March 26, 2014
Panasonic Sets Scene On 4K Wearable Video Cam
The market is full of rugged action cameras capable of capturing high-definition video of any extreme exploits. While the bar is set to high-definition, Panasonic looks to advance that trend by releasing a 4K Ultra HD camera, the HX-A500.
The camera is capable of shooting 4K, also referred to as Ultra HD, video that has four-times the resolution of high-definition video, which is typically 1080 resolution. The 25p refers to 25 frames-per-second. While video is usually around 30 frames-per-second, the 4K resolution will help compensate for a slightly lower frame rate. The 25p frame rate is more comparable to the European PAL standard than the US (Region 1) NTSC standard of 30 fps. It should be said that the UK Panasonic made the announcement, and that it is possible a 30p version will become available in the US and other Region 1 countries.
Panasonic has packed a few features into the HX-A500.
“With new and extended features, a wider range of optional accessories – such as a new clip mount to easily attach the camera to a helmet or bag; or the ‘multi-case’ to combine the main unit, camera and cable into one body for single-handed use; and enhanced connectivity options, the HX-A500 is comfortable to wear and intuitive to use. Both waterproof, for up to 3 metres for 30 minutes, and dustproof, the HX-A500 is ready for action whatever the conditions. Whether you’re playing on the floor with your children or climbing a cliff face, you can be confident that your hands-free filming will give you great results every time,” Panasonic said, in a corporate statement.
This is the first 4K 25p wearable camcorder, and CNET reports that Panasonic boasts the first for the category. “The waterproof A500 shoots eye-wateringly high resolution 4K video at 25 frames per second while attached to your head or clipped to your body. It comes in two parts: a 31g (1.1oz) camera bit and a 119g (4.2oz) body unit with a 1.5 inch, 115,200-dot colour LCD screen,” wrote CNET’s Rich Trenholm.
The 35 fps appears to be a default, and Digital Trends reports a number of frame rate settings for the camera. “The waterproof camera can record 30fps at 4K, 60fps at 1080p, 120fps at 720fps, and 240fps at 480. The higher the frame rate, the slower the recorded footage, so go for the 240fps option and you’ll capture every tiny bit of your heart-stopping surf through a terrifyingly awesome tubing wave (although it’ll probably take forever to watch back),” wrote Trevor Mogg of Digital Trends.
Panasonic took the model that many consumer electronics companies have approached for wearable cameras: The lens is actually separate from the body of the camera and attaches with a cord. This means that the camera can be strapped to an arm, or safely stowed in a pocket or bag while the lens captures the action. It solves the problem that the camera could be heavy and awkward on its mount. The competing GoPro has a compact body, but when mounted to a helmet, it is still a square body that can easily be dinged.
The HX-A500 is being shown with a clip that secures the lens to the wearer’s ear, like a Bluetooth headset, although the lens can also be mounted to a helmet or handlebars, among other places.
Image Credit: Panasonic