Apparently having lost all interest in consumer camcorders, Panasonic has wheeled out a minor update to its 4K line which add – well, pretty much nothing bar a tiltable viewfinder, it seems to us. Yawn.

Honestly, we thought Canon’s XA30 was a mere trifle of an upgrade but kudos to Panasonic for doing even less and spinning it as a new release.

Panasonic VXF990 camcorder
Panasonic VXF990 camcorder

The HC-VXF990 and HC-VX980 appear almost exactly the same as last year’s models (the WX970 and VX870) but add some gimmicky “cinema like “effects that no-one doing any proper shooting will surely use, and in-camera cropping to HD which likewise is much better done during editing (which we think anyone buying this kind of camera will do on a computer even if they’re using iMovie or Windows MovieMaker)

If you thought Panny’s wireless twin-camera feature – which overlays a WiFi connected second camera’s image on top of your main footage as a picture-in-picture – was rubbish, prepare to be amazed as the company has actually put their money and effort into expanding it. Now it will connect to three cameras and superimpose two of them all over what you’re filming. Really, truly, who on earth ever uses this other than from curiosity?

We suggest the best thing about these releases is that you should now be able to pick up the previous models at a discount price. Hooray!

Get the full depressing pictuure at

4 thought on “Dull camcorder update from Panasonic”
  1. Well said! (as always) :-)
    Initially, when comparing it with the Sony upgrade (AX53) I thought Sony made some big strides here. Going form 10 times zoom to 20 in one generation, how do you do that? 120fps in HD mode. However, when comparing the specs more closely I noticed that Sony was more like “catching up” with Panasonic as the previous generation of Panasonic 4k camcorders could already do those things. (Apart from the BOSS of course).
    I thought I had to say that to the defense of Panasonic ;-)
    As long as the engineers are currently putting their efforts into a somewhat affordable 4k@60p camera and don’t spend too much effort on silly features for a required yearly upgrade, I’m fine with that.

    1. Good points, well made! I liked the Panasonic VX870 in many ways but it was peculiar in others and the “new” ones are just boring.

  2. The in-camera HDR mode (also in the previous gen) looks interesting; I wish someone would do a proper write-up on that to see if there’s any real gain in DR.

    1. I vaguely recall that I looked at the HDR mode in the prior model and it was very limited and pretty dreadful. Can’t remember why, just that I was very unimpressed.

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