In other words, the Z10000’s 3D credentials are good, but it’s the professional-grade features backing these up that really make it feel like something very special indeed. The lens is non-removable, but it sports three lens rings, for discrete operation of exposure, zoom and iris. The optical zoom provides a reasonable 10x factor in 3D mode, but this rises slightly to 12x in 2D, which can also take advangate of an Intelligent Zoom option to provide a 23x factor. However, the zoom ring is clearly still electronic rather than a direct mechanical connection, as there is a considerable lag between turning it and the zoom action. There is also no discrete conrol for shutter speed, either. Instead, the touch-sensitive LCD is used to configure this setting, although only a few screen presses are required to operate it. You still won’t be able to use it when shooting only with the electronic viewfinder (EVF).
The LCD itself is hidden away in a rather novel position. At first, it appears the Z10000 only offers an EVF. But lurking next to the XLR audio connections is a 3.48in LCD which incorporates parallax barrier glasses-free 3D technology, so you can get a decent idea of how your 3D effect is working. This touch-sensitive panel is used to access the main menu, to change fundamental system settings such as recording format. But a single press brings up a quick menu, which aside from offering shutter control provides options for toggling between viewing modes and selecting one of six user-configurable scene presets.
Quite a lot of functions have discrete buttons on the camcorder body, though. Two of these toggle the ring controls for iris and focus, whilst another enables image stabilisation. In 3D mode this is purely optical, but in 2D mode Panasonic’s Hybrid OIS is used, which also adds a modicum of digital stabilisation to smooth out a greater range of camera jerkiness. There’s a button for cycling through the white balance options, which include 3200K and 5600K presets, plus two custom presets, and the ability to lock the current automatically detected setting.
Further buttons toggle zebra, colour bars, and set or reset the counter. There’s a dial dedicated to adjusting 3D convergence, too, so you can ensure the 3D effect works as well as possible. Finally, you can choose between manual mode and Intelligent Auto, which will be familar to users of Panasonic’s consumer camcorders. This detects conditions and sets a scene mode accordingly – handy for those times when there’s no time for manual adjustment.
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