Monday, April 14, 2008

Live from NAB (Part 1)

I'm blogging from the show floor at NAB (the North Hall, to be precise.) It's too early for me to make any generalizations about announcements at the show, but the sound and fury is coming thick and fast in the camcorder world:
  • Panasonic announced five new camcorders: Two top-end Varicam models (including one that uses P2 flash storage exclusively), an update of the prosumer HVX200, a higher-end HPX170 model and the HMC150, a prosumer AVCHD camcorder that should (at least in theory, based on its compression bitrate) match or exceed HDV quality.
  • Sony announced US availability of the PDW-700, a XDCAM HD (optical disc) model, along with a preanouncement of the PMW-EX3, the next model in the highly-regarded XDCAM EX (flash-based, using the SxS format) family. The EX3 will feature interchangeable lenses, addressing perhaps the biggest drawback of the EX1. (The EX3 also looks as though it will be better balanced in the hand than the EX1, addressing the other major complaint.)
  • Red fired off a couple of preannouncements: Scarlet, a 3K handheld camcorder expected to be priced under $3K, and Epic, a next-generation 5K camcorder expected to be priced in the $40K range. At this point, both products are scheduled for release in "early 2009," with features, specifications and prices highly likely to change.

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