The blog transition took some extra time and slowed down getting all the video I shot at the GV Expo to you, but here’s the hands-on walkaround with Panasonic’s AG-HMC70 on-shoulder AVCHD camcorder.
Panasonics own Steve Golub shows us many of the new camcorder’s interesting features and explains what really sets it apart from Panny’s little “pro” AVCHD camcorder I panned not too long ago…
I was impressed by how the HMC70 addresses many of the complaints I had about the little camcorder– especially how little it was. They added the headphones, external battery (and bigger batteries), manual controls, cold shoe for a light, plenty of space to mount a wireless receiver, and HD component out that doesn’t require a specialized cable. Nice.
One key feature that they did not change, and it’s the only reason I put the word “pro” in quotes (and did not say it IS a Pro camcorder) is that it still uses the same data rate as Panasonic’s consumer HDC-SD1 (13 Mbps) which is less than Sony’s consumer data rate (15 Mbps) and about HALF the allowable AVCHD data rate (24 Mbps) which means there were eleven, different, higher, megabit data rates that Panasonic chose not to use for their on-shoulder “pro” AVCHD camcorder. Boooo. Hissss.
Steve also mentions at the end that he wanted to get a “remote” connector (Panny’s version of Lanc or Control-L, which worked so beautifully with their now-discontinued AG-DVC30) but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Again; Boooo. Hissss.
Take away one of the cold shoes on top. Take away the extra zoom controller on the top handle. Take away the dedicated component outputs and use a tiny d-sub like everyone else. But give us a remote jack and bump up the data rate.
As Steve and I have “discussed” the “professionalism” of the handheld HSC1U on several occasions, you can understand his hesitation and then laughter around six and a half minutes, when he says…
“We are constantly trying to improve it.
It’s coming out in April.
So we still have time if… (pause and giggle)
…you have any suggestions. (laughter)”
Yea. I think I might have one or two.
But really, aside from the wonky “look” of the camcorder (Would black be any better? Maybe.) I think the HMC70 is what the HSC1U should have been from the outset. They can’t help that it was so obviously a quick reworking of the consumer camcorder.
But, in the end, that may turn out to be a blessing- the same batteries work in both. They will share the same image quality and “look” of the recorded video. So they will intercut together just as perfectly as Sony’s handheld PD150 and nearly identical on-shoulder DSR-250 did, and as well as the Z7 and S270 will.
Having small and large is a great tactical advantage because it lets one “main” camcorder record the master shot and (in the case of the Sony) 4 channels of audio. Then all the little cameras can be used as POV, crane, handheld and more. All without breaking the bank if you had to buy all identical big camcorders. And it will all cut together beautifully.
It’s a good time to be a videographer.
Now imagine if they took the AVCHD from the HDC-SD1 and put it in the powerfully tiny AG-DVC30. I mean, aside from going widescreen- change NOTHING about the camcorder. Keep the 16x optical zoom, big glass, easy grip, removable XLR accessory, massive LCD screen, nice viewfinder, silky lens control, user-customizable ring on the lens (iris, focus, zoom…), headphone jack, great image control…
…yea, took all that, put in a 24 Mbps AVCHD engine and two SD slots where the tape mechanism is so the data can cascade between cards (which can be removed while shooting for endless recording- little LED activity lights indicate reading or writing).
Dude, I would sell my HDV and be SO there.