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Can Panasonic's A100 HD Action Cam Muscle in on GoPro's Turf?

Illustration for article titled Can Panasonics A100 HD Action Cam Muscle in on GoPros Turf?

Panasonic claims its new wearable HD camcorder will be perfect for adrenaline junkies and recreation-seekers alike—but can it compete in a market that's already dominated by GoPro, the clear winner in our recent action cam test?


The HX-A100's water-proof and dust-proof case houses hardware capable of filming 1920 x 1080 video at 60 fps, 1280 x 720 video at 120 fps, or 640 x 360 video at 240 fps. It comes packing Wi-Fi, so can be used to broadcast live streams on Ustream, while its battery—tucked away in the remote processing unit—will let it film for up to 140 minutes on a single charge. The small lens unit weights an ounce and is connected to the 4 ounce main unit by a 2-foot cable.


Interestingly it comes with what Panasonic refer to as an "earhook": essentially a means of attaching the camera to your head so you don't have to be wearing a helmet to use the camera. That certainly makes sense if Panasonic hopes to sell it to the family market—and not just snowboarders and downhill mountain bikers.

The camera will be available from March, though there's currently no word on pricing. In truth it doesn't seem quite rugged enough to completely steal GoPro's crown—and the fact that the controls are attached to the lens means you'll have limited range of motion—but for families keen to shoot first-person video now and then, it could be just the thing. [Panasonic]

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Ear hook: Big Deal.

Getting that POV roughly coordinated to your head is a Big Deal. GoPro would be wise to have a two-part system (option?) for the GP4. A snap-on-glasses-temple-arms clip would be at least as handy, too.

Now bump up the recording time to a full 10 hour shift and you have the "black box" that will be part of every government official's permanent record. Including TSA, ICE, COPS and FBI.

Those who are putatively "in authority" won't have an excuse for any 18-minute gaps when something happens. Hear that, Rosemary Woods?