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Panasonic Adds HD Camcorders

Secaucus, NJ – Panasonic will ship its first HD camcorders with 3MOS technology to dealers this September.

The HDC-SD100 and HS100 are AVCHD models that record 1920 by 1080 video. According to Panasonic, the new models are based on the firm’s earlier 3CCD technology but instead use CMOS sensors, which the company says improves color reproduction.

The SD100 ($1,099) records only to SD cards and will bundle an 8GB card while the HS100 ($1,299) offers a 60GB hard drive and an SD card slot for “hybrid” functionality.

Both models offer manual controls over zoom, focus, iris, shutter speed and white balance. Panasonic imported the Intelligent Auto mode – found on its digital cameras – into the new models as well. When in Intelligent Auto, the camcorders automatically activate optical image stabilization, face detection, intelligent contrast control, and intelligence scene selection.

Other shared features include a 1.9 second start-up, digital cinema color mode, 5.1 channel audio recording through five microphones, and a pre-record function that saves up to three seconds of video to internal memory before the record button is pressed.

The camcorders will feature a new Leica Dicomer 12x optical zoom lens and a new HD Advanced Pure Color Engine image processor. According to Panasonic, the new engine reduces power consumption while also doubling the dynamic range vs. previous models. Both camcorders are capable of shooting in lighting as low as 2 lux, are Viera Link-compatible, and bundle HD Writer 2.6 software.

The optional VW-BN1 DVD burner lets both models burn HD footage to DVD disc in the original AVCHD format without a PC.