Panasonic AJ-PX270 Professional HD Camcorder Review
- Category: Production and Creative
- Published: Tuesday, 06 January 2015 20:16
The PX270 is an amazing HD camera for ENG, corporate and documentary work. Over the years we’ve used the DVX100, HVX200, HPX250 and now the AJ-PX270 which is the next evolutionary step in Panasonic’s hand held family of cameras. This camera has very good dynamic range and the ability to achieve shallow depth of field. The AV-Ultra codecs are very robust and the microP2 cars make it very easy to dump footage into your NLE in the field using standard SD card readers. We really like this camera.
The AJ-PX270 is pretty much everything we’ve been asking for from this type of camera aside from 4k resolution. Panasonic has also been slow with the promised firmware upgrade to AVC-ULTRA 200. This higher bit rate will allow for even more robust capture of high speed action such as sports. Panasonic promised the firmware upgrade in 2014. We’re still waiting.
The first thing you notice about the PX270 is how light it is. You can truly operate this camera without a tripod with minimal fatigue. The HVX200 and even the HPX250 were more cumbersome in the field. Anyone still clinging to the HVX200 will be blown away by how easy it is to handle the PX270. The battery is now recessed inside the body of the camera which also makes for a better on-center feel. It also, makes it more comfortable to support the camera with you torso.
All is not sweetness and light however. We’re all for light weight designs but we’d like to see more ruggedized choices for some of the hinges, switches and buttons. We feel we could easily snap off the LCD display, the display buttons and the cheap plastic cover of the P2 slots.
The display and electronic view finder are very good on the PX270. There are a plethora of options for image and quality settings. The menu also has a fast option and a more complete option when you hold the button longer. This is something we had to discover after some frustration trying to dig into the menus.
The PX270 has much improved dynamic range and low light performance compared to the HPX250 and it’s a revelation if you are upgrading from an older camera like the HVX200. We were able to shoot with little to no gain scenes at dusk that would have been mostly noise with prior handheld cameras from Panasonic.
The PX270 is a really great HD camera. You can achieve a variety of looks that range from TV to film and decent shallow depth of field that makes solid choice for an HD handheld around $5k. We love the ergonomics of this camera and the image it captures and we’re comfortable with the P2 workflow. Over the years we’ve seen standard SD, CF cards and SSDs and HDDs all experience hiccups in the field. We’ve yet to have any problems with P2, either full size or micro. That confidence makes shooting with the PX270 feel even better.
UPDATE 2015 January 19: Panasonic has finally released firmware update that includes the AVC-Intra200 Codec and 1080 30p, 25p and 24p. You can download the latest firmware for the Panasonic PX270 here. It's free and will not be a paid upgrade as originally planned.