Why is it taking so long to produce the review of the new Panasonic AF160…Simple…I live in Scotland, the land of the rain. I kid you not this part of the world is like monsoon season at the moment plus I have had some paying work in-between so I am afraid it’s not been easy putting together a review of the AC160.
I found myself filming my local fox this morning a wee soul that lives beside us in some spare land the picture below was taken earlier this year with her new cubs. The AC160 has a fantastic 22x lens and amazingly has a digital zoom that’s worth its weight in gold.
Filming the fox I found myself playing with the digital zoom which just happens to be on USER preset No 2, the downside is that you only seem to be able to toggle from 2, 5, 10 and off which is a pain as 5 and 10x are not as usable as 2x.
This would be a great wild life camcorder as the 2x digital zoom is very usable and at 44x you are getting a cracking very un-digitised picture, the OIS is not as good as the steady shot seen on the likes of the Sony NX70.
Low light is better than I was expecting from a 1/3″ camcorder but I will be doing some further low light testing this week. The weight of the camcorder is very illusive as it looks a lot heavier than it actually is.
Although it seemingly has a variable frame rate I have chosen to record my footage at 720 50p because it does not film at 1080 50p unless you are willing to forgo sound.
I have tried simultaneous recording onto both SDHC cards and I have also used the syncro scan feature with great success, this very useful feature is badly missing from both the Sony FS100 and the NX70.
UPDATE : Shot footage at 9dBs this evening in a dark pub setting and I was very impressed with the footage viewed on a 50″ plasma TV. The phantom power switches are very small and a tad on the fiddly side for my liking.
Unlike the NX70 although this camera has a 2 stop reduction in light from wide to tight, filming outside this evening you were not as aware of that loss of light that is very apparent on the NX70 and the 160 has twice the zoom ratio !
Outside daylight footage is excellent and reviewing the 2x digital zoom is very impressive the 1st camcorder NOT to look digitally enhanced when using a digital zoom. (Note. using 2x only).
Auto focus struggles sometimes in poor lighting conditions…no more than the competition to be fair to the 160.
My friend Alister and I will be compairing the Panasonic AC160 alongside the Sony NX5 this weekend using a Panasonic vision mixer and both camcorders plugged via HD SDI.
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