While the announced release of the company's first 3D camcorder was top news at a recent press conference (You can read Trevor Boyer's report here), Panasonic made other introductions that fill in holes in its P2 product line.
If you're shooting documentaries or working on a busy industrial, speedy offload capability is crucial, especially if you only have a couple of P2 cards. Panasonic offered two solutions. The simpler one delivers in April, while the more complicated option comes this fall.
The first of these, the single-slot AJ-PCD2, is something many DPs have wondered why it took so long to bring out something that in reality, is basically a PCMCIA slot reader—or ExpressCard—something built into many laptops for a number of years.
Well, if you're using a laptop that doesn't have one of these—they never became all that popular—you'll probably go for this. It has a modest price and uses two USB 2.0 connections (cables are supplied), which takes care of power and transfer for the drive. Compatible with Mac and Windows desktop and laptop computers, the PCD2 supports all P2 card sizes, P2 formats, and frame rates in HD and SD, according to the company.
The second device, the AG-MSU10 portable P2 media storage unit ($2,500), might be more attractive in some situations—it doesn't require an attached computer to download the P2 card—though it comes at a considerably higher tab.
The MSU10 is pretty simple, which makes it hardy for field use. There's a slot for the P2 card, a second slot for a removable 2.5in. SATA solid-state drive, and a 3.2in LCD screen, which provides thumbnail displays of P2 files. Content transfers from the P2 card to the solid-state drive run at four times faster than realtime. Meanwhile, there's support for the highest-resolution 10-bit AVC-Intra (100/50) and DVCPRO HD, as well as DVCPRO50, DVCPRO, and DV recording formats.