different focus positions to calculate the depths, creating left-eye and right-eye images to produce a 3D effect. 3D images can also be captured using 3D Sweep Panorama mode, which takes panoramic pictures in one press-and-sweep motion – stitching the images together automatically to create 3D panoramas.

Related post: Sony's weather-proof HXR-NX70

By David Fox

No comments:

Post a Comment