When Panasonic brought out the new Micro Four Thirds format we could see the advantages for video users, the stability, the change in the field of views, and the price. When the GH1 - made for video - model came out with all the frame rates including 50 and 60 for a bit of slow motion we could see the DSLR revolution picking up speed.
But since then apart from the classic GF1 camera with AVCHD Lite (720p) that development speed at Panasonic consumer has been decreasing. All we've seen are the G2, no 1080p and the G10, not even AVCHD. Where is the GH2? Not this year comes the reply!
But then at NAB this year Panasonic cobbled together one of the ugliest cameras you've ever seen but with one of the most interesting specs, the AF100. Think GH1 but with professional specs.
The AF100 maximizes the potential of its high-resolution imager with built-in ND filtering and dramatically reduced video aliasing. Standard professional interfaces include HD-SDI out, HDMI, time code recording, built-in stereo microphone and USB 2.0. The AF100 features two XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power capability, 48-kHz/16-bit two-channel digital audio recording and supports LPCM/Dolby-AC3.
There isn't much more information on the AF100, not even which factory it's being built in. That information may have provided a clue to where the emphasis for the camera is coming from. In the UK the Panasonic Pro Sales Team hope that the price will be well below £6000 and maybe even down to around £3000.
The compression used will be AVCHD, which we still have reservations about but put their 100 Intra compression in there and Panasonic might be on to something.