Panasonic's new action cam trumps GoPro with better 4K

4K capability on a Panasonic wearable camcorder

Panasonic has announced the HX-A500, a new wearable camcorder capable of shooting 4K resolution video at 25fps (frames per second).

Like the earlier HX-A100 that established the line-up, the HX-A500 is waterproof and dustproof. However, the new camera can survive depths of 3 metres for 30 minutes rather than its predecessor's 1.5 metres.

The HX-A500 comes in two sections that are connected via a cable. The main operating unit weighs approximately 119 grams, but the camera section weighs just 31 grams, enabling it to be worn on the head for filming daring adventures from a first-person perspective.

Panasonic has added a new 1.5-inch LCD monitor to the HX-A500's main body to enable the camera's view to be seen during filming. There's also an NFC (Near Field Communication) chip to allow speedy connections to be made to NFC-enabled smartphones and tablets. This complements Panasonic's Image App, which enables video to be recorded remotely and then shared via the usual social media channels or broadcast live via UStream.

Panasonic HXC A500

The body section has an LCD screen for composing scenes

The camera also features Image Stabilisation to reduce blur and a Levelling Correction function that automatically detects when the recording is at a tilt and corrects the final footage.

GoPro beater?

Inside the HX-A500 is a back-illuminated sensor to improve low-light shooting capability, and Panasonic's Crystal Engine Pro+ processing engine. These combine to enable the camera to capture 4K video at 25fps, which is four times the resolution of Full HD.

In comparison, the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition can only shoot 4K video at 15fps (NTSC) or 12.5fps (PAL), so the Panasonic camera's footage is likely to be smoother on playback.

Similar to the GoPro, the HX-A500 can also shoot at three speeds for slow-mo playback: 200fps (848x480); 100fps (1280x720) and 50fps (1920x1080).

All the gear

Panasonic has also announced a new collection of accessories for use with the HX-A500, including a head mount for the camera section and an armband for the main body. There's also a clip mount, a multi-belt and a multi-case, plus an optional wind-jammer attachment to reduce the noise recorded when shooting high-speed activities.

The Panasonic HX-AS500 is set to go on sale from May 2014, and will be priced at £379.99.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Head of Testing, Cameras

Angela (Twitter, Google+, website) is head of testing for Future's photography portfolio, writing and overseeing reviews of photographic equipment for Digital Camera, Photography Week, PhotoPlus, NPhoto and Practical Photoshop as well as TechRadar's cameras channel. Angela has a degree in photography and multimedia and prior to joining Future in October 2010 was Amateur Photographer magazine's technical editor.