Panasonic AG-AF100A Professional Camcorder Review
With a Solid state design, a 4/3″ Sensor, 4:2:2 Recording abilities, 20 Variable Frame rates and Dual workflow SDXC Card Compatibility, this camcorder is a solid choice for video professionals and video amateurs.
Let’s look at a Breakdown of some of the features and benefits of this Camcorder:
Key Panasonic AF-100A Benefits
- 4/3″ image processing chip – many professional camcorders come with 1/3″ or 1/4″ sized chips, this comes with a 4/3″ chip (1.33″). In the world of PC’s the Faster the Processor Chip(s) the better, in the world of camcorders, the larger the image chips, the better
- Uncompressed 4:2:2 8 bit Recordings – A higher color sampling rate than most AVCHD, DV, and HDV camcorder systems giving sharper focus to the system
- Built in optical neutral density filters 2 stops, 4 stops, 6 stops which allows you to adjust the intensity of the color of an image 3 different ways without external filters – great for high light and low light settings
- 20 Variable frame rates for fast or slow motion work, high resolution variable at 1080p in 20 steps from 12-60 frames – Great for Slow motion affects and Fast Action Scenes being slowed down for effect.
- HD-SDI output – A common standard in broadcast studios for video and audio services to all connect back to a central board
- NTSD / PAL switchable Recording which makes this camcorder usable in just about anywhere in the world
- Compatible with SDHC and SDXC Media – With Media Capacity at 128 GB in a single SDXC card (as of this writing) you can record for nearly 24 hours in High quality PH mode without changing digital cards
- Shallow depth of field and wider field of vision – Allowing you to capture better close up shots and better open room shots by having a more zoomed out perspective of the entire room compared to other cameras
- Interchangeable Lens Abilities with Most DSLR Cameras with a commonly available adapter.
- Full range of controls that a video professional relies on: exposure, configurable zebra controls for over exposure checking, a vectorscope and a waveform monitor for adjusting color and brightness accuracy
- Rapid Focus Assist – Allowing near instantaneous Auto Focusing on the object in your shot
- Packaged with the AF100 book by Barry Green – great for learning all the technical details of this camcorder
- 2 Professional XLR audio inputs, Line/Mic select able with phantom power and full manual audio control with the ability to disable all audio gain
- Small size and low weight allows it to be mounted on sliders, stabilizers, glide cams, and dollies
- Six built-in scene files for tagging and setting different groups of settings, which can than be coordinated between multiple cameras
- Built in Gamma Curves including HD Norm, HD Low and High, Cine-like D, Cine-like V, B. Stretch
- 2 card slots that support continuous (relay) recording. Relay recording means that with 2 32 GB SDHC Cards you can record for 6 hours with automatic clip spanning across 2 cards
- HDMI Out
- SDXC Card compatibility, 64 GB SDXC Card records for 12 hours in PH mode, 48 hours in HG mode
- Time-code and time-code synchronizing
When I first started testing and using professional video camcorders, at first it seemed like all camcorders were basically the same, with a simple auto interface, and a handful of manual controls. After filming weddings in bright sunlight, pouring rain, filming in near pitch black reception halls, and other challenging scenarios, the differences between camcorders are very clear. Here is some sample footage from YouTube taken with this camcorder.
Sample AG-AF100A Video Footage
Ag-AF100A Camcorder Pro’s
- 4/3″ large Chip Size
- Redundant SDXC Recording Card Capabilities
- Many Shooting Mode Options
- 8 Bid HD-SDI Workflow that integrates well into most production studio environments
- Interchangeable / Universal Lens Compatibility with nearly any DSLR Lens on the Market
- Uncompressed 4:2:2 Video Recording
- PAL / NTSC Compatible for world wide compatibility in filming and production
AG-AF100A Camcorder Cons
- No Included Lens By Default
- No Dual Shooting Mode Abilities with HDV and AVCHD formats
- Expensive Retail Camcorder Price of $4595.00 but discounted on Amazon (check current price)
The Panasonic AG-AF100A is a lightweight Professional Grade Camcorder that when combined with a high quality lens, could be used very effectively for shooting independent films, nightly news broadcasts for TV Stations, and Wide sweeping Shots when mounted on a Camera Crane. The Camcorder comes with a 4/3″ Sensor, Dual SDXC Card Recording Uncompressed 4:2:2 Video Footage. The downsides to this camcorder the lack of an included lens, no dual compatible formats and an expensive up front price of over $4000. If you are a part of a TV Production Crew and you looking for a professional grade camcorder with many versatile shooting options, then the AG-Af100A may be right for you.