The Panasonic HC-WXF1 is a big brother to the HC-VX1 -- the two camcorders sport most of the same specifications. So what’s the difference? The WXF1 uses a secondary camera for picture-in-picture recording, allowing you to capture both what’s in front of the camera and what’s behind, or your own reaction to the action, as well as a viewfinder. Those extra features also drive the price a little higher than the VX1.
The main camera sensor is a 1/2.5 inch CMOS sensor capable of recording in 4K. A versatile 24x optical zoom is paired with that sensor -- and it looks like the sensor-lens combo will make a pretty pair. The sub-camera has a smaller 1/4 inch sensor and fixed f/2.2 lens. That’s not as good as the main camera (just like a selfie camera on a smartphone) but the secondary camera only records a small portion of the footage tucked into a corner, so big specs aren’t exactly necessary.
Panasonic has also built in a pretty heavy-hitting optical stabilization system -- or systems, rather. The Panasonic HC-WXF1 has five-axis stabilization along with ball OIS and adaptive OIS, the last two designed for specific types of motion. Other advanced features include an active contrast mode for bright scenes, a new feature that’s integrated alongside older modes such as HDR.
As a prosumer camcorder, the WXF1 looks much like a typical video camera. There are a few differences though. The front has a ring for controlling manual settings and alongside the flip out screen, the camcorder also has a viewfinder.
The Panasonic WXF1 retails for just under a grand, another $200 more than the VX1 that doesn’t have the secondary camera and viewfinder. Outside of the VX1, finding a 4K camcorder for under $1,000 is tough to do unless you go with a slightly older model like the Sony AX53.