Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Panasonic AF100 pro camcorder now worth less than a couple of cell phones

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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.

As always, if anything here has helped you to make a buying decision, please use the links here to make your purchases - it won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these blog posts coming.  Thank you so much for your support of the revolution!

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