On Sight has ordered four new P2-card based high definition Varicam camcorders from manufacturer Panasonic.

The Soho-based HD equipment hire facility signed up for two Varicam AJ-HPX 2700s and two Varicam AJ-HPX 3700s at NAB last week.

On Sight managing director Simon Craddock said: “The Varicam is an iconic Panasonic product and we are really pleased that Panasonic has combined this with the P2 technology.

“You still can't get the full 1-60 frame rate in 1080p as the Varicam 3700 runs from 1-30 at 1080p, but you can get it at 720p with the Varicam 2700 as this has the full 1-60 range and therefore is more flexible.”

Because they offer variable frame rates the Varicam camcorders are particularly suitable for shooting slo-mo and effects shots.

Both cameras are aimed at high-end productions and will be sold for around£38,000 and£28,000 for the Varicam 3700 and the Varicam 2700 respectively.

Panasonic argues that Varicam P2 camcorders will appeal to natural history cameramen who will benefit from the slo-mo possibilities made available by the variable frame rates.

The company liaised with the producers of Planet Earth, Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, during development of the camera.

Both cameras benefit from the new AVC Intra codec, a compression technology that delivers sharper pictures than previous P2 compression standards, and supply images similar to HDD5 and other high end mastering formats.