April 28, 2020
4 min read
Panasonic just released a major firmware update (Ver. 3.02) for the AG-CX350 4K Handheld Camcorder that brings exciting versatility for both ENG and cinema-style shooters. The two key features of Ver 3.02 include the inclusion of P2 HD format recording for news shooters, and the addition of V-Log to capture wide dynamic range.
The CX350 is one of the lightest 4K 10-bit fixed-lens camcorders on the market. The full-featured camcorder contains a 1.0" CMOS sensor and offers 4K image capture with 10-bit codecs such as ALL-I, 422LongG and HEVC LongG. The camcorder's 20x optical zoom lens contains an impressive wide angle lens at 24.5mm (35mm equivalent) with 32x Intelligent Zoom and 5Axis Hybrid I.S. that makes handheld shooting smooth and natural. Another key feature is that the CX350 is equipped with the RTMPS/RTMP/RTSP/RTP protocol for livestreaming and contains an NDI ready IP connection. This feature is ideal for webcasters who want to broadcast their videos to live streaming platforms like Facebook, YouTube Live and Twitch.
P2 HD Formats
The inclusion of P2 HD AVC-Intra 50/100/200 to the CX350 is a welcome addition for news shooters. In the history of digital video, Panasonic has always been an innovator in file-based workflows, especially during the transition between tape and removable solid state memory cards. P2 HD codecs use the MXF (Material eXchange Format) wrapper, which is supported by all the major NLE programs. The files are immediately recognized and tagged by newsroom and digital archiving systems. Our P2 HD legacy codecs enable seamless integration into established news systems and workflows that are used by all major broadcasters.
"The Panasonic P2 HD format has been used by leading News, Field and Studio Production customers for almost 15 years," explains Steve Cooperman, Senior Product Manager, News & Content Acquisition. "Many groups still actively use P2 formats, including AVC LongG, as well as AVC Intra. Now, the CX350, along with the AJ-CX4000 4K HDR ENG Shoulder Mount Camera, support AVC-Intra 50/100/200. Not only will this help make the CX350 more available for news groups, and international production, which supports this global format, but also for TV news stringers and production companies in local markets, who work with local stations and their partner partners."
V-Log Is Here
The addition of V-Log adds a new dimension to the CX350, especially for documentaries. Documentaries will often use a multitude of cameras to capture a variety of shots that fit the story. For example, a cinema camera like the EVA1 with its 5.7K Super 35mm sensor can capture cinematic shallow depth of field while the CX350 might capture dynamic action shots from far in the distance with its 20x lens. With both cameras capturing in V-Log, it will be easier to match the look of both cameras in an NLE timeline.
When recording in V-Log, the 4K Super35 VariCam lineup (VariCam 35, VariCam Pure, VariCam LT) can captures 14+ stops of Dynamic Range. The EVA1 with it's 5.7K Super 35mm sensor can captures 14-stops. The CX350 and its 1" CMOS sensor can capture 13+ stops. As you may or may not know, ITU-R BT.709's system gamma is limited to 6.8 stops.
To store this expanded latitude, a logarithmic contrast curve is employed. However, displaying this huge range of image contrast (the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights) in Log format on a conventional monitor will show an image that looks flat and desaturated but these Log images are used to provide the greater flexibility for post color correction. You can then adjust V-Log for viewing using a 3D LUT (3D Look Up Table) such as the V-709 LUT, or the VariCam LUT Library.
"V-Log is an exciting upgrade to the CX350," reveals Cooperman. "It allows footage shot with the CX350 to be more easily color graded with the EVA1 and VariCam LT. This provides a nice combination for using the EVA1 and/or S1H with the CX350 on independent cinema projects, travel shows and docs, where you need a dramatic shot and an action shot, all with the same internal codecs and similar look. And it’s also great for large unscripted shows, where the CX350 can be a 2nd unit action camera to a VariCam, or other A-camera.
Additional New Features & Improvements
Ver. 3.02 adds a few more features, including 4CH audio output when using 4K output (AUDIO > OUTPUT SETTINGS > HDMI OUT CH：[CH1/2], [CH3/4], [CH1/2/3/4])
Also, the following functions can now be assigned to the USER button.
- ADAPTIVE MATRIX: On/OFF
- AUDIO CH1 /2 LEVEL: Auto/Manual
- AUDIO OUT: Audio channels
- O.I.S MODE: Normal / PAN/TILT / STABLE
- The operability of the expanded focus assist function has been improved so that you can see the focus (distance) value.
- The zoom operation from the controller connected to the REMOTE terminal has been improved so that the zoom accelerates slowly.
- Hunting (unnecessary fine movement) during auto focus operation due to touching the LCD screen and pushing the AF button has been reduced.
- SDI audio may not be outputted when the power is turned on with the LCD panel closed. This problem has been fixed.
All in all, Ver. 3.02 for the CX350 honors our past by providing our legacy codecs that are still commonly used in news production. It also looks to the future with Log capture for high dynamic range production and post workflow.
Watch CX350 V-Log samples vs. EVA1 V-Log samples
Watch more AG-CX350 V-Log and V-709 samples by Panasonic Senior Technologist Steve Mahrer
To download the free Ver. 3.02 firmware update for the AG-CX350, click through here.
For more information on the AG-CX350, visit here.