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Panasonic HC-WXF991K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder with Wi-Fi, Built with Multi Scene Twin Camera (Black)
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- Ultra-sharp 4K Ultra HD recording, plus in-camera editing for 1080p displays
- Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) emulates a semi-professional recording experience
- LEICA Decoma Lens optical 20x zoom, 5-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization
- Built-in Twin Camera, plus Wi-Fi mobile features add multi-camera scene picture-in-picture recording
- 4K Cinema in-camera editing and effects (Dolly Zoom, Slow/Quick motion, 4K Post Cropping, Stabilization and Zoom)
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|Battery Type||Lithium Ion|
|Included Components||Camcorder, Battery, AC Adaptor, DC Cable, HDMI Cable, USB Cable, Editing Software|
|Item Dimensions||3 x 2.7 x 6.4 inches|
|Item Weight||0.89 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||1 Watt Hour|
|Lithium Battery Voltage||3.6 Volts|
|Media Format Digital Video||SD|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Shipping Weight||1.9 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||Panasonic VW-VBT190/VW-VBT380|
|Video Capture Resolution||other|
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This item Panasonic HC-WXF991K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder with Wi-Fi, Built with Multi Scene Twin Camera (Black)
|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Screen Size||3 in||3 in||3 in||3.5 in||3 in||3.5 in|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CMOS||CMOS||CMOS||CMOS||CMOS||CCD|
|Video Capture Resolution||other||other||—||4K||other||4K|
The Panasonic WXF991 is the pinnacle of hand-held 4K video capture, featuring several in-camera cinema creative and editing solutions that can enable anyone to capture and produce like a pro. For those without 4K display options, the WXF991 offers in-camera down sampling to 1080p Full HD displays. Enjoy multi-camera scene picture-in-picture recording via a second built-in camera, or add a Wi-Fi link to a mobile device camera to increase creative possibilities.
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I can't wait for Panasonic 4K cams to come down in price!!
Extremely solid construction
The Panasonic optics are fantastic (this model does not use the Leica Dicomar optics built into the 4k models).
Over 6 million effective pixels on the sensor.
Every bit the 1080/60p you would expect. Tried-and-true AVCHD format with 5.1ch surround sound is fantastic, looks just as good as MP4/H.265 only with MUCH smaller file sizes and vastly more recording time on a memory card. Oh, and 5.1ch surround, which MP4/H.265 doesn't give you, though you can record in stereo MP4 if you wish.
Not just 1080/60fps, but can do 120fps slow-motion with capability of 240fps interpolated slow-motion.
The files produced by the camera are compatible with all leading video editing software products, such as Corel VideoStudio and Cyberlink PowerDirector.
Basic and Advanced user manuals.
Very sturdy construction, quite a beast for the money.
Visual real-time surround sound level monitoring on LCD while recording.
A lot of different ways this camera can be put to use, especially if you like to play with gimmicky stuff.
You get to use the 5.1ch surround mic because the camera itself is so quiet (quiet focus, quiet OIS, no cooling fans).
No cooling fan means no extra noise produced by the camera, no additional moving parts, and longer battery life.
Even on a warm summer night, the camera never heated up during a non-stop recording of 30 minutes in 1080p/60.
Zoom speed is adequate, and seems to be somewhat faster than older models I've owned.
Hybrid OIS works fantastic, amazingly rock solid. Panasonic always has the best OIS.
Any 49mm sun shade fits right onto the threads (why not included like other 2 models?)
Any 49mm filters/accessories can be used with this camera.
Panasonic, in my experience, records color much more accurately than other brands in normally-lit conditions.
Excellent low light performance with insanely sensitive 1-lux color night mode (not infrared night vision, however)
A whopping 24-megapixel dedicated still camera mode that works extremely well.
A 12-megapixel photo snapping capability while simultaneously shooting video.
HDR does work quite well, I expect this technology to be default functionality on all cameras over the next few years.
It has the external microphone and headphone jacks everyone is always asking for.
Charges via any USB power source, including portable USB phone chargers.
Battery charging is surprisingly fast, I charged the battery 3 times from a small portable USB phone charger.
A camera function wheel up front for quick settings changes, which allows you to skip having to drill down in the LCD menus.
Tripod mounting threads on bottom (with metal threads).
A rear-mounted shoe adapter.
A very sturdy automatic lens cover.
Built-in camera light doubles as flash and flood.
Orange peel style finish/coating/texture provides for solid grip of camera.
The camera can run from any USB power source.
Comes with Panasonic's "HD Writer AE 5.2" software for basic editing and DVD/BluRay creation, which includes basic transitions, titles, backgrounds, etc.
Not 4K, which means camera runs cool, file sizes are small/SD cards fill up slower, batteries last longer, computers wont be brought to their knees under the processing load, and no need to replace your computer, TV, receiver, etc with 4K compatible gear for a resolution that makes no sense on screens smaller than gigantic drive-in theaters (which only use 2K).
I was stunned to discover that there is a slight fish-eye effect in the recordings this camera produces - a huge disappointment.
All prosumer/mid-range Panasonic camcorders have white balance issues in low-light conditions that force you to know how to make a quick manual adjustment to keep color from being washed out (fully explained below).
WiFi/second camera feature and facial recognition are useless gimmicks nobody ever uses, needlessly making the camera larger, heavier, MUCH harder on the battery, and more expensive.
Second camera functionality requires a proprietary app to be loaded on your phone/tablet, which will ultimately become outdated/incompatible as phone technology advances.
Only the Basic User's Manual comes with the camera, the Advanced User's Manual, which is required for you to really know how to properly use this camera, has to be downloaded from the Panasonic web site's "Support" section.
This camera is not pocket-able - it's notably larger and heavier compared to past models like the brilliant HDC-SD60.
This camera has no mounts for any kind of neck strap - get used to carrying it (see my comments about the hand strap below).
Panasonic packaged inadequate batteries for this camera - additional/extended-capacity batteries strongly recommended.
An extended battery (consider this a requirement for this camera) makes the camera notably longer and heavier.
Panasonic name-brand batteries are very expensive - thankfully, affordable aftermarket batteries are available.
VERY unpleasant surprise that my HDC-SD60 never did to me: After spraying some "Deep Woods Off" all over myself in a ferocious mosquito environment, I discovered that the plastic housing was actually melting under my hand because of the chemicals in the insect repellent, leaving permanent and very visible cosmetic damage. Wash all chemicals off hands before use.
Battery life drops considerably with each feature you enable, such as Hybrid OIS, and even much more so with HDR - the extremely inadequate included battery only lasts a real-world 45 min if you use zoom and OIS with any regularity, and that's without HDR, so buy several extended capacity batteries, which last a real-world 2.5 hours, 3 hours if you lay off the zoom, OIS and HDR.
HDR works great, but it will knock your battery life down by 10-15% on top of anything you are already doing.
External microphone jack is poorly placed, stereo only - should have been doubled up inside the charging port along with headphone jack.
Headphone jack is poorly placed on side bottom and I've had to close the little access door several times after it easily got brushed open.
Headphones have notable processing delay compared to what's actually happening in real-time (recordings are not affected, however).
Yet another Panasonic camcorder that uses Panasonic's notoriously weak hand strap that needs to be hand sewn to strengthen it to keep in from breaking (this same strap literally fell apart on my HDC-SD60 right after purchasing it) - there are only a few very weak stitches of very thin thread that are keeping that larger, heavier camera from flying off of your hand.
The hand strap comes directly out of the sides of the camera and cannot be replaced without camera disassembly (voiding the warranty).
Proprietary USB charging cable - you're screwed if anything happens to it on a vacation and it's all you brought with you.
Lens/filter adapter threads are plastic, not metal, and only 3 threads deep - guaranteed to wear out quickly if used regularly, so I will be permanently fitting a metal-threaded step-up ring to the camera to preserve the threads.
Does not come with sun shade even though any 49mm sun shade fits right onto the threads.
Pretty much any stacked filters or sun shade arrangement will protrude at enough of an angle to either cut into the video or block frontal sound to the 5.1 mic, so options are pretty limited.
Photograph button a little too far back for natural fit to normal-sized hands.
Out of 250 clips I shot on a vacation to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons, two of the files were rejected by Corel VideoStudio Pro X9 Ultimate as being corrupted or somehow out of compliance. Thankfully, the files were accepted by CyberLink PowerDirector 14 Ultimate, which I used to convert/fix the files to bring back into VSX. Not sure what this was all about, but it's got me a bit nervous now. I do NOT want to be fearful of corrupted files by any camcorder, the memories are just to precious to lose. Hopefully it's just an SD card issue. Most importantly, I was able to recover the two files with a little ingenuity.
Only 20x optical zoom, which is much lower compared to competing products such as the Canon Vixia's 32x optical zoom (maybe if all that useless WiFi crap wasn't in the way...)
WiFi gimmick makes the camera that much more of a battery hog - just disable it.
The camera function wheel is a bit tedious at first, requiring a bit of practice to make quick settings changes.
The rear mounted shoe adapter may require an additional adapter to keep accessories from blocking zoom/photo controls.
The tripod mount is way too far forward, even without a battery hanging off the back of the camera.
Built in camera light is LED and looks like you're shooting video with a crappy keychain flashlight.
When the unit is turned off but in Quick Power-On mode, a connected battery is still (very slowly) discharging.
Orange peel style finish/coating/texture will wear smooth over time, which will be noticeable as opposed to the old chrome/smooth surfaces of past camcorders that didn't do this (such as the HDC-SD60).
Whereas turning Hybrid-O.I.S. mode on and off was a simple button on top of the camera on past models like the brilliant HDC-SD60, the V770 forces you to dig down into the menus to turn this feature on and off. Hybrid-OIS is a feature that Panasonic obviously assumes you just want to leave on at all times. And as much as I hate to admit it, this camera probably requires it anyway and you just may as well leave it turned on.
It might not be very pocket-able, and it might be a brick to carry, but the trade-off is that this thing is a seriously solid and satisfying piece of combat-ready hardware that makes all my other camcorders feel like fragile little toys. If Hummer (or Bruce Wayne) built a camcorder, this is what it would look and feel like, complete with some notable cool factor to its appearance. If the big one goes off, there will be two things left alive on this planet - cockroaches and this camera.
If you set for AVCHD 1080/60p with 5.1 surround sound, you will get 5h:35m of recording out of a 64GB SD card.
General note about video editing, particularly blu-ray authoring: Every camera on the market can shoot 1080/60P video. The problem is that you will not be producing a 1080/60P bluray. Shockingly, 1080/60p is not part of the bluray standard. For BluRay, you'll have to settle for 1080/60i or 720/60P. You don't get 1080/60P for bluray authoring. You can, however, create 1080/60P AVCHD 2.0 discs, which most all modern players play just like BluRays, including menus, etc.
The battery that comes with the camera will only give you about 45 min of recording if normal zooming and additional features are used and you are shooting in 1080/60p/surround.
If you get the extended battery, you will get 3h:15m out of it if you're not zooming or using extra features (like HDR). I consider the extended battery a 2.5hr battery for general use, and this camera's battery usage will pretty much force you to buy at least one of these larger batteries. Know that extended batteries also add notable length and weight to this camera.
If you have a fairly steady hand, and except for extreme stabilization needs, Hybrid OIS should be turned off (so that it's just in regular mechanical OIS mode) for wider FOV inclusion into the recording and better battery life. For those that don't know, digital stabilization means automatically zooming in a little bit more (at the processing level, you have no control over this) so that the processor can crop the edges of what you're recording, allowing it to use digital motion tracking to center the content before it hits the SD card. Optical stabilization (mechanically "floating" the lens with gyros and/or magnets) doesn't cut into your recording like this, but it is limited to light duty stabilization and can't stabilize extreme motion like digital can. Hybrid OIS is having both enabled simultaneously, which is miraculously rock solid, even rivaling a legit Steady-Cam system, but at the cost of some edge-cropping and quicker battery drainage due to additional processing.
The biggest issue with this camera, thankfully, is easily and quickly remedied - the infamous Panasonic white balance issue. I'll first explain this issue and then tell you how to easily and quickly manage it, a trick that is required to shoot in low light if you want to keep your color from washing out. Even though Panasonic's low-light performance is fantastic in iA mode (including a fantastic 1-lux night mode), all mid-range/prosumer Panasonic camcorders have a long-running (and embarrassing) white balance problem in low light that washes out the color - and washes it out badly. For example, with the camera in iA mode, aim it at a campfire at night. That red/orange glow will soon (1-15 seconds average) turn totally white and all surroundings turn blue as the camera becomes confused by assuming that all bright lights at night are supposed to be white (a MAJOR programming blunder that Panasonic has refused to fix throughout its entire mid-range camera product line for many years). The results can be tragically extreme, and the camera never recovers on its own unless you walk back into brightly-lit surroundings. This can ruin an entire shoot. But rather than fixing the problem, Panasonic adds "features" like little wheels and LCD menu options for manual white balance adjustments, such as all the scene modes behind the "SCN" button in the LCD menus (so much for any true "forget about it" iA mode). HOWEVER, it is VERY easy to keep this problem from happening with a quick setting tweak using the front settings wheel, a tweak which you absolutely MUST know if you want to keep your color from washing out in general low-light settings, such as amusement parks at night or indoors: Just use the front wheel to quickly change WB (white balance) to Sunny or Cloudy mode (I find them to most always work better than the "Indoor 1/2" modes). This will properly restore color back into proper warmer tones instead of the washed out color you'd otherwise be getting in full iA mode. I have found this particular quick setting tweak to work well in nearly all low-light conditions, indoors or out, and it only takes a mere two seconds to make the tweak. However, when things get REALLY dark, this quick fix will not work and you will need to either master your exposure settings or shift back over to full iA mode to restore brightness at the cost of proper color. In all other properly lit conditions, iA mode seems to work wonderfully. If you have an additional second or two, there is also a manual white balance setting (also accessible via the settings wheel) that allows you to aim the camera at a while object and calibrate from that as well, which means there is no environment you cannot get proper color.
In the event you find that you accidentally shot some low-light video without bothering to do the white balance trick, and the color isn't as good as you'd like it, most modern video processing products, such as Corel's VideoStudio and CyberLink's PowerDirector (both products are well under $100), have many different filters, effects, and adjustments that go a long way - if not all the way - in fixing the video.
I put this camera in my shopping cart when it was $497, and when i went to purchase it 2 days later, it was at $597 (yesterday). Fearing I'd have to wait another month for the price to come back down (like another reviewer stated in here), I made the order so as to not be without a camera that long. Well, today, the day after I made the order, it is back down to $497, so I just wasted $100. The price on this camera is a roller coaster ride form day to day, so make sure it's at $497 when you go to actually order it.
From solid first-hand experience: Manually sew that cheapo hand strap to strengthen up the stitching or you risk having it fall apart on you at the worst possible time. The actual woven straps that extend from the camera body do not extend all the way through the strap - they end right after passing under the first stitching of the hand pads. I narrowly escaped a disaster because of this when this very same strap came apart on my Panasonic HDC-SD60 at an amusement park right before climbing onto a roller coaster. It was under no stress at the time - it came apart on me as I was standing still in line. I wouldn't trust it under any circumstances until the stitching is reinforced.
Because this camera has the capacity to accept filters (which I'm really excited about), I did a lot of research on the subject of "mandatory video camera filters you absolutely must have". Since it was so surprisingly simple, I decided on the following as the best price-vs-quality filter setup is as follows:
1. The absolute best B+W clear filter, permanently mounted directly over lens with a 49mm-58mm step-up ring (sadly, even this top-of-the-line multi-coated filter produces slight blur around the edges, even with the huge step-up ring)
2. B+W CPL filter.
3. Tiffen Neutral Density Kit on stand-by for rare moments when ND would be needed (from what I've researched, dedicated real NDs are vastly superior to the expensive, overrated, and problematic variable NDs, which are actually just mutually opposing CPLs that rotate).
The camera's plastic filter threads will forever be protected by the 49mm-58mm step-up ring, which will never be removed. The UV and CPL filters are basically for quality video and lens/automatic cover protection from impact, dust, and scratches. Beyond that, and for my needs, I don't bother with color filters, etc - that's what post-processing software like VideoStudio and PowerDirector are for.
Overall: Absolutely fantastic camera for the price, great features (really excited about HDR), but you will not be allowed to be lazy by just leaving it in full auto (iA) if you're expecting to keep proper color in low light conditions, and you will be forced to buy more batteries (extended batteries strongly recommended) to not only use the powerful features of this camera that make the additional extended batteries well worth it, but actually restoring the camera to a state of "how it should have been sold in the first place".
5 stars for the following reasons: I consider everything to start out as 5-star until I find big enough faults. This camera would stay at 5 stars if it wasn't for the infamous "Panasonic doesn't give a damn" white balance issue that plagues their whole camcorder line, the crappy hand strap quality issue, being packaged with such an inadequate battery, and being too big and heavy to be pocket-able with no way to mount a neck strap (forcing you to carry it), which knocks this camera down to 3 stars. However, I am restoring a star for high quality (and surprisingly rugged) construction with serious cool factor. I am restoring yet another star for the revolutionary HDR quality function that allows it to record in ways that no other camcorder can record, and for the threaded filter/accessory capability that allows for perfect and creative video recording under any circumstance. And finally, a solid and well-earned 5 stars for being able to record quality video the likes of which no other mid-range camcorder can by a longshot - which is what it's actually all about, right?
Recommended: Buy with confidence, just learn that one simple white balance trick (mentioned above) to be able to use it in low light, which will save the day every time. In my opinion, and after much research, this is by far the best camera for the money. I'm sure the 4K models of this camera also fit most all of the descriptions above with little variation.
If this camera is an indicator/harbinger, Panasonic seems to be increasingly relying on digital stabilization and moving away from mechanical stabilization, at least in the sense that mechanical stabilization may not be very effective anymore. Digital stabilization makes everything rock solid (at the cost of video cropping and battery life), but mechanical-only stabilization isn't as robust/refined as previous models, such as the HDC-SD60. It seems more crude now. "Micro-jitter" (as I call it) remains when the camera is held still, Hybrid-OIS is turned off, and mechanical stabilization is still enabled. Since this tiny jitter happens at a much higher speed than any shake that my hand would produce, it has me starting to believe that the mechanical stabilization mechanism itself may be producing this tiny jitter. If so, this would be not only surprisingly self-defeating, but to serious enthusiasts, possibly unacceptable. In my older cameras I never enabled Hybrid OIS unless I was on a roller coaster. This camera has me needing to enable it more often, which is a clumsy process because this setting is not accessible with the settings wheel or any quick menu. It occurrs to me that this camera may have even been designed with the intent to just simply leave it enabled at all times, which would be really annoying to me because it means a cropped/smaller FOV hitting the SD card and ultimately in my finished product. I think a mechanical-only stabilization test on a tripod will really tell me if the mechanical OIS is flawed and if I must simply leave the video-cropping, battery-eating Hybrid-OIS turned on indefinitely. If so, it does work extremely well. Just at a cost. I just wish I could select how much stabilization I do or don't want.
Another issue I have just noticed now that I am starting to edit the video I've been shooting over the last month, and I must admit, it is another unpleasant discovery: fish-eye effect in the recordings. It is slight, but notable. None of my previous cameras had this, so I'm not all that happy about it and listing it as a definite "con". And a huge one.
After putting this camera through some rugged testing on roller coasters and other theme park attractions that my trusty Panasonic HDC-SD60 has been handling for the last 5 years, I have decided that the V770 is not the best camera for this purpose whereas I originally hoped it was. The problems lie in two major areas:
1. Even with Hybrid-OIS turned on, this camera is still producing video that is not nearly as stable as the Panasonic HDC-SD60 when in severe jerky conditions such as on a roller coaster. This is a huge disappointment. And even with Hybrid-OIS turned on, I'm still detecting slight jitter in the recording (I have just a tad bit of shake to my hands). There should be absolutely NONE of this happening under normal circumstances, especially with Hybrid-OIS turned on.
2. File corruption. On average, if I load up a 64 gigabye SD card with about 300 video clips, at least 2 or 3 of those files will be corrupt. This is a consistent problem with the camera, though it is possible to fix the files using CyberLink PowerDirector. But I shouldn't have to.
These is an epic disappointment because I bought this camera for 5.1 surround sound with strong video stability in rough-and-tumble action settings like family vacations.
As much as I hate to say it, the stability issue alone had me jump on Ebay to see if I could find another brand new Panasonic HDC-SD60, long since discontinued. I lucked out and found one being sold new in the box, and bought it dirt cheap. I now once again have a trusty, small, lightweight, pocketable, bullet-proof, ultra-stable "roller coaster" camera that hopefully will serve me well for another 5 years like the last one. The V770 will still be used for everything else.
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