Well I learned something exciting at DV Expo East. This may not be news to everybody, but it certainly is news to me. I sat through Jan's fourth and last P2 / HVX presentation Thursday afternoon and was pleased to hear her say that the HVX200 will support not only remote focus control but also remote iris control. Very cool!
On the right side of the HVX body, just below the SD card slot and behind the rec/pause button, under a rubberized connection cover there will be *two* aux remote jacks. One will be familiar to all Panasonic DVX / DVC series owners as the remote record / remote zoom control jack. The other will be a separate jack for remote focus control and remote iris control!
In the past, DVX / DVC owners have lamented not having remote focus control on their camcorders... unlike the LANC protocol found on all Sonys and some Canons, the standard Panasonic auxiliary remote jack has allowed only for rec/pause and zoom control. Jan told me at the preso that after hearing numerous complaints about the lack of remote focus on the DVX series, she insisted that the feature be included in the HVX200. For all those shooters who have wanted to control focus remotely with the camera on a jib or otherwise out of reach, the HVX will easily allow that.
Additionally, having remote iris control on the HVX200 puts it at a huge advantage over any Sony or Canon camcorder, because the LANC protocol owned by Sony (and licensed to Canon on their three-chip camcorders) does not support remote iris. As far as the JVC three-chip HDV camcorder (GY-HD100) is concerned, support for remote focus control is an optionally available and somewhat expensive feature of the Fujinon lenses. Remote iris control on the HD100 is possible through a traditional "control room" rack-mounted CCU, or even mechanically linked, similar to focus; but the cost of these options are in an entirely different class and price structure relative to the Panasonic HVX200. Outside of the studio-style remotes that are available to the HD100, the Panasonic HVX will be the *only* camcorder you can buy in the that will support remote iris control. Nothing else in its class will have it!
There has always been the potential for any camcorder to be remotely controlled via FireWire, but it hasn't happened yet and I don't foresee it happening anytime soon. Bravo to Panasonic for creating a serious competitive edge with this sort of remote control capability!
I'd be interested to see the control unit that Panasonic releases. I hope it will resemble something like a FI+Z unit (hey, I can dream right?), but then it might cost a couple of limbs.