Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

I had the pleasure of meeting an old pal Nigel Cliff from Holdan who distribute the new Panasonic AG-HMC81 camcorder. I had a play with the new camcorder, it was surprisingly good and looks a lot better in real life than the photographs I had seen of it. You get a lot of camera for your money, XLR plus phantom powering, HDMI output, full manual control of both channels of sound, the one thing that’s lacking is a gain switch. The gain is tied in with the exposure but we looked at some footage back and I kid you not 10dB of gain on a 50″ full HD television was as clean as a whistle.

This camcorder will be perfect for weddings, conferences and education.


A Tapeless Camera Recorder That Meets the Needs of Professional HD/SD Multi Format Recording. The  multi format AG-HMC81 records in both AVCHD (HD) and DV (SD) formats onto SD/SDHC memory card.

This tapeless camcorder features a 12x optical zoom lens, Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS), and a 1/4.1 inch, 3.05 mega pixel (approx. 2 mega pixel/effective image pixels), progressive 3MOS.

In HD mode, the AVCHD format has twice the compression efficiency of MPEG-2 for superb image quality.  Its exclusive PH mode allows exceptional quality recordings at a higher bit rate (max. 24 Mbps).  SD mode records AVI files using the popular DV compression method.  This file based system enables effective use of existing DV compatible nonlinear editing systems.

The AG-HMC81 also features a shoulder mount design that enables stable shooting, XLR audio input (with phantom microphone supprt), and a BNC component/composite image output terminal as standard equipment, for smooth compatibility with professional systems.


  • Stunning quality AVCHD recording to SDHC card at up to 1920 X 1080 50i or 25p
  • Standard Definition DV recording to SDHC card at 576 50i and 576 25p
  • User-assignable manual focus ring functions, for Focus/Iris/Zoom
  • XLR inputs with switches for mic/line, and +48V Phantom Power
  • Time code/UB recording
  • IEEE 1394 output in DV Mode
  • Pre-record – 3 seconds
  • Interval recording for time lapse
  • Shot marker and metadata capture
  • Wired remote control terminals for zoom, focus, iris, REC start/stop controls
  • 10 Megapixel Stills function
  • Three-year warranty program (One year + two year extension upon registration)

Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

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