Ever since Panasonic enabled color output on the viewfinder port of the VariCam H back in 2005, we’ve been waiting for them to actually release a color viewfinder to go along with it. Every high-end 2/3″ Panasonic camera since then supports a color viewfinder, but until now there hasn’t been a Panasonic part to put there. Now, with little fanfare, Panasonic is finally showing prototypes of their color finder, the AJ-CVF100G. Read the official press release here.
There were two at NAB – one on a VariCam 3700, and one on a VariCam 2700. The exterior looks almost identical to the black-and-white finders (which should please people dismayed by the large size of the Sony C35W). While the NAB floor is not the best place for doing critical image evaluation, my first impressions were quite favorable. The images were very sharp and extremely focusable, even with minimal peaking (though it is possible to set the peaking to 11 on this finder, if you want your image extra crispy.) Color seemed good as well. I was worried what artifacts the LCOS technology used in the finder might produce, but I couldn’t detect any disturbing flicker or color separation. I was told that, like the other color viewfinders on the market, you’ll definitely want to protect the screen on this one from direct sunlight. It would be nice if Panasonic would supply it with an auto-capping shutter, but it looks like that will be left to third parties.
One exciting feature of the AJ-CVF100G is support for every common HD format (meaning that you can expect to see it on a variety of non-Panasonic cameras in the not-too-distant future). It should be available this summer for a list price around $8,495.