Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


This is a blog produced by Kunihiko Miyagi who is the Director of Pro Video at Panasonic and gives a pleasant insight into a forthcoming firmware upgrade due out next year for the 160 camcorder.
It has now been over two months since we started shipping our new handheld series of cameras, the P2 HPX250 and AVCCAM AC160 and AC130. So far, we have sold many more than planned, and are scrambling to keep up with production.I am so happy that users have quickly become so enamored with these cameras. I’ve also been extremely curious about what people have been saying after using these products, so have been closely watching the web for information about “the handheld brothers” since their release.
I am really happy to hear all the comments praising the cameras, and feel that I have to listen honestly to the criticisms that have also appeared. There have been many positives and some negatives mentioned, but I would like to focus on just a few of each:
Some Positives
-The cameras are large, but they are light and well-balanced, so long duration shooting is not a problem
-The 22X zoom is great, and the 2X digital zoom is also very usable Some Negatives
The location of the time stamp on the AC130 and AC160 is too high. 
Our intention was to make sure that the display information (OSD) didn’t overlap with the time stamp, but the end result is that the time stamp is too far to the center of the screen, interfering with the subjects being recorded. We are currently working on a way to fix this. Specialized tools are needed to adjust this, so it is something that will have to be done at a service center. The details for how to get this upgrade performed in your region will be made available by your local service department at a later date.-Some claims that the autofocus is slow (especially on the tele end)
Autofocus algorithms are designed to balance the following elements:

  • Movement distance of lens mechanisms
  • Focus speed
  • “Hunting” around the focal point

For professional use cameras, reduced hunting and smooth movement during zoom operation is very important, which is why it may seem that the AF is slow.
Especially, with this new, industry best 22X zoom lens being used, it may feel especially slow on the tele end. A way to cope, and quickly get focus is to use the PUSH AUTO button, while in auto focus mode. Please experiment with this technique.

-Finally, although there have been no complaints to speak of, during development many people told us that they wanted to shoot in Full HD progressive (AVCHD Progressive standard), or 1080/60p, 1080/50p. We wanted to be able to include this in the new cameras, but were not able to do so in time for their launch. We are now working hard to make this feature available for the AC160 through a free firmware upgrade by next spring. Those of you who expect to need to shoot in Full HD Progressive in the future can go ahead and purchase an AC160 today without worry.

At Panasonic, we want to opinions and ideas from all our customers and potential customers. Please let us know what you think about this or any other issues via our websitefacebook, or twitter.


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.

3 thoughts on “Update on the Three Brothers (Panasonic 130, 160 & 250)

  1. So Phil, do you now consider this camcorder (AC160) a good option with the add of the 1080/50p recording? Do think Sony will respond with a better camcorder before NAB 2012?

  2. I’ve been using this cam for just over a month and I’m impressed.The 50p upgrade is welcome but for normal motion, 1080/50i looks pretty good to me !!

  3. First of all Sony has to change from MPEG2 into MPEG4 because there is no profile for p50 in MPEG2

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