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Panasonic unveils HX-A100 wearable camcorder

By dpreview staff on Jan 7, 2013 at 18:30 GMT

Panasonic has announced the lifestyle-oriented HX-A100 'wearable' camcorder. The video camera includes an 'Earthhook' which allows for hands-free video recording. HD video can be captured at 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps. Wi-Fi connectivity allows for live streaming on Ustream and you can use a smartphone or tablet to start and stop recording. The HX-A100 is also waterproof up to 1.5m (5 feet). Pricing and availability are yet to be announced.

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Press Release:

Panasonic Introduces a New Wearable – Full HD Camcorder

HX-A100: Point-of-View Active Lifestyle Camera

January 7, 2013 (Las Vegas, Nevada) - Panasonic is pleased to announce the HX-A100 Wearable Camcorder, designed to let users easily capture and share images of everyday life  such as sports and events.

The compact, lightweight design of the A100 makes it comfortable to wear. By setting the camera on the included Earhook, users can enjoy hands-free shooting without a helmet. A Multi-Mount option is also available for mounting the camera to a helmet or backpack. The waterproof design enables even greater shooting freedom in situations where the camera might get wet.

Another feature of the camera is its built-in Wi-Fi functions, which allows users to broadcast live video with simultaneous Full-HD recording. It also makes it easy to upload recorded images to SNS using a smartphone or tablet.

Despite its compact size and lightweight design, the A100 achieves excellent image quality. Featuring a host of image-enhancing technologies, including a bright F2.5 lens, the BSI Sensor, and Advanced Image Processing LSI, this wearable camera captures clear, low-noise images in both bright and dim lighting situations. It also minimizes shooting mistakes, with an Image Stabilizer to suppress blurring, and a Level Shot function to automatically correct tilted images.

The A100 also offers a large number of advantages that are made possible by Panasonic's long history of camcorder development. This is what makes it possible to shoot and share images with the user's precise line-of-sight perspective for special events, sports activities, and everyday situations.

Features of the A100

  • Features an IPX8-compliant waterproof design for safe outdoor shooting in water depth down to -1.5m / 5ft for up to 30min duration. 
  • Dustproof design allows shooting safely in sandy or dusty environments.
  • The Wi-Fi connectivity makes it possible to broadcast live streaming video on Ustream as it is recorded in Full-HD Quality
  • Recording can be turned ON/OFF with a smartphone or tablet while watching in live view
  • Content can be easily shared on SNS using a smartphone or tablet
  • High low-light performance with an F2.5 bright lens, 1/4.1" BSI Sensor, and Advanced Image Processing LSI
  • Level Shot for automatic correction of tilting images, which often occur unnoticed
  • Image Stabilizer suppresses blurring for crisp and clear images
  • Sharp, impressive slow-motion video in HD quality
  • Recording formats: 1920 x 1080/60 fps, 1280 x 720/120 fps, 640 x 360/240 fps
  • Wind Noise Cut function suppresses excessive wind noise
  • 140 minutes of battery life* for extended shooting on a single battery charge

* When recording in Full-HD with Wi-Fi turned off.

Panasonic HX-A100 specifications

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Comments

Total comments: 39
tonyboy9
By tonyboy9 (8 months ago)

Hey, Francis, what setup screen? That's the exact question I had. I read the user's manual twice, and yep, the setup screen is on a smart phone.

If you're like me, you're not a tech slave tied to a smart phone all day. My Nokia phone has no camera, which pretty much makes me a cave man.

But because I wasn't playing close enough attention, I bought the HX-A100 from B&H Photo, nice because they are shipping the unit to the Philippines by UPS.

Read the user's manual carefully on setup. You will need a smart phone running either Android 2.2 to 4.2, or Apple operating system.

And if you're looking to set up Wi-Fi, good luck!

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 19, 2013)

How do you set up something like this, there must be an operating menu where you select video quality, frame rates, white balance, etc, but there is no EVF and no LCD screen with the HX-A100. So, how are you going to confirm and see your selections?

This question applies to all other POV cameras without any type of display, BTW.

0 upvotes
utomo99
By utomo99 (Jan 10, 2013)

I suggest they add :
1 Cable position: Straight, and 90 degree
2. Many color: black, silver, red, yellow, blue, white
3. Many recording resolution and also speed. so we can choose
4. Many recording situation mode: sport, night, and other situations

just my 2c

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2013)

QUESTION: Is it "Earthook" or is it "Earhook?"

1920 x 1080 Full-HD video -- by using a 1/4-inch sensor? I know many folks will pass this one up just for that. Seriously, I would have been much happier with at least a 1/2.3-inch sensor doing 720p, and preferably a CCD sensor, as jello and rolling shutter could be pretty brutal with this one.

Live broadcasting over the Internet -- wow, what will they come up with next?

Not getting the orange and black colors though, for a Caucasian (white skinned) person they should have offered it in beige skin tone. I would not mind it dangling it from my ear, but why make it so noticeable? Other uses and positioning for lipstick-cams like this might be inside a bag/purse/knapsack with a small hole perforated, on a shoulder lapel, or on the top end of a shoulder bag's strap. I guess you can try to hide it in plain sight -- or hide it completely.

Too bad there is no external microphone input. Altogether, we should gave Panny an A+ for HX-A100.

1 upvote
Mir_ro
By Mir_ro (Jan 9, 2013)

There are proffesional video camera using 1/4" senzor ! ( SONY MC 2000, Panasonic AG-HMC40, )
The new ( and very good ) semiprofessiona Panasonic AG-AC90 has a even smaller sensor, 1/4.7" !

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/893072-REG/Panasonic_agac90pj_AG_AC90_AVCCAM_Handheld_Camcorder.html

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 11, 2013)

Yeah, the best "professional" digital cameras out there all have 1/10-inch or smaller sensors, I forgot.

0 upvotes
TX4716
By TX4716 (Jan 8, 2013)

Suggested price $299, Panasonic is taking preorder for this:
http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/HX-A100D

0 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Jan 8, 2013)

You were saying, officer?

1 upvote
manmachine242
By manmachine242 (Jan 8, 2013)

Smallest sensor, fullHD. I am skeptical.

0 upvotes
Mir_ro
By Mir_ro (Jan 9, 2013)

There are proffesional video camera using 1/4" senzor ! ( SONY MC 2000, Panasonic AG-HMC40, )
The new ( and very good ) semiprofessional Panasonic AG-AC90 has a even smaller sensor, 1/4.7" !

0 upvotes
Andrew Butterfield
By Andrew Butterfield (Jan 8, 2013)

Is the earthhook the same as the earhook?

0 upvotes
ovatab
By ovatab (Jan 8, 2013)

The 'Earthhook' looks weird http://panasonic.net/avc/camcorder/active/product/hxa100/images/bg_hx-a100.jpg

1 upvote
hammerheadfistpunch
By hammerheadfistpunch (Jan 8, 2013)

@ ovatab - it'll probably look less weird when not worn by Gozer the Gozerian.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2013)

Looks too weird and heavy, also forget hanging this thing from your ear when you wear prescription glasses or sunglasses.

0 upvotes
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (Jan 8, 2013)

This isn't exactly a new idea. Lipstick-cams have been around since before extreme sports. However, the main recording unit used to be much larger than this model.

Nice to see it come back. I always thought the GoPro was a dorky size compared to the lipstick-cams that I remembered from before. Nice to see it all waterproof as well.

1 upvote
bb42
By bb42 (Jan 9, 2013)

And also nice that it is offered by a serious developer of digicams who has proven to understand what image quality means.
Remains to be seen if it can live up to the promise, as anything I've seen in this category up to now was way below digicam IQ.

0 upvotes
diego dimas
By diego dimas (Jan 8, 2013)

pana...im in love :_)

0 upvotes
solarsky
By solarsky (Jan 8, 2013)

This will be the new go-spy-pro-cam

2 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Jan 8, 2013)

this format is so much nicer than a gopro!
the lens can attach very close to a helmet, with the heavier part lower on the body - ditto for other mounting options, where there isn't the weight of the camera body to make the lens move and shake.
very nice, thoughtful design.

1 upvote
hammerheadfistpunch
By hammerheadfistpunch (Jan 8, 2013)

not to mention OIS. Though I still have no idea when CCD's aren't used in these applications instead of jiggly CMOS

1 upvote
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Jan 9, 2013)

That helmet is going to be a dead giveaway for "some" people :)

0 upvotes
jj74e
By jj74e (Jan 8, 2013)

but will it be better than a gopro?

0 upvotes
solarsky
By solarsky (Jan 8, 2013)

Yarp

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Jan 8, 2013)

gopro sets the bar rather low to begin with

0 upvotes
hammerheadfistpunch
By hammerheadfistpunch (Jan 7, 2013)

surprisingly competitive specs, coming from traditionally conservative Panasonic. I like it.

3 upvotes
hindesite
By hindesite (Jan 7, 2013)

Sheesh, would it have hurt to include the most important spec for these cameras?

What is the FOV, and is it selectable?

I like the Level Shot feature, P&S cameras should have had this years ago.

0 upvotes
ovatab
By ovatab (Jan 8, 2013)

Approx. 160˚ (Wide Mode),
117˚ (Standard Mode, Image Stabilizer OFF),
104˚ (Standard Mode, Image Stabilizer ON)

http://panasonic.net/avc/camcorder/active/product/hxa100/index.html

0 upvotes
lightspec
By lightspec (Feb 11, 2013)

Most important specs are usually left out such image stabilization not working at all in most important Wide mode.
I looked at panasonic.net and it seems that in 104° mode and stabilizer ON there are only 1.31 Mpixel available which are NOT enough pixels to output 1080p! It seems that image stabilisation is not available in 160° wide mode. Probably because the electronic stabilization needs a cropped image to move it over the sensor to compensate for level and shake.
To conclude: 1080p at 28Mbit AVCHD output at 160° FOV is interesting but not image stabilized. This is a missed chance to take the actioncam lead over the shaking action shots by gopro's (see various youtubes).

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jan 7, 2013)

"High low-light performance with an F2.5 bright lens, 1/4.1" BSI Sensor"

OK, those claims of high low-light performance got to stop somewhere. This is getting ridiculous (or just outright fraudulent). The lens/sensor combination has significantly worse low-light performance than even any modern smartphone. If this is "high", what is "low" then?

6 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2013)

Oh, that is easy. "Low low-light performance" is what a company OTHER THAN PANASONIC comes out with, don't you see?

1 upvote
Mir_ro
By Mir_ro (Jan 9, 2013)

There are proffesional video camera using 1/4" senzor ! ( SONY MC 2000, Panasonic AG-HMC40, )
The new ( and very good ) semiprofessiona Panasonic AG-AC90 has a even smaller sensor, 1/4.7" !

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 11, 2013)

Anything sensor size wise below APS-C is pretty bad. APS-C, full-frame 135, and 65/70mm, on the other hand, are pretty decent for low light recordings.

0 upvotes
jwg63
By jwg63 (Jan 7, 2013)

160 degree FOV, according to http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/48999/panasonic-sports-action-camcorder-pictures-and-hands-on

3 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Jan 7, 2013)

Wearable - ill insert it somewhere inside my friends jeans ;)

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jan 7, 2013)

Finally some competition for GoPro.

4 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Jan 7, 2013)

The specs looks promising

0 upvotes
JamesInCA
By JamesInCA (Jan 7, 2013)

GoPro already has competitors.

I don't see how this design is going to work well for helmet-mounted applications or other places (handlebars, vehicle exteriors) where available space and/or mounting complexity are issues. That control pad thing is messy.

0 upvotes
colski
By colski (Jan 8, 2013)

The Drift HD720 that I've had for a while now seems quite far ahead of Pana and Go Pro to me, and i've been very happy with it.
http://driftinnovation.com/

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jan 7, 2013)

The Ustream broadcasting sounds great. I wonder if the GH3 is capable of doing that?

3 upvotes
Total comments: 39