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Summary

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9/10

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Panasonic AG-HMC151E - Panasonic AG-HMC151E

The AG-HMC151E isn't just for such straight-laced cinematography, though. Having the 50p frame option will be handy if you want to create arty slow-motion effects, assuming your editing software supports it (see below). Of course, all the manual features you would expect in a camera at this price are there, too.

A pair of XLR audio inputs are provided, switchable between line and mic level. You can also enable +48V phantom power independently on either channel. Two dials control levels, although they are a little small and fiddly. The built-in microphone is decent, and an adapter is provided for the accessory shoe so you can mount microphones without their own shoe adapters. You can also choose to mix audio from the built-in microphone with an external one.
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Only two lens rings are integrated, but they cover all the options. The outer one can be switched between focus and iris, whilst the inner one operates zoom, either with or without servo assistance. You can also adjust the iris using a wheel on the side. A three-position switch provides a trio of gain settings, although the actual values can be customised in the menu. Low always means 0dB, but Mid and High can be anywhere from 0 to 18dB, although the upper value depends on the recording setting.

There is a similar three-position switch controlling white balance. You can store two manual settings or select a preset. A dial on the rear provides six positions for collecting scene settings together, each of which can be customised, although Panasonic has already provided readymade presets for all six positions. There are also three user-configurable buttons that can be assigned functions such as backlight compensation or a couple of simple digital effects. There is a built-in Neutral Density filter with 1/4, 1/16 and 1/64 options, and a handy Focus Assist mode that zooms in the LCD so you can see a central part of the frame for sharper manual focusing.

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