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Panasonic tweaks its 4K camcorders for 2016 (pictures)

It updates the features of its high-end consumer 4K models, but the rest is the same.

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Lori Grunin
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Lori Grunin
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1 of 9 Lori Grunin/CNET

WXF991 vs. VX981

Replacing the WX970 and VX870, respectively, the two camcorders differ physically in two primary ways: the WXF991 has a viewfinder and a second camera on the LCD door.

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Viewfinder

When Panasonic introduced its first 4K consumer models last year, it was odd that the $1,000 WX970 lacked a viewfinder; its replacement has one.

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Headphones and power

You can run the camcorders off an AC adapter and plug-in headphones.

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Manual controls

Panasonic continues to use a jog dial (press to select mode and turn to make adjustments) for its manual exposure controls.

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HDR movie

Like last year's models, these support HDR movie (HD-resolution only). It works by recording 30p video at 60 frames per second and alternating slower shutter-speed frames (for better shadow detail) with higher shutter-speed frames (for better highlight detail).

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Twin camera

Panasonic's Twin Camera feature works by capturing a second stream of video from this rotating camera on the LCD door; only the WXF991 offers this in the 4K models.

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New wind shield

Panasonic has updated the design of the wind shield on the microphone by adding a noise-reducing material between the microphone and the metal net, and it's changed the shape of the net for better wind travel.

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Accessory shoe

Like most camcorders in its class, these have a cold (i.e., unpowered) accessory shoe.

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Top

The view from above.

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