No 3D rigs and no bulky single cameras… The new portable Panasonic AG-3DA1 Integrated Full HD 3D Camcorder is considered the world’s first professional quality, fully-integrated, Full HD 3D camera using a rather practical and familiar storage device: an SDHC (or SD) media card.
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Having the opportunity to play around the camera myself, the AG-3DA1 is very much like Panasonic’s HMC series, except that, it has two lenses and requires two SD cards for recording the stereo footage (left and right). Light enough for handheld moves, its main unit weighs less than 6.6 pounds. Its buttons are very much like those in Panasonic AG-HMC150, but with additional functions for controlling the 3D images produced.
The AG-3DA1 showcases a pretty decent 3D footage when viewed in a 3D TV. In terms of using it for theatrical releases, I have no basis on how it looks on the big screen yet.
So how much is this pioneering 3D camcorder? The suggested retail price for the main unit is $21,000 and it will be officially released in the market starting Fall 2010. It’s available made to order.
Major Technical Specifications
The Panasonic AG-3DA1 Integrated Full HD 3D Camcorder is equipped with dual lenses and two full 1920 x 1080 2.07 megapixel 3-MOS imagers that can record in 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25, and 24p (native) and 720/60p and 50p in AVCHD format.
It can record up to 180 minutes using dual 32GB SDHC memory card in AVCHD PH mode. It can also record in: SDHC memory cards 4GB, 6GB, 8GB, 12GB, and 16GB; and SD memory cards in 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB. From its left and right slots, each memory card can hold a maximum of 200 recordable and playable clips. These cards can also be used for user files and reading metadata.
For basic understanding of HD recording formats “i” (interlaced) and “p” (progressive), you may also read:
Filmmaking: What is the Difference Between Interlaced and Progressive?
Shooting in 35mm Film or in HD: What’s the Difference?
The AG-3DA1 features an optical color separation in prism system, a dual HD-SDI out, HDMI (version 1.4), two XLR connectors, built-in stereo microphone, and twin-lens camera remotes.
For its audio system, the camera records in 48kHz, 16-bit with recording/playback compression method (in Dolby Digital/2 ch). For its audio in/out, it provides a headphone stereo mini jack (3.5 mm diameter), built-in speaker (20 mm round), and HDMI output (2 ch in Linear PCM).
It has a 3.2-inch widescreen LCD monitor with approximately 921,000 dots and a 0.45-inch LCOS color viewfinder with approximately 1,226,000 dots equivalent. Using the LCD monitor, the camera’s LCD screen features a selectable thumbnail view of up to 8 clips per page.
Power consumption for the camera ranges from 16 W (main unit only) to 19 W (when recording). It uses a standard battery in DC 7.2 V and it can also use the AC adapter in 7.9 V.
For those familiar with Panasonic’s MiniDV camera called DVX, its HVX (P2) series, and its HMC series that also use SD cards, this 3D camcorder is about the size of these professional camera models. Given its much lower price compared to traditional 3D rigs, along with the decent media cost required in using memory cards (which are also re-recordable and easily available everywhere), this camera is ideal for use in sports, documentary, and independent film shoots. As a portable 3D camera, it is easy to transport and it has simplified buttons for user-friendly use, even in more challenging shooting environments.
With its solid-state memory, file-based recording system, the AG-3DA1 offers greater flexibility to reliably produce Full HD 3D videos from a completely controlled set-up to guerilla-style filmmaking.
“Professional 3D Production Systems,” Panasonic.
“Professional Video Cameras and Equipment from Panasonic,” Panasonic.
Related 3D Articles:
3D Post Conversion: From Traditional 2D Filming to 3D Theatrical Release
The Top 5 Best 3D Movies List
The Top 5 Worst 3D Movies List