The AG-AF101 has joined the illustrious list of HD specialist cameras approved by the BBC. Other models on the same list include the ARRI Alexa, Sony's CineAlta F35 and the Red camera, units that cost many times more than the Panasonic unit.
The announcement comes on the back of a number of high profile channels broadcasting programmes shot with the AF101. Studio 9 Films were recently commissioned by Al-Jazeera Europe to film a documentary using the camera. The camera operator twinned the camcorder with an external recorder to capture footage at 50Mbps - something the BBC also insists on. Other productions that have used the camera include shows recorded for Channel 4 and a host of commercials.
Allan Leonhardsen of the distributor Holdan Limited comments: "The 101 has been a big hit for Panasonic right across the world. Its picture quality, and particularly its control over depth of field, are excellent for a camera at this price point. It is a leap up from a DSLR with its professional controls, ergonomic handling and broadcast interfaces. To be on the approved BBC HD list is a real feather in its cap."
Since its launch earlier this year, a number of third party developers have manufactured accessories that give the AG-AF101 incredible versatility. Lens adapters such as the new device from Birger Engineering mean that camera teams can use scores of optics from different manufacturers; new recorders including Blackmagic Design's new HyperDeck Shuttle allow crews to capture hours of uncompressed video onto a single drive via the camera's SDI or HDMI ports.
DOP Paul Lucas who has recently completed a number of TV and commercial shoots using the AF101 commented: "I think the AF-101 represents a serious step forward for cameras in its class. For those who've been shooting professional video on DSLR's: this is unquestionably the way forward. For mid to higher budget shoots - promos, drama, commercials, there's no reason not to use a 101 next to more expensive cameras, and spend money on glass instead."
In related news, Panasonic's HPX-371 has also been approved for HD broadcast use. Based on the H.264 MPEG4 AVC-Intra format, the P2 camera is remarkable as a light-weight, highly affordable shoulder mount camera which offers the flexibility of interchangeable lenses.
Finally the AG-HCK10 point of view camera and its recorder the AG-HMR 10 have also been BBC approved. With a 12x optical zoom lens, Optical Image Stabilizer, and a newly developed 1/4.1" progressive "3MOS" sensor, this high quality, low cost AVCHD device is perfect for achieving hard to capture shots, such as in-car applications or wildlife photography.