If you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to shake the memory of a bulky grey, a tape-loaded device that only appeared at birthday parties and your child’s ballet recitals when you hear the word “camcorder.”
Though Panasonic is aware that the concept of a portable, feature-rich, lens-integrated footage capture device still has some use in the realm of modular filmmaking rigs today.
The HC-X1500 and HC-X2000 cameras from Panasonic were only just introduced. Both cater to a certain clientele looking for what a camcorder excels at: mobility, practical versatility, and convenience combined.
The HC-1500X is capable of a vlogger or independent filmmaker while also being professional. Which characteristics stand out? First off, it’s compact and lightweight (1.5kg with the handle). No other camera I’ve used has ever lasted this long in my hand without causing my arm to go to sleep.
Second, it can record 4K 60p video, which is certainly not a first for Panasonic but is nonetheless an important feature for a camera aimed at professionals like journalists and documentary filmmakers. The 24x optical zoom on it will also satisfy even the most meticulous private investigator (extending to 32x in 4K or 48x in FHD with i.Zoom). 4K at 60p is captured by the 1/2.5-inch sensor.
The first time I saw the camera’s neat image on a computer, I was really impressed. Even at the very end of the 24x zoom range, the five-axis hybrid optical image stabilization offers highly useful handheld footage.
Depending on your tastes, there are a few different ways to use the HC-X1500 ergonomically. When utilizing manual focus (MF), one of the two front rings controls the focus, while the other may handle a wide range of settings, including zoom.
In addition, the autofocus is excellent and does a good job of tracking faces. The HC-X1500 lens zooms out to a wide 25mm, which is perfect whether you’re up close and personal with your interview subject or filming a dramatic landscape video.
There are two SD card slots, so you won’t quickly run out of room. The detachable handle unit has two XLR inputs and two SDI and HDMI outputs, both of which may convey integrated audio. For shotgun or condenser microphones, 48V phantom power can be used.
Gain may be manually or automatically set using a rotary dial. For a close-up interview in a somewhat dark area, the handle contains a built-in, extremely bright LED with adjustable brightness that will save you from problems.
The HC-X1500 enables 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording for 59.94p/50p video at a bit rate of up to 200 Mbps. 120/100 frames per second, 10-bit, FHD can be used to capture slow motion. In addition to the standard MOV and MP4 codecs, 720p AVCHD recording is available.
Unquestionably, the HC-X1500 is a fun camera to use because of its small size. Yes, this camcorder may seem a little toy-like to those used to broadcast or box cameras, but after using it consistently for a few days, you’ll come to appreciate its weight and mobility. I think it’s the ideal piece of equipment for independent journalists capturing run-and-gun video.
When the handle, LED microphone, and external shotgun are all fastened on, you have a self-contained unit that can easily handle interviews and b-roll. Remember that the 1/2.5-inch sensor struggles to capture details in low light, and many interior shooting scenarios result in pixelated, grainy images.
In light of this, the HC-X1500 excels in outdoor applications, offering the greatest level of detail and color vibrancy. Unless you’re filming a documentary on sunspots, no scene will be too bright for the camera thanks to the four built-in ND filters.
Any camcorder will require some menu sleuthing, and the HC-X1500 is no exception. If you have thin fingers, the 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen is snappy and simple to use; if not, not so much.
Another quick method to navigate the menu is to use the push-button scroll wheel located behind the lens. The time you’ll save by not having to wade through menus is certainly worth the effort it takes to assign the five user buttons to relevant tasks.
A really amazing feature of the HC-X1500 is the ability to live broadcast directly from it. It’s not exactly a grab-and-go setup, though. To connect the camera to your wifi and configure it for streaming to a website like Facebook or YouTube, follow the instructions in a Panasonic YouTube video.
The streaming key must be loaded into the camera through an SD card using a Panasonic program called P2 Network Settings, which is only available for Windows. For Mac users like myself, the alternative is to manually enter the streaming key and URL for your live broadcast, which is time-consuming and irritating on the tiny touchscreen.
However, once it is up and running, live streaming with the HC-X1500 is a complete delight and breathtakingly simple – it requires no connections, capture cards, or additional equipment. The capacity of your network may be accommodated by a variety of bitrate options.
Additionally useful is wireless tablet control. This allows you to control the majority of camera settings, and the app provides a few different angles so you can see your image clearly at all times. If you’re controlling several cameras scattered over a room from one location, it will undoubtedly be helpful.
For its size, the Panasonic HC-X1500 is a delight to use and provides results that are really professional. Obviously, a camcorder has fewer capabilities than an MFT or mirrorless camera. I missed the Lumix GH5S’s far better low-light performance because of the HC-small X1500 sensor.
Additionally, a mirrorless or MFT camera doesn’t have a built-in 24x zoom, LED light, or ND filters, won’t accept audio inputs through XLR and requires battery replacements much more frequently even while it allows for lens swapping, produces better stills, and produces more cinematic views.
In today’s world of video production, the camcorder still has a place, and Panasonic has placed the HC-X1500 high on the list of competitors.
Panasonic X1500 Specifications
|Sensor Resolution||Actual: 8.57 Megapixel|
Effective: 8.29 Megapixel
|Sensor Type||1/2.5″-Type MOS Sensor|
|Image Stabilization||Optical in Integrated Lens|
|Built-In ND Filter||Mechanical Filter Wheel with Clear, 2 Stop (1/4), 4 Stop (1/16), 6 Stop (1/64) ND Filters|
|Capture Type||Stills & Video|
|Shutter Type||Not Specified by Manufacturer|
|Shutter Speed||1/8000 to 1/6 Second|
|Gain||0 to 30 dB|
|Minimum Illumination||1.5 Lux at 1/30 Shutter Speed|
|White Balance||2000 to 15,000K|
|Focal Length||4.1 to 98.9mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 25 to 600mm)|
|Optical Zoom Ratio||24x|
|Max Digital Zoom||48x|
|Optical Design||14 Elements in 11 Groups|
|Minimum Focus Distance||Wide: 0.3′ / 0.1 m|
Telephoto: 3.9′ / 1.2 m
|Filter Size||62 mm|
|Internal Recording Modes||AVCHD/MOV/MP4 4:2:0 10-Bit|
3840 x 2160 up to 50/59.94 fps
1920 x 1080p up to 50/59.94/119.88 fps
AVCHD/MOV/MP4 4:2:2 10-Bit
3840 x 2160 at 25/29.97 fps
1920 x 1080p at 25/29.97/50/59.94 fps
|Built-In Microphone Type||Stereo|
|Audio Recording||MOV: 2-Channel 24-Bit LPCM Audio|
MP4: 2-Channel 24-Bit AAC Audio
AVCHD: 2-Channel 24-Bit AC-3 Audio
|IP Streaming||RTMP, RTP, RTSP|
320 x 180 to 1920 x 1080 at 25p, 30p, 50p, 60p (0.5 to 24.00 Mb/s)
Still Image Capture
|Image File Format||JPEG|
|Media/Memory Card Slot||Dual Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) [U3/V30 or Faster Recommended]|
|Video I/O||1 x HDMI Output|
|Audio I/O||1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Stereo Headphone Output|
|Power I/O||1 x Barrel (12 VDC) Input|
|Other I/O||1 x Micro-USB Input|
1 x 2.5 mm Sub-Mini Output
|Wireless||2.4 GHz Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n)|
|Global Positioning (GPS, GLONASS, etc.)||None|
|Display Type||Articulating Touchscreen LCD|
|Type||Built-In Electronic (LCD)|
|Focus Type||Auto and Manual Focus|
|Focus Mode||Automatic, Manual Focus|
|Operating Temperature||32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C|
|Operating Humidity||10 to 80%|
|Battery Type||Panasonic AG-VBR Series|
|Power Consumption||7.9 W|
|Tripod Mounting Thread||1/4″-20 Female|
|Accessory Mount||1 x Intelligent Hot Shoe|
|Built-In Video Light||No|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||10.1 x 5.1 x 3.7″ / 257 x 129 x 93 mm (Without Handle)|
|Weight||2.65 lb / 1.2 kg|
|Package Weight||5.05 lb|
|Box Dimensions (LxWxH)||12.8 x 11.1 x 8.38″|