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Panasonic launches new 4K camcorders with HDR shooting

Panasonic has launched a range of new camcorders at CES 2015, including models that Panasonic claims are the first consumer camcorders to support HDR video.

The new range, which is topped by the WX970 and VX870, use BSI (Backside Illumination) sensors to improve low light image quality, while the WX970 adds a ‘twin camera’ mounted on the flip out touchscreen that allows for live picture-in-picture recording.

As with any 4K camcorder, each new model takes 8-megapixel stills. More importantly, they record 4K at up to 72Mbps and the WX970 has an impressive 29x optical zoom. The VX870 has a slightly shorter but still very good 20x optical zoom.

As part of the new range, Panasonic has re-engineered the sensors and processors to improve focus speed and reliability.

As such, it claims focus speeds that are identical to its ‘prosumer’ 4K camcorder, the X1000, which focusses in just 1.0 to 1.5 seconds from the wide-angle.

These impressive focus speeds promise smoother and more reliable focus tracking, too.

Even better is the ability to shoot ‘HDR’ videos, though sadly this is limited to ‘sub-4K’ resolutions.

This works exactly as it does on smartphone cameras, taking scenes with large contrasts of light and shadow and ensuring both are resolved accurately.

Related: Regular updates from CES 2015

We don’t have a precise release date for the Panasonic WX970, VX870 and other camcorders in Panasonic’s range, but we expect them to go on sale within the first few months of 2015.

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