Based upon the specifications of the AVC-Intra codec, AVC-ULTRA looks as if it will add quite a bit of flexibility, both at the high end as well as to users who have been looking to optimize recording times with the new LongG and Proxy options.
In addition to the new codecs that will be available with the AVC-ULTRA upgrade, the HPX600 adds the ability to upgrade to some intriguing IT workflow features. While the exact specifications haven't been released, the camera will allow for upgrades like wireless meta-data with control via smartphone, recording by proxy and variable frame rates. According to Panasonic, "The HPX600 also features wireless and wired connection ability with Wi-Fi, USB and Gigabit Ethernet. In addition, a future option will support LiveU for video uplink with real-time indication of LiveU's transmission status and video transmission quality to camera operator."
Also announced at NAB 2012 alongside the AG-HPX600 was the new microP2 format. The new series of 64 GB and 32 GB microP2 cards will ensure high-speed transfer, high reliability and the writing assurance of all P2 frame rates, formats and codecs. The simultaneous introduction of a microP2 card adapter means that microP2 cards will operate in current P2 hardware, including the AG-HPX600.
So we've covered a lot of features, some expected and some new and unprecedented. But what does the introduction of the AG-HPX600 signify from Panasonic? Some may say an encouraging direction in modernizing the entry-level, shoulder-mount camera, for one. The inclusion of microP2 and a set of long GOP codec options means that Panasonic has been listening to what users have been asking for. The integration of advanced features as optional add-ons shows that Panasonic realizes that not every user will use or want to pay for every feature available. It's nice to see that the days of the heavy shoulder-mount camera are dwindling as well. Introducing a smaller, lighter, more efficient camera with wireless control as well as high-throughput wired capabilities seem to be steps in the right direction. While hands-on testing will confirm or deny any speculation, the AG-HPX600 seems as if it has been well worth the long wait.
FTC Disclaimer: Panasonic didn't send me an AG-HPX600 for review, as prototypes weren't available at press time. No material connection exists between me and Panasonic, and no payment, compensation or other blandishment has been offered in return for a favorable review.
Learn more about the AG-HPX600 at the Panasonic website, www.panasonic.com.