Though the AG-HVX200 remains an excellent pro HD camcorder, the changing competitive landscape has prompted us to retire its Editors' Choice designation.
With its introduction of the AG-DVX100 camcorder three years ago, Panasonic made itself the champion of the little guy. Previous affordable three-chip models were capable of great results, but their consumer-oriented controls and connections made them difficult to use professionally. The AG-DVX100 was the first prosumer camcorder to behave like a miniature pro camera rather than a souped-up home-movie machine. The Panasonic AG-HVX200 continues that trend, bringing the capabilities of the company's high-end Varicam HD camcorder much closer to the size and price of the DVX100.
What kind of features are we talking about? Multiple HD and SD recording formats, including 1080p DVCPro HD, a broad range of frame rates, and support for P2 solid-state media are just the beginning. But before you get too excited about P2, keep in mind that the cards are currently very expensive and relatively small; thus, they'll probably require frequent dumping to a hard drive in the field. For the time being, some users may prefer to circumvent the P2 system altogether and record over FireWire directly to a laptop computer or a soon-to-be-available hard disk recorder.