An Iowa Morning: Shooting with the Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD Handheld

Guest post by Cinematographer Kevin J. Railsback

When you shoot nature and wildlife, more often than not you wish you had a camera that had a longer zoom. The bigger the zoom, the further away you can be from skittish wildlife and still get great footage. So when I had the opportunity to shoot with Panasonic’s latest camcorder, the AG-HPX250 P2 HD handheld, I leapt at the opportunity.

The HPX250 shares a lot of the “insides” of Panasonic’s larger, over-the-shoulder camcorder, the HPX370, but the body is similar to that of the iconic HVX200 handheld. However, there are numerous features that set this camera apart from the HVX200 and the HPX170 handheld (which I own). The two biggest improvements for me are that the HPX250 shoots AVC-Intra and has a 22X zoom lens.

AVC-Intra is Panasonic’s best video codec. The image quality is truly amazing. But it was the new 22X lens that I was most interested in. If you want to see why I was so excited about this lens, check out my HPX250 zoom demonstration. I think you’ll understand why as a nature and wildlife filmmaker I’m so interested in this lens and camera.

Other terrific features are the three independent adjustable rings (Zoom/Focus/Iris) all on the lens, which really keeps you in the moment and lets you concentrate on composition; and the 2X Focus Assist function, which enables you to zoom the center section of the screen to determine if the focus is correct. You can snap into focus right away and know when you’re sharp, a benefit that’s literally easy on the eyes.

I was able to shoot with the camera for a couple weeks and I made sure to make the most of it. I was out every morning before sunrise catching the first rays of sunshine as they fell upon the Iowa landscape.

Iowa was then in that transition state between summer and fall where it’s not quite sure what it wants to do. So, I was a little worried that I really wouldn’t get much in the way of “pretty” footage. Sure, I knew I’d be able to test the new lens and see the quality of the AVC-Intra codec, but I really wanted to see how the camera performed shooting subjects I would have pointed my HPX170 at.

Calling in some karma points gave me some fantastic opportunities to put the HPX250 though a good workout. I travelled all over the state from the far northeast corner to the far southwest corner and all points in-between. But some of my favorite shots turned out to be within fifteen minutes of my home.

Whenever I get the opportunity to test a new camera, I like to put together a vignette with the footage shot. It’s no different with the HPX250. So here is some edited footage that I shot with this fantastic new camera from Panasonic: Testing the Panasonic AG-HPX250

Read the rest of our AG-HPX250 Behind the Camera Series here.

Award-winning filmmaker Kevin J. Railsback says he is “driven to tell the story that Mother Nature and all her creatures share with me.” Find him and his work at