Panasonic’s AG-AC7 Shoulder Mounted AVCHD Camcorder

Stephen Yagielowicz

Looking for a low-cost ($1,300), professional solid state camcorder suitable for adult video production and beyond?

Panasonic has you covered, with the release of its versatile AG-AC7PJ camcorder — boasting full HD (1920x1080) and SD (480i) recording on SDHC/SDXC media cards.

Boasting full HD (1920x1080) and SD (480i) recording on SDHC/SDXC media cards.

According to the company, the unit is highly compact and weighs less than 4 pounds — yet still offers multiple recording formats, a large grip and zoom lever, along with a wide-diameter manual focusing ring, said to provide smooth, precise operation. It also captures 2.1 megapixel still images (1920x1080 16:9); storing them as standard JPEGs on its internal SD card for flexible productions.

The AG-AC7PJ makes use of MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 high profile encoding, which Panasonic says doubles bandwidth efficiency and improves video performance compared to previous generation MPEG-2 compression based formats for clean, crisp recordings; without image degradation or dropouts.

The company notes that the camcorder’s AVCHD video recordings and still photos can be directly played back from an SD card on a wide range of platforms, including Blu-ray players, laptop PCs and advanced game consoles.

The AG-AC7PJ can capture video at up to 17 Mbps (HA mode), storing more than eight hours of video on a single 64GB SDXC card at this highest quality setting.

The included long-life battery provides continuous recording for more than four hours — a welcome feature for live-action videographers who have been frustrated by untimely power failures. Grab a spare battery or two and this rig is good for all-day shooting; which is eased by the “intuitive and easy” operation of its control settings, displayed on the 2.7” LCD touch-screen monitor.

Advanced videographers will appreciate the manual focus, iris, shutter speed and white balance controls, along with the on-screen assist functions, such as a zebra pattern luminance level histogram display.

The AG-AC7PJ’s more sophisticated functions do not hamper its ease of use for neophytes, however, as hybrid image stabilization, intelligent contrast, and a range of automatic features sense the shooting conditions to automatically deliver optimal results.

A built-in stereo microphone captures two channels of Dolby digital audio, cleaned by a Wind Noise Canceller “that automatically detects and suppresses wind noise only, achieving natural sounds with lifelike ambience.”

A high-resolution 3.32 megapixel MOS imager coupled with a wide-angle 35.8-716mm zoom lens (35mm equivalent), allows shooting in confined spaces and from great distances, via its 23X magnification.

HDMI, USB 2.0, A/V, analog component (BNC x 3) outputs and more round out the features on this powerful yet affordable production package.

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