Panasonic has revealed new prices and confirmed the availability of two forthcoming, budget-friendly 4K fixed lens cameras that sport big zoom ranges and other enticing features.
We first got word of the upcoming Panasonic cameras, the UX90 and UX180, back in April of this year. At the time, we remarked that Panasonic went from having no 4K cameras just a few short years ago to updating nearly its entire line of cameras with new models featuring some form of 4K capture. With news of the UX90 and UX180, it seemed that Panasonic, as well as other manufacturers, had all tiers of the market covered for 4K acquisition, from the high-end to the low-budget and everywhere in between for all manner of professionals.
Over the past few years, 4K capture has gone from a premium capability to something of a commodity feature. This fact is highlighted by the change in pricing for the Panasonic UX90 and UX180. At the time of the initial press release in April, the cameras were slated to retail for around $4000 for the UX180 and $3000 for the UX90 for a tentative release this fall. Just a few short months later, it seems Panasonic has cut the prices of these cameras, the more significant cut being for the UX90.
The UX90 will be available this November for $2,295, nearly 25% less than its initially announced pricing. The UX180 will follow in December for $3,795 (a more modest price cut of around 5%). Of course, we can't pin too much relevance to these adjustments, yet pre-release price cuts may point to the high level of competition in the market, especially at that sub-$2500 price point.
For those in the market for a fixed lens 4K camcorder, the new UX90 and UX180 will both feature a Leica Dicomar "4k compact lens," according to Panasonic, that goes to 24mm (equivalent FF 35mm FOV) and a 1-inch MOS sensor, variable frame rate recording in HD mode, optical image stabilization, "very intelligent" auto focus and more.
Zoom range differentiates the cameras, as the UX90 will feature 15x optical zoom to the UX180's 20x (480mm equivalent FF 35mm FOV). In addition, the UX180 can record 4K at 24 fps (17:9) and UHD at 60 fps, while the UX90 only records UHD at 30 fps. The UX180 also features 120 fps recording in HD, infrared night shooting and 3G-SDI/HDMI output. Rounding out the differences, the UX180 allows for dual codec recording (UHD2/FHD or FHD 100 Mbps+/FHD 8 Mbps) to support a sub-file proxy editing workflow, as well as the inclusion of "16-axis color correction" and other professional image adjustment options for granular control of image in camera.
It will be interesting to see whether Panasonic users opt for the UX90 or UX180. While the two cameras are at different price points, there's enough feature overlap that the UX90 may be a perfectly fine run-and-gun option, especially if 4K 24 fps is not needed. But, those considering these cameras for cinema, as opposed to news gathering/doc work, may opt for spend a more for the UX180 or, perhaps, one of the many other options currently on the market.