Announced Monday, the HX-A500 is reputedly the very first lightweight, strap-on camcorder capable of filming in 25-frame-per-second 4K resolution.
The gold standard for lightweight action cams -- the Go Pro -- can shoot in ultra-high definition, but not at the same frame rate as the Panasonic. It means that although the resulting images are crystal clear and of astounding resolution, they're only good if, when it comes to action, you're a fan of John Woo movies or "The Matrix."
Being able to shoot at 25 frames per second, the Panasonic is a fast as the cinema standard for moving images.
The action cam is the first to offer 4K video recording at 25 frames per second. Photo: AFP
Frame rate can also be cranked up to 50 or even 100 frames a second for detailed, blur-free slow motion. However, each increase in frame rate means a reduction in resolution.
Shooting at 100 frames per second is in 720p HD and shooting at 200 frames per second, if absolutely necessary, is possible in standard definition.
Panasonic has chosen an interesting form factor for the HX-A500. It is a two-piece device (connected via a cable) consisting of a lens and a control unit that can be worn on separate parts of the body or separate parts of a surfboard, skateboard or motorbike.
So, like the publicity video suggests, the lens can be head mounted and the body strapped to an arm. Splitting the device in two also makes hands-on operation easier, as the control buttons and a small LCD screen are built into the control unit.
And, for even extra flexibility, it will connect to a smartphone instead and use its screen as a viewfinder instead. And it is sufficiently water resistant to withstand being submerged in up to 3 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
The action cam goes on sale in May in Europe, priced €429.