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Panasonic AG-AC130APJAVCCAM 1/3INCH HAND-HELD CAMCORDERVideo Camera with 22x Optical Zoom with 12.26-Inch LCD(Black)

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
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  • Turbo-Speed One-Push Auto Focus
  • Three independent adjustable rings for zoom, focus and iris
  • Four professional AVCCAM HD recording modes
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Technical Details

Product Description

1/3" 2.2-megapixel 3-MOS imager AVCCAM Hand-held Camcorder

Product Information

Product Dimensions 17.2 x 7.1 x 7.7 inches
Item Weight 11 pounds
Shipping Weight 12.4 pounds
Item model number AG-AC130APJ
Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
Customer Reviews
4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #1,449 in Camera & Photo > Camcorders
#189,550 in Electronics > Computers & Accessories
Date first available at Amazon.com October 31, 2011

Technical Specification

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

If this is your first journey into the professional camera realm, you will do yourself a great favor if you take the time to learn the functions this camera has and study how to set up the camera properly for the intended scene. Simply setting it on the automatic mode and pointing it at the subject will not yield the best image this camera has to offer. I have heard so many complaints about the auto-focus. Yes, it's slow. Most professionals would never use auto-focus, so it's a moot point in the pro shooter's world.

The Panasonic AG-AC130 camera is an upgrade from my current Panasonic AG-HMC40 which for half the price, is itself a decent camcorder. The first thing I noticed was the size. The AC130 is double the size and weight of the HMC40. I was content with the HMC40 in bright light. But the 40 isn't a great camcorder in low light. It gets grainy and chalky in a dimly lit room.

Outdoors, the AC130 offers a noticeably better image than the HMC40. It has a wider dynamic range, slightly better sharpness and less image artifacting than the smaller Panny. But it isn't a night and day difference. On a sunny day, you could match the image from the two camcorders fairly closely and only a pro could see the difference. Inside, however, it's a different story.

At zero db gain, the HMC40 produced a dark, unusable image in typical room light (a single 60 watt ceiling mounted light fixture). AT zero db, the AC130 produced a very usable but not bright image that was free of video grain. Blacks were pure black and the red sofa looked truly red with no visible grain in the image. Pumping both cameras up to 9 db yielded more usable images. The smaller Panny struggled with the light, but the image was usable.
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I've had the AC130 camera for 2 weeks. The long lens has allowed me to get those shots, both during live events and as a documentary photographer. I have an HMC150, I have an HMC40, and had used both DSLR's and P2 cameras. I film performances and documentaries. The dual SD card slots ensures that I get the footage. I once lost a $5000 shot due to a bad card on the HMC150. The controls on the AC130 are easier to use, and the three rings for iris, zoom, and focus make it a dream to shoot. It is bigger and heavier than the 150.

Many people are going to DSLR's for the larger imager that allows a shallower depth of field. I prefer the AC130. With HD, this camera's deeper depth of field helps keep moving shots in focus. If you're trying to shoot uncontrolled shots (documentary, news, events, etc.) then you lose more shots than you gain with a DSLR. I'd rather have a shot I can use that doesn't quite have that "35mm film look" than a slightly blurred shot with a DSLR. I guess if you're using actors and can take and retake shots, maybe a DSLR is a better choice.
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The Panasonic AG-AC130A is the perfect all around camcorder for run and gun pro use. It's big enough to look the part but light enough to use all day without fatigue. The camcorder uses twin SDHC cards which can be set up to record in sequence for longer recording time or they can record to both cards simultaneously for file back-up. The AVCHD format allows longer recording times than the Quicktime format while providing the same compression quality, but the trade-off is you must convert the files to Quicktime for use in Final Cut Pro. If you use Sony Vegas, you can drag and drop the files to your drive and edit the native AVCHD files right away.

The three 1/3 inch MOS chips provide excellent low light performance and super clean and sharp footage even in typical room lighting. They also provide truly rich and accurate colors beyond that of most DSLR's. You can manually dial in the exact color temperature in 100K increments. The lens has very wide angle and strong zoom at 22x optical zoom. Sharpness is good, but just a tad below the Leica series of lenses on their other camcorders. There are three independent rings for focus, manual zoom and manual iris control. Each ring has one function and there's no having to set a control to change ring functions. Focus is electronic, but it is super smooth even beyond a mechanical focus ring.

Film Makers smitten with low depth of field will have to shoot with the lens wide open and adjust the lighting and neutral density filters to obtain a film-like depth of field, but it is possible. There is a native 24P setting in both 1080 and 720 modes as well as cinema gamma for film like color and contrast. Dual XLR connectors mean you can do away with second system audio, saving countless hours of video sync in the editing suite.
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As much as i love the picture quality on a GH2, the AC130 is my first professional camcorder. I switched because of (1) dual card recording, make sure you use a fast enough SD card (2) manual stereo XLR audio control (3) longer battery life. In addition, having shot four events so far, for DVD purposes, I find gain 9db to be quite clean and usable. But for those who may want blu-rays where slight grains may be visible or have really really dark events, I would have to pull out my GH2+20mm+Videomic as backup. (4) Another thing I like is that you can set the left and right channel audio to be manual on one channel and auto on another, if ever needed. The more I use it, the more I use manual on both, with one slightly more than the other. (5) The red focus indicator i find more helpful than the center-enlargement that some cameras have. (6) the LCD is 1920x480 so although not as sharp as a full HD monitor, it does the job well. (7) the viewfinder is great too. (8) And i almost forgot, it produces a good DoF when zoomed into an object. So now I don't have to pull out a DSLR for those artistic shots, although I carry one just in case. (9) as far as picture quality, it's really sharp with proper focus, and the colors are vibrant with the right white balance. (10) the ND filters are very helpful, in that i don't need to put one on, but it's built in. (11) There's custom scene files you can create and I haven't even gotten the FREE Barry book yet, but it's in the mail. (12) so there's a lot more this camera can do that I haven't even begun to use yet.

My dislikes, would be (1) having to go to the menu to assign gain values for H,M,L instead of having a dial or quick button like the GH2.
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