In the latest DCR Workshop, I called Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds cameras "serious movie-making machines" because their large image sensors captured greater image depth and performed better in low light than many consumer HD camcorders. So it's unsurprising that Panasonic announced a dedicated Micro Four Thirds professional HD camcorder, the AF100, which will work with all available Micro Four Thirds lenses and sport a 4/3-inch, 16:9 MOS imager for H.264 AVCHD video.
While Panasonic did not announce pricing, CrunchGear.com estimates it to be about $6,000. Considering the specs and that Panasonic VP Joe Facchini said the target market is "film schools and independent filmmakers," the price seems about right. The AF100 will shoot 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p and 720/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p and supports global production standards by offering both 50Hz and 60Hz output modes.
The AF100 has a number of professional features, including built-in ND filtering and reduced video aliasing, HD-SDI out, HDMI, time code recording and a built-in stereo microphone. A USB 2.0 port, two SDXC card slots, two XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power capability, 48-kHz/16-bit two-channel digital audio recording and LPCM/Dolby-AC3 support will also be included when it's released later this year.