Panasonic have brought us 4K recording with HC-VX870. It’s the second in the line of their newly released Ultra High Definition models. It’s core specifications is built around the fact it shoots 4K video, and wow, is the picture quality decent, even at a standard 1080p setting.

The camcorder uses a 1/2.3 inch backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. Maximum resolution sits at around 18.9 meegapixels. However, when actually filming 4K video the resolution drops to around 8.3mp which is shame. The extra pixels are only used for the Hybrid Optical Image Stabilisation and Intelligent Zoom which we’ll talk about in detail a bit further down.

On looking at the design, the Panasonic HC-VX870 is very simple, and it shows when using it too. Behind the screen are only four buttons, and none of them are menu buttons. There’s one for previewing film, turning on and off the tilt sensor, and power. The zoom feature is on top as well as the photo button. To record you hit the switch which naturally falls in place with your thumb, and at the front you’ll find a wheel for focusing when on manual mode, which is a lot of fun by the way.

Most of the menu options are accessed using the  touch screen that opens up on the side of the camera. There is an i button which will give you a description of what each option does which is great for people just starting out with a camcorder.

Manual mode excited us the most. You’re able to adjust focusing, white balance, shutter speed and the iris all using the scroll wheel I mentioned at the bottom of the camera. It’s a great shooting mode; you can really get creative once you’re used to the controls and what they do. However, if you’re a point and shoot kind of person, the Intelligent Auto+ option included will still give you super clear video.

HDR video combines bright exposure with darker areas giving your footage a whole lot more detail. Footage looks great in 4K in this mode, and even holds its own when shooting in 1080p.

The wireless function is pretty cool too. Once you’re hooked up to a wireless network you can use the Panasonic HC-VX870 as a security camera for the home. You can even stream your content to any DLNA-compatible device to show others what you have filmed. You can connect an Android or iOS phone for some  remote control functions which come in handy if you’re shooting with a tripod.

Deciding on a new device can be difficult, but that being said, the Panasonic HC-VX870 is definitely worth the investment. It currently retails for under a grand which makes this camcorder one of the most fully featured cameras on the market at the moment.

 

 

The video below is a demonstration on how the Panasonic HC-VX870 performs using its Intellegent Auto+ mode.

 

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Stef Murphy

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