CES 2008: Panasonic launch two new HD camcorders

Panasonic has announced two new full-High Definition 3CCD camcorders, the HDC-HS9, a hybrid model that can record to either an SD (or SDHC) Memory Card or its built-in 60-GB hard disk and the HDC-SD9, the world's smallest and lightest SD card High Definition camcorder at CES in Las Vegas.

The Panasonic HDC-SD9 and HDC-HS9 offer Full HD , 1920 x 1080 progressive recording (24 frames per second) and use the AVCHD video format.

In addition, the new models feature Panasonic's original 3CCD system, Advanced MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), and a Leica Dicomar lens.

Advanced MEGA O.I.S. checks and compensates for hand-shake around 4,000 times per second, about eight times more effectively than Panasonic's previous systems.

The SD9 and HS9 are the world's first camcorders to feature Face Detection for use in recording moving images as well. Panasonic say that the Face Detection technology automatically locates any faces in the picture and adjusts the exposure, contrast and skin tone to achieve optimal results.

The HDC-SD9 records on both SD and SDHC Memory Cards, and is even more compact than its predecessor, the HDC-SD5 model.

The HS9 is a hybrid model and can record full-High Definition images onto either an SD (or SDHC) Memory Card or to its built-in 60-GB hard disk. A 16-GB SDHC Memory Card can hold approximately six hours of video, and the 60-GB hard disk can hold around 23 hours (both in HE mode).

Other new features on both the HDC-SD9 and HDC-HS9 according to the press release include:

* Intelligent Shooting Selection Playback – Helps prevent recording errors being viewed during playback, as it will automatically skip over any shots that have serious errors, such as hand swing, fast panning, out-of-focus images or shots of the ground taken when the user forgets to turn off the camcorder.
* Advanced 5.1-Channel Surround Sound – With five microphones, when recordings are played on a 5.1-channel home theater system, viewers will be surrounded by clear, detailed sound. A Zoom Mic feature lets the microphone get as close as the camera's zoom lens.
* High-Speed Burst Shooting at 24 Frames/Sec – Ability for the camcorder to take up to 24 consecutive 2.1 megapixel resolution still images in one second or up to 72 consecutive shots in three seconds.
* World Timer – Handy for travelers this feature makes it easy to set the time when crossing time zones and again when returning home by switching between the two times with a press of a button. Simply select the destination from the display map, and the camcorder is automatically set for that time zone.
* 0.6-Sec Quick Start – Starts recording just 0.6 second from the time the LCD is opened, making it easier to catch those special moments that come with no warning.

Both models will be available in March 2008 with manufacturer suggested retail prices of $799.95 for the HDC-SD9 and $1099.95 for the HDC-SH9.

The company has also announced the two new SD Card camcorders, the waterproof SDR-SW20 and the compact and ultra-mobile SDR-S7.