Panasonic has announced a new compact action camera, the HX-A1. And compact it is at 83mm long (just over 3in) and a claimed 45g weight.
Appearing to slot in as a competitor to the entry-level GoPro Hero and the new smaller Sony AZ1VR, the HX-A1 will retail for US$199 and film in 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 60fps and 480p at 240fps. While the 48g Sony AZ1VR outclasses the HX-A1 with its Image Stabilization and 1080p at 60fps ability – it’s also over US$100 more expensive.
The Panasonic camera is said to be waterproof down to 1.5m (5ft), shockproof from 1.5m (5ft), freezeproof down to -10C (14F), and comes with a dust ingress protection of IP6X – without an external housing. There’s no word on whether a waterproof/shockproof housing will be made available.
Panasonic has designed its own proprietary mounting system, despite the popularity of the 1 1/8in bolt ‘GoPro’ mount, which is quickly becoming the industry standard.
Additionally, with a separate infrared light (additional accessory) and included night vision infrared lens, the HX-A1 camera has the ability to film in ‘Night Mode.’ Panasonic says the ‘0 Lux Night Mode’ can “shoot into a dark, unexplored cave with no natural light or record nocturnal wildlife hidden in the depths of a forest".
We found this promotional video on YouTube from Panasonic USA. While the HX-A1 is no doubt small, the quality of this footage isn’t at the same level as what we’ve seen from the likes of Sony and GoPro.
The HX-A1 features built in Wi-Fi and can connect to a smartphone or tablet via the Panasonic app, through which you can view and share footage to social media.
Wi-Fi connectivity can also be used in combination with some of Panasonic's 2015 camcorders. When filming with a compatible Panasonic camcorder, the footage from the HX-A1 can be seen in a subwindow allowing the live footage to be merged into one. The HX-A1 can also be connected to a computer via USB and used as a webcam.
The camera records MPEG-4 onto a microSD sized cards and has a built in microphone. Recording longevity from the internal battery is currently unknown.
The HX-A1 includes a ‘Multi Mount’ and the ‘Tripod Mount’, which should allow for the camera to attach to goggles, shoulder bags, helmets or to be secured to a tripod – while other mounts, such a one for a handlebar, will be available as optional extras.
Panasonic is currently taking pre-orders for the HX-A1, and the camera is expected to ship by June 2015. UK and Australian pricing is to be confirmed.