The Panasonic AG-AC160 AVCCAM HD Handheld Camcorder is a high-definition workhorse of a professional handheld camcorder that integrates seamlessly with a wide range of current broadcast video systems in place around the world. Featuring an integrated 22x zoom lens and a 1/3-type 3MOS three-element imager, the AVCCAM model captures AVCHD video to two SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots as 1080p30, 1080i60, filmic 1080p24, and 720p60.
But that's not it for frame rates: for creative slow-/fast-motion effects, overcranking and undercranking are possible at a variety of rates between 2 and 60 frames per second. For worldwide compatibility, the AG-AC160 also captures a variety of 50 Hz video signals for easy integration with PAL projects and video systems.
Panasonic's professional-level PH implementation of AVCHD is the top-quality choice at a max rate of 24 Mb/s; several other data rates will conserve card space as you capture hours of HD video. For projects that require standard-def capture, the AC160 has you covered with DV recording, which can then be output via its 6-pin IEEE 1394 (FireWire) port. For high-def output, the HD-SDI terminal puts out HD signals including 1920 x 1080 at 24PsF.
The AG-AC160 offers a bevy of other professional-level features, including dual XLRs with phantom power, SMPTE time-code generation, gamma settings for seven different scenarios, and manual control rings for iris, zoom, and focus. To monitor the status of all settings, and to perform critical focusing functions, the AVCCAM camcorder features both a high-quality 3.45" LCD screen and a full-color LCoS 0.45" viewfinder with 1,226,000 dots (852 x 480 x 3 [RGB]) of resolution.
Panasonic Optical Technology
The high-performance 22x zoom lens was designed specifically for professional HD video production. Sharing the wide-angle capability found in the DVX and HMC series, the lens offers some additional telephoto capability for a 28-616mm (35mm equivalent) zoom range. The lens combines 18 elements in 12 groups and adds an ultra-high refractive (UHR) glass element, a low-dispersion element, and aspheric elements – technologies that combine to raise the resolution. This 22x zoom lens covers a wide field of view, from wide-angle to telephoto, without a conversion lens
Manual Control Rings
Three manual rings – mechanical (cam-driven) zoom, focus, and iris – allow you to operate as if you've got an interchangeable-lens camcorder, for fine, tactile control over the parameters of the captured image
Optical Image Stabilization
To compensate for any shaking of the operator's hand, the AC160 features an optical image stabilizer (OIS)
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise 3MOS Image Sensor
The 1/3-type 2.2 Mp 3MOS sensor features the same Ultra Luminance Technology (ULT) that's incorporated in Panasonic's shoulder-mount P2 HD broadcast camcorders. This sensor maximizes the performance of the lens and the signal processing circuit in standard conditions
This can be assigned to a user button for digital zooms of 2x, 5x, and 10x. In combination with the optical zoom, this function provides a telephoto capability up to 220x
The AG-AC160 features a four-position (OFF, 1/4 ND, 1/16 ND, 1/64 ND) optical neutral density filter wheel
18-Bit Digital Signal Processor
The AG-AC160's high-performance 18-bit DSP handles rendering processes such as gamma and detail-enhancement functions with uncommon precision
Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS)
The DRS function automatically suppresses blocked shadows and blown highlights in scenes that involve wildly varying contrast levels (such as indoor vs. outdoor elements in the same frame). DRS estimates a gamma curve and knee slope to match the contrast of each pixel and applies them in real time, producing excellent gradation for each shade and minimizing blocked shadows and blown highlights
Seven-Mode Gamma for Rich Gradation
Drawing upon the technology of the high-end VariCam line, the AC160 features gamma functions for seven shooting scenarios, including two cinema modes: HD NORM (for standard HD recording), LOW (flattens out a high-contrast scene); SD NORM (for standard SD recording); HIGH (softens contrast and expands the tone of dark parts, making an image brighter); B.PRESS (sharpens the contrast compared to LOW); CINE-LIKE D (prioritizes dynamic range); and CINE-LIKE V (prioritizes contrast)
Three-Position Gain Selection
There is a 3-position gain selector, with L, M and H settings. To each setting you can assign a gain value of 0, +3, +6, +9, +12 and +18 dB. There is also a Super Gain of +24 dB and +30 dB, accessible via a user button only
Other Camera Image Settings
Three values (A/B/Preset) of white balance are selectable with an auto-tracking white function. The preset can be set to 3200K, 5600K, and VARIABLE, which ranges between P2.4K and P9.9K. As with gamma, matrix setting includes a Cine-Like mode. H & V detail levels are adjustable, as are detail coring and skin-tone detail. That's not all: chroma level, chroma phase, color temperature, and master pedestal are all adjustable as well. The camera offers four settings for knee point: Auto, Low, Mid, and High
Focus Assist Function
A convenient Focus Assist button expands the center of the LCD screen, allowing you to check for correct focus quickly & easily. A Focus Bar that indicates the focus level can be displayed on the LCD, and the focus-in-red display shows the focus area. These two display functions help you to focus quickly and accurately. A face-detection function is also provided, and area auto focus and area auto iris are possible
High-Quality, Multi-Format Professional AVCHD PH Mode
The AG-AC160 uses the AVCHD recording format and also supports the high-image-quality PH mode. AVCHD complies with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 High Profile motion-picture compression technology. Boasting a compression efficiency that is more than twice that of the MPEG-2 system (such as HDV), this advanced video file format delivers superb image quality and low data rates. The PH mode was developed for AVCCAM by Panasonic exclusively for high-quality professional video production. This mode boasts a maximum AVCHD bit rate of 24 Mb/s (average: 21 Mb/s) and records 1920 x 1080 Full-HD images. The AVCHD PH mode is also compatible with multiple HD formats, such as 1080/59.94i, 1080/29.97p, 1080/23.98p and 720/59.94p
Double-Slot SD Card System
Not only can you record continuously on two SD/SDHC/SDXC cards (up to 64 GB), relay recording lets you seamlessly record images onto two memory cards consecutively for added data security, and simultaneous recording records the same images onto two different memory cards to increase reliability when recording. The slot to be used can be switched during normal recording, and clips can also be copied between the 2 slots 1