Interestingly, the same day Panasonic's new $999.99 CM1 "communication camera" rolled out in the States, the company cut the price of its venerable AG-AF100 pro camcorder to $1999.
As a result, the AF100 is now worth less than the price of a couple of cell phones.
Looking back from 2015, it's hard to remember what a pioneering camcorder the AF100 was. A year after the beginning of the DSLR revolution, Panasonic boldly unveiled a large sensor, interchangeable lens camera with XLR inputs, ND filters, a top handle and camcorder ergonomics and controls. This was before the FS100, before the C100 and back when Blackmagic Design was still pretty much a video capture card company.
For a while, Panasonic had the market to itself - until its competitors figured out the AF100's vulnerability - its micro 4/3 sensor size.
The competition's first generation pro camcorders were Super 35. Not only did they perform better in low light - they also had the cachet of a "Hollywood sized sensor."
Very quickly, the AF100 was eclipsed by the Sony FS100, the FS700 and then the Canon Cinema EOS series.
Now, about a half dozen manufacturers (to include AJA, Blackmagic, Kinefinity and JVC) are building sub-$10,000 interchangeable lens Super 35 cameras, while Panasonic's only offering in this price class remains the 5 year old AF100.
Panasonic really needs a Super 35 camera in this price class. In HCR's opinion, the DVX200, with its micro 4/3 sensor and fixed lens, was a missed opportunity to fill this gap.
In the meantime, for shooters who don't need 10-bit or 4K and don't mind the smaller sensor, this is still a decent 8-bit 1080p camera - and, at $1999, might be worth buying as a starter cam for those want the camcorder form factor and can't afford a $2499 FS100 or a $2999 C100.
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