Are you looking for a 4K video camera? If so, have you considered the Panasonic HC-WX970? For some, a 4K camcorder is not necessary. After all, as of 2015, around 2.6 percent of American households did not own a TV. You could say that more and more people are now watching their content on their mobile devices, and most of these screens don't have 4K resolutions. So why buy a 4K video camera? Because 2.6 percent still leaves a whole lot of people with televisions.
In fact, the Consumer Technology Association estimates that there will be around 300 million 4K TV sets sold by the end of 2018. If you are getting into the 4K craze, then you are in luck because there are quite a few 4K related devices coming out now. In that case, you'll probably want a 4k recorder. Even if you still have not bought a 4K TV, Panasonic HC-WX970 will help you future-proof your memories.
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The Panasonic HC-WX970
The Panasonic HC-WX970 is a video camera that records videos in 4K ultra high definition resolution. You get some of the crispest and sharpest videos possible using this camera -- that is, when viewed on an appropriate screen. You can also capture a screenshot from your videos, and each screenshot will have the same resolutions you get from an 8-megapixel camera. That level of detail means that you can share your screenshots on Facebook or Twitter to amaze your friends. You can also print them out into reasonably sized photographs! You may have heard that Panasonic has discontinued the camera, but it is still available through other retailers.
The HC-WX970 measures 2.56 by 5.47 by 2.87 inches, making it a medium-sized device. However, it weighs only 0.79 pounds and is very handy and comfortable to hold. What other features should you expect from this video camera?
Specifications and Features
The Panasonic HC-WX970 uses an 18.9-megapixel sensor that works with a 20x optical zoom lens. The lens features an equivalent focal length of 4.08-81.6mm and apertures of f/1.8-3.6. There is a secondary and smaller sensor embedded in the flip out that holds a 3-inch touchscreen LCD. This sensor has a resolution of 5.3 megapixels and allows you to record yourself while shooting the proceedings with the main camera.
Let's talk about the lens of this twin camera
The bigger main sensor is a 1/2.3-inch BSI MOS Sensors that delivers a total count of 18.91 megapixels. Effective pixels vary depending on what you are shooting. For instance, if you are shooting a 4K video with an aspect ratio of 16:9, you will get videos of up to 8.29 megapixels.
The active pixels in a 1080p full-HD video are lower at 6.10 megapixels. For still images, the effective pixels range from 6.22 to 7.00 megapixels. Lens speed or the f-value for this Leica Dicomar lens is F1.8 for wide-angle shots and F3.6 for telescopic shots. It has a 20x optical zoom and focal length of 4.08 to 81.6 millimeters. The smaller sensor is a 1/4-inch MOS sensor that delivers a total of 5.27 megapixels. It has an f-value of F2.2 and focal length of 3.54 millimeters.
The Panasonic HC-WX970 comes with a companion smartphone app that acts as a second screen for your video camera. You can use the mobile app to view your footage or to set up your camera up for the perfect shot. This feature is especially useful if you have a somewhat tricky scene to set up, such as placing the camera near the ground or hidden from view, like when you want to film a practical joke.
Use the smartphone app to change the settings of your video camera, or use it as a remote control. Note, however, that there is a noticeable lag between the time you press the remote control on the app and the time the HC-WX970 takes a shot.
Other Connected Features
Aside from working with the companion app, you will also love the embedded near-field communications antenna. NFC allows your HC-WX970 to connect to your smartphone just by tapping on it. Panasonic also included a QR code for the Wi-Fi settings for those people who do not own mobile devices with NFC technology.
When you connect to your Wi-Fi network, you can use the HC-WX970 to stream anything live on USTREAM. It also works as a baby monitor. Put the HC-WX970 inside your baby's nursery and get alerted on your smartphone if the camera hears a sound. Alternatively, you can use it as a security camera for your home.
Other Features of the HC-WX970
The included 3.6-volt lithium-ion battery will give you anywhere from 50 minutes to 60 minutes of recording time depending on the recording resolution and frames per second you choose. Further, you do not have to connect your Panasonic HC-WX970 to your TV to playback your recorded videos. The device has a dynamic type speaker and an LED screen that allows you to watch the videos right on the device.
You can capture crisp and clear sounds with its 5.1ch surround sound stereo microphone. This video camera does not have a viewfinder or a flash.
Ratings and Reviews
The Panasonic HC-WX970 gets a rating of 4.1 stars out of 5.0. Customers on Amazon has praised it for its features, image and sound quality, and a wide range of useful settings. However, some critical reviews talked about its weaknesses when dealing with HDR shots and how its overall performance does not justify the high price.
Expert Reviews, on the other hand, gave it a perfect 5.0-star rating. The site praises the HC-WX970 for its wide variety of features and how comfortable it feels when you are using it.
Pricing for the Panasonic HC-WX970
How We Reviewed
In reviewing the Panasonic HC-WX970, we looked at the product's information page and its specifications sheet, as well as its listings on online retailer sites such as Amazon. We also considered the opinions of credible review sites such as ExpertReviews.com. Then, we considered customer satisfaction and the price of competing products.
Where to Buy
Although the camera has been discontinued, you can still buy it from a number of places. For instance, NJA, Mall Direct, and Full Compass all sell the camera.
How It Compares to Competitors
There are several competitors for the Panasonic HC-WX970, including other video cameras and DSLR cameras that have a 4K video recording feature. How does the Panasonic HC-WX970 stand when compared to the Sony XDCAM PXW-Z150, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, or the Nikon D850? Let's take a look.
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The Sony XDCAM PXW-Z150 is a professional 4K camera with a one-inch Exmor RS Sensor. It delivers amazingly sharp and clear images that do not have too much aliasing or noise. The PXW-Z150 also has 12x optical zoom and 24x digital zoom. It looks the same as any other single-lens camcorder out there: hand grip on the right, buttons on the left.
The Sony XDCAM PXW-Z150 gets a rating of 4.5 out of 5-stars. Amazon customers praise this camera for its big image sensor, excellent image, video quality, and its sturdy build. Negative reviews, however, talk about how limited the camera's 4K recording is. There are also others who complained about the lack of touch display that could have made changing the settings a whole lot easier.
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The EOS 5D Mark IV is one of the DSLR cameras from Canon that has a 30.4-megapixel sensor. The full frame camera also delivers 4K video and fast auto-focus. It has an embedded GPS and offers Wi-Fi connectivity.
This model continues the excellent reputation of the Japanese company's 5D Mark line. You would love the professional autofocus system and the variety of features that Canon included. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has a rating of 4.3 out of 5-stars.
Customer reviews on Amazon praise this camera for being a lot better than its predecessor, the 5D Mark III. It has great image quality with high resolution but also offers lower resolution RAW modes for those who want to save on storage space. It also has a better dynamic range than the Mark III. However, there are complaints about the low path filter. It lessens moire but affects the sharpness of your images negatively. The 4K video recording on the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is also underwhelming.
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The Nikon D850 is another full-frame DSLR camera with a 45.7-megapixel sensor. It has the same excellent metering and autofocus systems that you would find on the Nikon D5 series. The D850 is also very fast.
It shoots 4K ultra-HD videos and allows you to create time-lapse movies with the same resolution. You will also appreciate the focus shift bracketing mode. However, you will likely complain about this camera's autofocusing when you are shooting videos. You can buy it from online retailers such as Amazon, Abe's of Maine, 42nd Street Photo, or Walmart.
The Nikon D850 has a rating of 4.8 out of 5-stars on Amazon. Reviewers like the D850's excellent image quality, cleaner shots when shooting in high ISO, and some neat features such as the focus stack, the large viewfinder, and the focus peaking. Some reviewers said that it was worth it to upgrade from the Nikon D810 to the newer D850.
Meanwhile, most of the negative reviews were not related to the camera itself, such as being sent a used product and the less ergonomic grip on the D850 compared to the D810.
How Does the Panasonic HC-WX970 Compare?
Comparing Panasonic HC-WX970 to some of its competitors, it's a great deal. The Panasonic HC-WX970's features and performance are comparable to the Sony XDCAM PXW-Z150. However, the HC-WX970 has a touchscreen that allows you to change the settings quickly. It also sells for less than half the price of the Sony video camera.
The HC-WX970 also beats out both DSLR cameras from Canon and Nikon. If you need 4K videos that are near perfection, the Panasonic HC-WX970 is a great option. However, some people put a premium on still images but would like the option of being able to shoot a video when they need to, and it might not be ideal for that. For example, photographers will likely want the higher megapixel count and full frame features of both the Nikon and Canon alternatives.
Pros and Cons of the Panasonic HC-WX970
Below are some of the pros and cons of the Panasonic HC-WX970.
The fact that this camcorder is so light and comfortable to hold is a crucial feature. Had it been a little heavier, your arm would quickly tire, causing your videos to come out shaky.
The ability to also record yourself using the secondary lens is an excellent way to add commentary videos. There are a few great uses for this, such as when you are conducting interviews. With the Panasonic HC-WX970, you can capture yourself asking questions without taking the shot away from the person you are interviewing. Having the smaller lens is also an excellent way to get yourself into the video.
Further, the touch display turns off on its own when you pair the smartphone app with your camera, allowing you to save on battery juice.
The LCD touchscreen display is somewhat grainy. It does the job of allowing you to frame your shots, but the display looks like the screens on older mobile phones.
You might not like using the smaller camera, either. For one, Panasonic does not use a wide angle lens for the LCD camera, which means that can't see much can other than your face. You can probably straighten out your arm to get rid of the tight shots. This positioning, however, may affect the stability of your videos.
Having a secondary camera that would allow you to record yourself while capturing an event is a convenient feature. However, with the narrow viewing angle of the lens, it does not provide quality footage.
Buy the Panasonic HC-WX970, or Look Elsewhere?
As a video camera, the Panasonic HC-WX970 is a good buy. The 4K video resolutions, the eight-megapixel screenshots, and other features help put it over the top. It's hard to go wrong with the HC-WX970.
What's more, it has excellent connected features that not only make it possible for you to control the camera using your smartphone, but also extends the usefulness of the HC-WX970. You can use it as a home security camera or a baby monitor.
Finally, it's at a low price. Out of the competing models reviewed here, the Panasonic HC-WX970 has the most budget-friendly price tag. There is no reason why you should not buy the Panasonic HC-WX970, except for the fact that the manufacturer has already discontinued it.
Who should buy the Panasonic HC-WX970? Everyone who is looking for a capable video camera that has an excellent set of features but a budget-friendly price! Do you own one? What's your experience? Let us know in the comments!