The Panasonic HC-VX870 is what?
In Panasonic’s new 4K camcorder lineup, the HC-VX870 follows the HC-WX970 that we just evaluated.
The only significant difference between the specifications is the absence of a second “selfie” camera.
The HC-VX870 is now £250 cheaper, making it an even more accessible starting point for recording 4K video. You won’t likely miss the additional camera, though, in our opinion.
The HC-VX870K records 24MP still images in 4K at up to 30 frames per second and Full HD at up to 120 frames per second to media cards. The moniker “Twin Cam” refers to the device’s ability to wirelessly capture photos from a second camera.
A 3″ fold out touch panel LCD viewscreen and a built-in 20x zoom lens are included. The SanDisk 32GB UHS-1 media card has a U3 speed class rating, and the accessory kit’s battery matches the battery that came with your camera when it was first made available to you, giving you a total of two batteries.
The front element of your lens and your photos are both protected by the UV filter against UV haze. Your camera package may be transported and stored using the soft-sided shoulder bag, and a microfiber cleaning cloth is handy for keeping your optics clean.
Details and Features of the Panasonic HC-VX870
The basic specifications of the HC-VX870 and HC-WX970 are the same. A 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated CMOS sensor with 18.91 Megapixels is used to provide 4K resolution. However, only 8.29 megapixels or 6.1 megapixels are used while recording 4K video. Only the Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization and Intelligent Zoom utilize the additional pixels. In 4K mode, the latter increases the 20x optical to 25x, and in HD mode, to 40x.
Additionally, this sensor is identical to the one in the business-oriented HC-X1000E that we examined last year. It might seem a little in this era of DSLR video recording, but smaller sensor results in a more compact chassis with greater optical zoom ratios. Therefore, there are some benefits for the more consumer-focused user in addition to the drawbacks of poor light sensitivity and aesthetics.
Although the HC-X1000E
consumer models offer the slightly smaller, 16:9 aspect 3840 x 2160 resolution, or UHD-1, while professional models deliver 4K videos with a resolution of 4096 x 2160 (sometimes called “real 4K”). This can be scaled down to suit a 1080-line HDTV without letterboxing or cropping and is practically four times the resolution of Full HD. The highest available data rate for 4K, and the only one, is 72 Mbits/sec, which isn’t enough for professional 4K camcorders like the HC-1000E. But at this rate, a 64GB SDXC card will only be able to store about two hours of video, so you probably wouldn’t need much more space.
The secondary lens on the LCD screen’s edge is the one feature we found lacking when compared to the HC-WX970. In the more expensive model, this additional lens is utilized to simultaneously record the primary video and a picture-in-picture selfie with optional voice commentary. Although it’s a charming feature, we don’t really think it’s necessary for routine video production. Unless you’re extremely enamored with including yourself in the photo, it’s also not worth spending an additional £250 on.
HC-VX870 from Panasonic: Design, Controls, and Usability
The HC-WX970 still has all of its enthusiast features, which are perhaps more helpful. For an external stereo microphone and headphones, there are tiny jacks. Although there isn’t a permanent auxiliary shoe built into the camcorder body, a bracket that inserts into the back of the device to install a standard-sized shoe is provided in the package. Therefore, it is simple to attach video lighting, external shotgun microphones, and wireless mic receivers.
It’s unfortunate that Panasonic has stopped making the lens ring that we so adored on its top models from a few years back. The dial that takes its place next to the lens is still rather functional but is less understandable than the previous lens ring. You may choose between manual focusing, white balance, shutter, and iris by pressing the dial all the way in.
You may fully customize how your camcorder shoots by adjusting the picture sharpness and color settings, or you can select one of the Intelligent Auto modes for fantastic results with little human involvement.
Even the Wi-Fi capabilities of the HC-WX970 are retained by the HC-VX870. These offer a wide range of wireless access choices. The Panasonic smartphone app for iOS and Android allows you to operate some of its features remotely. You can also connect the camcorder to your home network to watch it remotely like a security camera or stream footage to a DLNA-compatible TV. Even the capability of direct streaming to a USTREAM account is available for live video streaming over the Internet.
HC-VX870 from Panasonic: Image Quality
The higher resolution of 4K is undoubtedly its most notable feature, as the HC-VX870 offers substantially more information in 4K mode than in HD. To truly see the difference, you’ll need a 4K monitor or TV that can showcase video at this quality in all its splendor. However, the HC-VX870 works admirably in the majority of shooting situations a consumer end user may need, producing a vivid and colorful image.
Similar to the HC-WX970, there is an HDR mode with two possibilities. Only shooting in HD format makes this work. Although the effect’s advantages can be seen in high contrast lighting conditions, it is not as noticeable as the HDR options featured on many digital stills cameras.
Comparing the HC-video VX870’s output to other consumer-level camcorders we have examined, it looks fantastic overall. With scarcely any grain and crisp pictures down to low levels of illumination, low-light performance is superb. A built-in video light is also available to assist, albeit its range is only somewhat longer due to its lack of power.
Is the Panasonic HC-VX870 a good investment?
The Panasonic HC-WX970 could be the most feature-rich 4K camcorder available for less than $1000. The HC-VX870 is a much better bargain, though.
If you don’t want the selfie camera feature, you can get the same camcorder and 4K picture quality for a lot less money, making it a far more alluring option for most buyers.
There are presently no good sub-£1,000 DSLRs that can shoot 4K video, despite the fact that you might yearn for a large-sensor DSLR because of its versatility in terms of lenses and ability to achieve cinematic narrow depth of focus. Therefore, the HC-VX870 is still supported by a strong case for the time being. It does capture gorgeous 4K video, is crammed with enthusiast features, and costs a reasonable £650.
Panasonic VX870 Specifications
|SENSOR FOR MAIN CAMERA||Image Sensor||1/2.3 type (1/2.3″) BSI MOS Sensor|
|Total Pixels||18.91 megapixels|
|Effective Pixels (Motion Image)||4K: 8.29 megapixels [16:9], Full-HD: 6.10 megapixels [16:9], Level Shot Function OFF or Normal|
|Effective Pixels (Still Image)||7.00 megapixels [3:2]/8.29 megapixels [16:9]/6.22 megapixels [4:3]|
|SENSOR FOR SUB CAMERA||Image Sensor||–|
|LENS FOR MAIN CAMERA||F Value||F1.8 (WIDE) / F3.6 (TELE)|
|Focal Length||4.08 – 81.6 mm|
|35 mm Film Camera Equivalent (Motion Image)||4K: 30.8 – 626 mm [16:9], Full-HD: 37.0 – 752 mm [16:9], Level Shot Function OFF or Normal|
|35 mm Film Camera Equivalent (Still Image)||34.5 – 690.3 mm [3:2]/30.8 – 626 mm [16:9]/37.6 – 752.8 mm [4:3]|
|Filter Diameter||49 mm|
|Lens Brand||Leica Dicomar Lens|
|LENS FOR SUB CAMERA||F Value||–|
|35 mm Film Camera Equivalent (Motion Image)||–|
|CAMERA SECTION||Standard Illumination||1400 lx|
|Minimum Illumination||2 lx (Scene Mode Low Light 1/25), 1 lx (Night Mode (Color)), 0 lx (Night Mode (IR))|
|Focus||Auto / Manual|
|Zoom||Intelligent Zoom OFF||20x|
|Intelligent Zoom ON||4K: 25x, Full-HD: 40x|
|Digital Zoom||60x / 1500x (The maximum value of zoom magnification can be set in two patterns)|
|White Balance||Auto / White Set / Sunny / Cloudy / Indoor1 / Indoor2|
|Shutter Speed||Motion Image||[50p / 50i]/Auto Slow Shutter ON : 1/25 – 1/8000/Auto Slow Shutter OFF : 1/50 – 1/8000|
|Still Image||1/2 – 1/2000|
|Iris||Auto / Manual|
|Image Stabilizer||HYBRID O.I.S.+ with Active Mode, O.I.S. Lock, Level Shot Function|
|Creative Control||Miniature Effect, Silent Movie, 8mm Movie, Time Lapse Rec|
|RECORDING SECTION||Recording Media||SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card|
|Recording Format||[AVCHD] AVCHD Progressive/[iFrame / MP4] MP4|
|Compression Method||MPEG-4 AVC/H.264|
|Recording/ Playback Mode||1080/50p (28Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080/50p)/PH (24Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080/50i)/HA (17Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080/50i)/HG (13Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080/50i)/HE (5Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080/50i)/MP4/2160p(72M) (72Mbps / VBR), (3840 x 2160/25p)/MP4/1080p(50M) (50Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080/50p)/MP4/1080p(28M) (28Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080/50p)/MP4/720p(9M) (9Mbps / VBR), (1280 x 720/25p)/iFrame (28Mbps / VBR), (960 x 540/25p)|
|Actual Recordable Time with Supplied Battery||Approx. 55 min (50p mode)/Approx. 55 min (PH mode)/Approx. 55 min (HA mode)/Approx. 55 min (HG mode)/Approx. 55 min (HE mode)/Approx. 50 min (MP4 50M)/Approx. 55 min (MP4 28M)/Approx. 1 h 00 min (MP4 720p)/Approx. 1 h 00 min (iFrame)/* Twin Camera OFF|
|Thumbnail Display||20 thumbnails/page, 9 thumbnails/page, 1 thumbnail/page|
|Audio Recording System||AVCHD: Dolby Digital (5.1ch / 2ch)/iFrame, MP4: AAC (2ch)|
|Microphone||5.1ch Surround, Zoom, Focus and Stereo Microphone|
|STILL IMAGE SECTION||Recording Format||JPEG (DCF/Exif2.2)|
|Recording Image Size||Still Image||[16:9] 25.9megapixels (6784 x 3816), 14 megapixels (4992 x 2808), 2.1 megapixels (1920 x 1080)/[3:2] 20 megapixels (5472 x 3648), 10.6 megapixels (3984 x 2656）, 2.0 megapixels (1728 x 1152)/[4:3] 20.4 megapixels (5216 x 3912), 10.9 megapixels (3808 x 2856), 0.3 megapixels (640 x 480)|
|Simultaneous Recording||2160p: [16:9] 20.4 megapixels (6016 x 3384), 8.3 megapixels (3840 x 2160)/Other than 2160p: [16:9] 14.0 megapixels (4992 x 2808), 2.1 megapixels (1920 x 1080)|
|GENERAL SECTION||Power Supply||3.6V (Battery) / 5.0V (AC Adaptor)|
|Power Consumption||Max. 7.1W (Recording) / Max. 7.7W (Charging)|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||Approx. 65 x 73 x 139 mm (2.559 x 2.874 x 5.472 inch)|
|Weight (w/o battery and SD card)||Approx. 353g (0.778 lb)|
|LCD Monitor||7.5cm (3″) Wide LCD monitor (460,800 dots)|
|Manual Ring / Dial||Yes (Dial)|
|Microphones (stereo mini)||Yes|
|Headphone (stereo mini)||Yes|
|LED Video Light||Yes|
|Accessory Shoe||Yes (cold)|
|Lens Cover||Yes (Auto)|
|On-Screen Display Language||English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Netherlandic, Turkish, Swedish|
|STANDARD ACCESSORY||AC Adaptor||Yes|
|DC Cable||Yes (USB Type)|
|Rechargeable Battery Pack||Yes (1,940mAh)|
|HDMI Cable||Yes (micro)|
|AV Multi Cable||–|
|Editing Software||HD Writer AE 5.2 (Download)|
The Panasonic HC-VX870 lowers the cost of 4K camcorder shooting to a new, manageable level of around £700.