Dueling DV Camcorders

Panasonic has added an upgraded mini-DV camcorder to its lineup.
January 1, 2004

Panasonic has added an upgraded mini-DV camcorder to its lineup. The pithily named AG-DVX100A is an enhanced model of the – you guessed it – ever-popular AG-DVX100, whose claim to fame is being the only 24p mini DV. The 24p/30p/60i mini-DV upgrade bows this month, and boasts 20 user-requested additions that up its image and performance specs.

No pricing had been announced at press time for the upgrade; however,

the AG-DVX100 – which has been used to shoot in some pretty extreme conditions, ranging from the Arctic for the Snow Walker doc by Vancouver-based Comet Post Production, to Sherpa heights for Austin, U.S.-based Firelight Pictures’ Everest or Bust and braving the waves for a surfing doc – goes for US$3,795 in North America.

The tweaks to the A model upgrade include 24p and 30p progressive mode functions, better color reproduction, a slower shutter option for a deeper range of effects, squeeze-mode for 16:9, a nifty ‘cine-like gamma curve’ and smoother zoom and focus ability. There’s also a new auto focus assist and interval recording modes.

Meanwhile, Sony unleashed an upgrade for its DV cam pro compact camcorder line that touts better low-light recording – up from 2 lux to 1 lux (allowing you to open up shadows to better see detail), as well as improved sunlight viewing (via a 6.5 cm Hybrid LCD SwivelScreen monitor).

The DSR-PD170 joined its 400,000 elder Sony siblings out there in the DV cam dynasty in December. An upgrade to the DSR-PD150, the 170 comes in NTSC or PAL, and checks out in North America at $3,940 and $4,750 respectively. The new model features a 24-step Iris control (up from the 150′s 12-step), allowing you to step more fluidly between variable lighting conditions.

Other upgrades include an extra set of controls on the handle, including a fixed zoom rate, so you can nimbly establish a slow or fast crawl. Audio quality is up 6dB, and there’s a 12X optical and 48X digital zoom lens with better control and stability functionality. Plus, Ivan Reel, professional video and display product manager, content creation division for Sony Canada, says it comes bundled with a wide-angle lens.

Another new shooter on Panavision’s stock list is a mini – primarily designed for the law enforcement sector – whose featherweight nature and infrared nighttime mode might make it a useful gadget for those who like to shoot in the dark. The AG-DVC30, a multifunction 410,000-pixel 3-CCD mini-DV camcorder, weighs one kilo and touts 30fps recording with a digital time stamp, a feature that either lawyers or the log-challenged might appreciate. It will retail for $2,500 and ships in March.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.