The Panasonic AG-CX350 is a handheld camcorder that is 4K in 10bit at 60p plus HDR recording which is a nice boost. The new camcorder is equipped with the RTMP/RTSP/RTP protocol for live streaming and NDI | HX-ready IP connection. The camera is fairly lightweight at only 4.2-lbs. (body only), Panasonic states the AG-CX350 is the lightest 4K 10-bit fixed-lens camcorder in its class.
Panasonic he 1.0-type MOS sensor (approx. 15.03-megapixels in UHD/FHD) will give you pretty good shallow depth-of-field however that really isn’t the strength of a smaller 1.0 type MOS sensor.
The Panasonic AG-CX350 can capture in UHD (3840×2160), Full HD (1920×1080), HD (1280×720), and SD (720×480). Like the EVA1, the CX350 offers 10-bit 4:2:2 color sampling with ALL-Intra (400-Mbps) and LongGOP (150Mbps) and can be recorded in UHD up to 29.98p/25p and FHD up to 59.97p/50p. It also supports the 10-bit HEVC codec at UHD up to 59.97p/50p with a low bit rate of 200Mbps. The HEVC 10-bit codec can be natively decoded and played by computers with 7th Generation (or later) Intel Core i7 chips. All of these formats and compression rates can be recorded internally to lower cost SD cards.
The lens seems to be somewhat similar to the one used in the Panasonic Panasonic HC-X1, with its rather large 20x zoom range of 24.5 mm to 490 mm at F2.8 to F4.5. The lens is optically stabilized and the Panasonic AG-CX350 can use Hybrid OIS, combining digital stabilization and the lens’s to achieve a result that should be somewhat similar to what the EVA-1 can do with a stabilized lens. The lens has three control rings, to manually control focus, zoom and aperture.
The AG-CX350 also features Panasonic’s so called Intelligent AF, which aims at providing smooth focus transitions instead of jarring jumps. You can use the camcorder’s touch display for one-push-focus, and focus assist features like peaking and magnification are built in. How reliable the AF is, will remain to be seen, however I was not able to find out what actual technology is used here – my guess would be contrast detection only though.
I’ve mentioned the headlining feature recording 4k 60p 10bit in HEVC to relatively cheap UHS-II SD Cards. However one of the more helpful features is the ability to record in more variable ways, using the AG-CX350’s two card slots. Apart from “normal” sequential recording to each card individually until it’s full, the AG-CX350 allows for what Panasonic calls “Unlimited Relay Recording”, enabling you to keep recording to one card, while hot-swapping the other already full card with a fresh one. This might be very helpful for news gathering, or event-type recording, where the duration of the event is not set into stone. Another pretty innovative recording mode, is to record individual clips to one card, while the other records a continuous version stream (meaning the portions you are not actively recording to your main card, are still recorded to the other). Of course simultaneous backup recording to both cards is also on board.
Body and I/O
The Panasonic AG-CX350 checks all the boxes of a standard handheld camcorder body: compact design with the integrated top handle, from which the monitor, viewfinder and microphone protrude at its center, a strap around the side grip and all the major controls on the operator side. Although the body may be compact, the feature-packed little camcorder does come in at a shooting weight of around 5.1 lbs / 2.3kg. In 2019 the resolution of 2.3 million dots for the viewfinder and 1.7 million dots for the LCD screen respectively, could be higher.
In terms of audio and I/O the AG-CX350 features a built-in stereo mic, two 3-pin XLR inputs with phantom power, TC IN/OUT via BNC, LANC-Remote support, LAN, USB-C and USB 2.0 (host), a speaker, headphone jack and of course the headlining 3G uncompressed SDI and HDMI outputs, that can output 4k 60p simultaneously.
The Panasonic AG-CX350 uses AG-style batteries and the bundled AG-VBR59 will give you a recording time of around 3 hours 20 minutes. It will charge in the same amount of time using the quick charger and there are batteries with double that capacity available. The body also has a 12V DC in.
Other features, pricing and availability
Here are some more interesting features that weren’t mentioned above:
- RTMP/RTSP-Compatible HD Streaming with support for Facebook and Youtube Live
- IP Streaming with preinstalled NDI | HX Support
- Wireless Control from a Tablet or Smartphone
- Broadcast-Grade picture quality adjustment functions with 16-Axis independent color correction
- TC Synchro Multi-Camera Recording Supported
- 10bit HDR-Compliant HLG