Panasonic announces 1080p HD pro camcorder under 2.2 lbs.

Panasonic has announced a new member of its professional AVCCAM line with the introduction of a more compact, lighter handheld camcorder: the AG-HMC40.Weighing less than 2.

Panasonic has announced a new member of its professional AVCCAM line with the introduction of a more compact, lighter handheld camcorder: the AG-HMC40.

Weighing less than 2.2 pounds, the AVCHD format AG-HMC40 boasts pro features such as full HD 3MOS imagers, high-resolution 10.6-megapixel still photo capture, 12X optical zoom and high-quality, solid-state AVCHD recording on widely-available SD cards.

The HMC40 uses MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 high profile encoding, and the camcorder features a full resolution 2-megapixel, 1/4.1-inch 3MOS imager that produces 1920x1080 HD images. (It also captures 10.6 megapixel still images directly onto the SD card as JPEG).

The camcorder offers a 12X optical zoom, Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS) that helps compensate for wide variations in lighting, and "a Cine-Like Gamma mode which gives recordings a more film-like aesthetic." Groovy.

The HD camcorder records in PH mode (average 21 Mbps/Max 24Mbps), HA mode (approx.17 Mbps), HG mode (approx.13 Mbps) and the extended recording HE mode (approx. 6 Mbps). It supports 1080/59.94i (in all modes) and 1080/29.97p, 1080/23.98p native, 720/59.94p, 720/20.97p, and 720/23.98p native (in PH mode only).

The user can record three hours of full resolution 1920x1080 video and audio in PH mode, four hours at HA mode and 5.3 hours at HG mode using a 32GB SDHC memory card. (In the HE mode, the camera can record up to 12 hours of 1440x1080 HD content on the card.)

The HMC40 comes with HDMI output, USB 2.0 (mini B-type devices), composite output (AV multi/ch1, ch2), analog component (mini-D), detachable XLR audio input and audio REC level adjustment dials. It has a 2.7-inch LCD screen.

More features:

  • waveform monitor display
  • focus assists such as focus bar display and enlarged display
  • time date stamp
  • user assignable focus ring
  • auto focus with face detection
  • zebra display
  • synchro-scan shutter function
  • three programmable user buttons
  • time code/UB recording
  • remote control terminal (for zoom, focus, aperture, REC start/stop controls)

The HMC40 will be available in August for a hefty, but relatively low-cost (it is a pro model after all), $3,195.