Panasonic launches 12 new camcordersWater, dust and shock-proof model joins range
26 February 2009
Panasonic has launched 12 new camcorders, including high-end HD models, the world's first 70x optical zoom, and a rugged memory card model.
We first reported on some of these models at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show held in January.
These new launches will supplement and replace models in the existing Panasonic line-up. Prices and availability have yet to be announced.
Tough Panasonic camcorder
The Panasonic SDR-SW21 is a compact model recording on SD/SDHC memory card. Panasonic claims that it is waterproof to 6.5 feet, shockproof from a height of 4 feet, and dustproof. It comes in a range of colours.
Panasonic has launched four semi-professional digital camcorders, all high-definition models and all featuring a newly developed 3 MOS sensor system and touchscreen LCD.
The HDC-HS300 has the largest internal storage, with a 120GB hard disk. The HDC-HS200 has a 80GB hard disk. The HDC-TM300 has a 32GB internal memory, whereas the compact SD200 uses a SD/SDHC memory card for recording.
The HS300 and TM300 models have a manual lens ring and electronic viewfinder for faster and easier creative control according to Panasonic, and a microphone terminal for improved audio.
Affordable HD camcorder
Panasonic has also launched three affordable HD models - the HDC-HS20, HDC-TM20 and HDC-SD20. All feature a 16x optical zoom lens - more than most HD camcorders on the market.
The Panasonic SD20 records to SD/SDHC card only, while the Panasonic TM20 additionally records to its 16GB of internal memory. The Panasonic HS20 has a 80GB hard disk.
Technical features are identical across the range - including an auto power LCD that automatically adjusts screen brightness according to ambient light conditions, according to the company. This should help conserve power in dim light conditions, and make the screen easier to view.
For help choosing the best HD camcorder, visit our HD camcorder report, featuring more than 40 HD camcorders.
Christopher Christoforou, Which? camcorders expert, said: 'Panasonic has a great record of making excellent camcorders - many previous models have been Best Buys. These new HD launches will firmly keep the pressure on Sony, Canon and others.'
70x zoom power
Innovation in the standard-definition camcorder market has been slow, but Panasonic has changed that with three new camcorders featuring eye-popping 70x optical zoom lenses.
This zoom power adds extra recording versatility, such as filming wildlife from long distances.The SDC-H80 has a 60GB hard disk, the SDC-H90 has a 80GB hard disk, and the SDC-S26 records onto SD/SDHC memory card.
For help choosing the best standard definition camcorder, see our advice guide to buying the best camcorder.
The SDC-S10 is Panasonic's final standard definition camcorder launch. It is similar to the S26, but has a 10x zoom and is smaller.
Christopher Christoforou, Which? camcorders expert, said: 'There's fresh interest in the standard definition camcorders market with these new 70x camcorders. While Panasonic image stabilisation systems usually work very well, we strongly suspect that a tripod will be a must for effective full use of that zoom.'
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