The new Panasonic AG-DVX200 is a sub-$5,000 4K compact camcorder that offers up to Ultra HD 50/60p recording, and a V-Log L gamma curve (with 12-stops of dynamic range - which doesn’t compare favourably to the new Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K, which has 15 stops for about the same price - or even the cheaper 4K Ursa Mini, which has 13 stops).
The DVX200 is the spiritual successor to the fondly remembered DVX100, although far more stylish, with its carbon fibre and crimson trim, than the old timer, and is designed for handheld, run and gun use.
It has a large(ish) MOS sensor, at 4/3-inch, which will allow for a fairly shallow depth of field, and Panasonic is touting it as “the ideal companion camera to the company’s groundbreaking VariCam 35 4K camera/recorder.” If it does appeal to former DVX100 users, it is more likely to find itself in the hands of event videographers and low-budget filmmakers. It does, however, share the VariCam family characteristics of filmic tonality and colourimetry, boasting natural, subtle rendering of skin flesh tones, while the V-Log curve emulates the natural grey-scale rendition of the VariCam 35. It can also do variable frame rate recording, at up to 120 frames per second in HD.
It includes a newly designed Leica Dicomar 13x f/2.8-4.5 optical zoom lens (28mm - 365mm in 35mm equivalent for HD use or 29.5mm - 385mm in 4K mode), which has separate manual zoom, focus, and aperture rings. The zoom control on the handle enables variable speed zoom, allowing fine zoom control even for low angle shots. The DVX200 also has enhanced optical image stabilization, including a five-axis Hybrid Image Stabilizer and 4x correction-area image stabilizer that is claimed to produce clear images without blurring, and a micro-drive focus unit that improves focus speed, tracking and capture performance, facilitating 4K focusing and shallow focus shooting.
Other features include: timecode in/out, 3G HD-SDI and HDMI 2.0 (4K) video outputs, and programmable user buttons. It has a viewfinder at the back, and a very neatly hidden pull-out LCD screen in the handle behind the stereo microphone.
The DVX200 will record 4K (4096x2160) at 24p, or Ultra HD (3840x2160) and HD (1920x1080) at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p in either MP4 or MOV file formats. There are two SD card slots, for backup or relay recording.
The Panasonic AG-DVX200 should be available in September.
By David Fox