First Look: Panasonic HC-X1 4K

What comes with a Leica Dicomar 24mm wide lens, 20x optical zoom, a 1” high sensitivity MOS sensor, not one, not two but three manual rings, built in ND filters, shoots in glorious 4K to twin SD cards and is under 5 grand?

It’s the new Panasonic HC-X1 and we have one here to play with at Chez Auscam.

We’ll do a detailed overview later, but for now, here is our first impressions.

And summed up in a word, it is WOW!

The X1 (we love the name too) has a bunch of features taking it to the next level, one of these being multi-function recording in Cinema 4K at 24p, 4K at 50p/60 or full HD at 50p/60p.

This comes from the brilliant new 1” sensor and allied with a specially designed Leica lens that utilizes a 4 drive system to control each of the four lens groups, you not only get excellent imagery but also a surprisingly compact body weighing only 2Kg for a camera of this functionality

This makes the X1 ideal for run and gun field work, or for sport shooting.

Other really nice touches include a micro drive focus unit offering customised AF functions for speed, tracking sensitivity and area width [lus a 5-axis hybrid optical image stabilisation system.

Technical

If you want to get into the nitty gritty of the technical aspects of the HC-X1, here are just a few of the more pertinent ones:

  • Focal Length: 8.8mm – 176mm
  • F Value: F2.8 – F4.5 (35mm equivalent is 25.4-508mm)
  • Minimum Illumination: 0.2lux
  • ND filters: ¼, 1/16, 1/64
  • Manual Ring: Focus / Zoom / Iris
  • Audio Input: Twin XLR
  • Output: HDMI / Audio / Headphone / Speaker / Camera Remote (x2) / USB 3.0
  • Standard Accessories: Twin Battery Charger, Battery, Mic Holder, Lens Hood, Eye Cup, Terminal Cap

Ergonomics

The Panasonic engineers have got together and had a serious think it appears on just how to lay out the multitude of switches, knobs and rings on the HC-X1. The result is nothing I can see as drastically new, just lots of logic imposed as to where things should be and how easy they are to reach when the camera is in operation.

Sure, like any other sophisticated camcorder, you need to learn the camera first to get the best out of it, but in the case of the X1, the controls are all logically placed so you are not hunting all over the place at a critical moment.

Similarly, the menu system is also well laid out and, hallelujah (although Panasonic has always done this) the box comes with a proper paper manual you can keep in the camera case.

Conclusion

On paper, this is one hell of a camcorder. The proof as they say, is in the pudding and over the next few days we’ll put the HC-X1 through its paces and report back.

But we have a very good feeling about this …

For more info now though, go to the Panasonic website

 

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