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Panasonic Announces Wearable HX-A500 4K Consumer Camera

Panasonic has its sights set on the market dominated by GoPro with the coming introduction of a wearable 4K camera, the HX-A500. Tethered to a small recording device with controls and a 1.5-inch color LCD display, the even more compact lens unit weighs a little more than an ounce, the company said.

The camera records MPEG-4 AVC HD UHD (3840×2160) at 30fps, 1920×1080 at 60fps, 1280×720 at 120fps or 848×480 at 240fps. The sensor is a 1/2.3-inch BSI sensor, and the lens has a maximum 160-degree field of view for wide-angle shots. Few specifics were available in the official press release, or on the company's U.S. website, but more information was available at the listing for the European version of the camera (the A500E, versus the A500H) on the company's U.K. website. The A500E records UHD 25p video at a variable bit rate with a maximum of 72 Mbps, 1920×1080 50p at a maximum 28 Mbps, 1920×1080 25p and 1280×720 50p both at an average of 15 Mbps, and 1280×720 25p at an average of 9 Mbps. Presumably the specs for 30p and 60p recording will be similar.

Panasonic will also offer accessories for the camera, including the VW-HMA100 head mount (pictured) and other mounts allowing attachment to tripods, clothing, and bicycle handlebars, as well as a slip-on "wind jammer" for reducing wind noise when recording.

Will it be good enough for pro use? Maybe. Watch this annotated TV spot to see how cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, ASC, integrated wildly different camera types (including the $400 GoPro Hero 3) in Need for Speed.

The A500 is scheduled to ship in early July, Panasonic said. Price has not yet been announced.

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