Panasonic HDC-SD900 camcorder leads 3D video march

Panasonic has embraced 3D with the launch of five new 3D-ready camcorders at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with the newly announced HDC-SD900 leading the pack out of a total of 11 models for 2011.

The top of the range models all offer compatibility with their existing 3D adapter, the VW-CLT1 3D Conversion Lens, which we saw previously on the HDC-SDT750.

Sitting at the top of the Japanese company’s 2011 line-up of camcorders, there are four 3MOS models, the HDC-TM900, HS900 and SD900 (Flash, HDD and SD card variants of the same camcorder) which are joined by the slightly lower spec HDC-SD800, all offering compatibility with the 3D adapter.

The 3MOS models use an array of three sensors, each handling a different colour, with the aim of bringing you better colour fidelity.

From the company’s 1MOS line, the new HDC-SD90 (and the TM90 variant available in some territories) will also allow you to add the 3D adapter, via the screw thread on the front.

The SD90 – the entry point for Panasonic’s 3D camcorder – is likely to garner much of the attention, offering a 28mm wide angle lens, 40x intelligent zoom (21x of which is optical), Hybrid OIS, all promising to give you the biggest 1080/50p bang for your bucks.

The new models also include the Crystal Engine PRO, which offers better low light shooting than seen previously, ably assisted by the F/1.5 Leica Dicomar lens. We saw the new camcorders in action and the results were impressive, picking out details in a low light scene and out performing models from last year. 

The new Hybrid Optical Image Stabilisation looks to tackle the sort of handshake introduced by walking or simply just holding the camera and from the demonstrations we’ve seen on vibration platforms, it is really impressive.

One of the big changes for the HDC-xx900, SD800, SD90, and xx80 lines is the introduction of the 3.5-inch touch display. Panasonic recently embraced touch on the Lumix DMC-GF2 as well, and in their top camcorder you’ll see the likes of touch slow zoom or touch to shoot features.

We had a little play around with the controls and it did seem simple enough to use and the space is certainly appreciated on that top-of-the-range model.

You’ll also get an array mic offering 5.1-channel surround sound and zoom mic on the top models as well as a hotshoe to add a more sophisticated external mic if you need it.

Also joining Panasonic’s line-up are the non-3D HDC-TM80, HS80 and SD80, as well as the ultra-compact HDC-TM40/SD40, all offering slightly different specifications, meaning there is just about a camcorder to meet everybody’s needs. 

Panasonic told us that the SD card models were the focus for the UK (and Germany) thanks to the low cost of memory cards in these regions.

Prices yet to be confirmed.

Check out CES 2011 for all the news from the show.