Panasonic HC-Z10000 review
3x 1/4.1in CMOS sensor, 1,920x1,080, 12.0x zoom, 1.6kg
3D video cameras have traditionally fallen into two broad ranges: low-budget models that you can use for a bit of fun, such as the Sony Bloggie 3D, and high-end professional models for film and TV. With its Z10000 Panasonic has taken a different tack, producing a high-end 3D model with plenty of control that's designed for enthusiasts.
At just shy of £3,000, the Z10000 can't be described as cheap, but for the level of control, range of inputs and quality there's simply nothing else at this price that's even remotely similar. You also have to take into account that this model is a proper 3D camera, using dual 3MOS sensors (six 1/4.1in sensors in total). That means there's a one 3MOS sensor for each eye's image, so you can shoot Full HD progressive video in 3D, rather than using a compromise, such as the side-by-side system budget models use, where each eye's image gets half of a 1080p resolution.
Dual XLR inputs let you attach high-quality microphones for better sound recording.
From the outside, the HDC-Z1000 is an impressive-looking bit of kit. Its large body houses the lens assembly at the front for the dual 3D lenses, plus there are two XLR microphone inputs (with phantom power) for audio, so you can use proper microphones and capture better-quality audio than by using the built-in Dolby Digital 5.1 microphone array.
As this model's aimed at the enthusiast market, there are also three lens rings for zoom, focus and iris control. Zoom controls also sit on rocker switchers on the side, when using the camera in a traditional hand-held grip, and on the carry handle. Dual XDHC memory card slots are nice to see and you can configure them so that the second card's for overflow shooting or for a backup, so you can protect any precious footage from memory card failure.
Discrete controls for most commonly-used features, let you take full control of the video you're shooting.
The side of the camera consists of a set of dedicated buttons for most of the common controls, letting you quickly switch between automatic and manual modes for iris and focus, toggle the optical image stabilisation and switch between the white balance modes (auto, 3200K, 5600K, two user modes and a lock on the current automatically detected setting). There are also three programmable user buttons, but it's a shame that there's no quick method to adjust the shutter speed.