27 May 2014

Panasonic’s AJ-PX270: A Broadcast Camera in the Palm of Your Hand

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AJ-PX270 AJ-PX270 Panasonic/RedShark



New faster express P2 and microP2 cards are the keys to the PX270’s enhanced performance. Besides the normal P2 card slot the camera accommodates two microP2 cards 32GB/64GB, permitting dual codec and simultaneous backup but not at all frame rates and resolutions.

The PX270 menus have expanded exponentially to embrace a more comprehensive broadcaster approach.  The 12-axis color corrector supports three skin tone configurations enabling easier setup of multiple cameras. The matrix adjustable in +-63 increments is full and complete and more professional. Master Gamma can be numerically set just like the big boys.

Remarkably the diminutive camera also features the Film-Rec option formerly found only on the priciest Varicam models. Like the previous HPX2700 and 3700 Varicams the Film-Rec dynamic level in the PX270 may be raised to 600%.  

In keeping with the latest trends the new camera features wireless connectivity and streaming to multiple laptops, iPhones or iPads via LAN.  The option to stream LongG25 or LongG50 at 10-bits 4:2:2 will be particularly compelling to broadcast folks aiming to maximize video quality in mobile applications.  For shooters and broadcasters especially in Africa and parts of Asia the PX270 continues to offer DVCPROHD/DVCPRO and good old fashioned DV.



Incredibly the AJ-PX270 features a full broadcast menu array, identical to the company’s top-of-the-line £18,000 PX5000 model. Among the daunting options available the PX270 offers a comprehensive color corrector, matrix, and Film-Rec recording to 600%.  Not too shabby for a sub-£5000 camcorder!



Despite its small sensor the PX270 captures remarkably clear and clean images in low light. This scene captured in a Singapore eatery exhibits excellent shadow detail despite the poor mixed illumination and high contrast



The Author shooting at waist level


The PX270 supports simultaneous output via HDMI, 3G-SDI, and HD-SDI at 10 bits 4:2:2 to an external monitor or recording device. An optional USB WM30 module allows wireless LAN connection to up to three devices laptops, iPads or iPhones, simultaneously. Panasonic states support for other devices is forthcoming, along with a new 3G/4G/LTE capable dongle.





The PX270 pushes the envelope with respect to what is possible and practical in such a compact package. The real estate available for the many controls is severely limited; the second XLR audio input seems particularly forlorn and inconvenient placed on the back right side of the camera.



Barry Braverman

Barry Braverman is a cinematographer with over thirty years experience in television documentaries and feature films.  His credits include Wes Anderson’s MOONRISE KINGDOM (2012), THE DARJEELING LIMITED (2007), as well as National Geographic TV Specials, HBO ‘First Look’ and CBS News Sunday Morning.  Braverman is a member of Hollywood’s cinematographer guild and regularly conducts multi-day camera and video storytelling workshops around the world, most recently in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. As an author his new book VIDEO SHOOTER 3rd Edition (2013) from Focal Press will explore the art of video storytelling with the latest 2D and 3D cameras.

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