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Panasonic Introduces Nine New Camcorders

Panasonic brought more powerful optics, lower-cost 3CCD technology and one button controls to its International CES camcorder introductions, here, unveiling a total of nine new models.

The company announced that its three new 3CCD models, the PV-GS65, PV-GS150 and PV-GS250, will ship in March. The units use individual CCD sensors to reproduce the red, green and blue colors that compose an image. The models feature an SD card slot for saving still images, USB 2.0 for data transfer to a PC and electronic image stabilization. All three camcorders also have MiniDV outputs.

The PV-GS65, for a suggested $599.95, offers 1.2-megapixel still resolution and a 10x optical/700x digital zoom lens. The PV-GS65 builds off the GS65 by adding a Leica Dicomar lens, 2.3-megapixel still resolution and USB 2.0 high-speed connectivity for a suggested retail price of $699.95.

Finally, the high-end PV-GS250 features a 10x optical/700x digital zoom with a macro zoom for focusing on subjects as close as 40cm. The GS250 also features a 3.1-megapixel still resolution, optical image stabilization and a manual focus ring.

In the fast-growing DVD camcorder segment, Panasonic also made three new introductions under its DIGA brand. All three DVD models — the VDR-M54, VDR-M75 and VDR-M95 — record to DVD-R and RAM discs and will ship in April.

Features shared across the line include a 2.5-inch LCD, a new and slimmer design, digital electronic image stabilization and an SD memory card slot for recording still images.

The VDR-M54, for a suggested $699.95, has an 18x optical zoom. The $799.95 VDR-M75 sports a 10x optical zoom lens, 1.3-megapixel still resolution, hot shoe for adding accessory flashes and USB 2.0 high-speed connectivity. The top of the line VDR-M95, for $1,099.95, also features a 10x optical zoom capability and builds on the M75 by adding 2.1-megapixel still resolution and a built-in flash.

Finally Panasonic debuted three new MiniDV camcorders with “one finger” controls and compact designs.

The new PV-GS19, PV-GS31 and PV-GS35 models will all ship in March and feature a thumb wheel for accessing functions such as JPEG playback, memory card recording and tape recording, in addition to a new joystick for navigating the controls.

The new models will also offer still image capture to SD memory cards, MagicPix for improved low-light recording and an electronic image stabilization system for reducing camcorder blur.

The PV-GS19, for a suggested $349.95, offers a 24x optical/800x digital zoom and USB 2.0 support. The $399.95 PV-GS31 builds on the GS19 by adding a 26x optical zoom, LED light and color viewfinder. The top-of-the-line PV-GS35 offers a 30x optical/1000x digital zoom, three-hour battery, USB 2.0 high-speed and bundles Motion DV Studio editing software for a suggested $499.95