Panasonic Bringing 3 CCD Camcorders to U.S.

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Back in April, Panasonic announced two high-definition 3 CCD AVCHD camcorders, the HDC-SD3 and HDC-DX3, offering high-definition video capture at resolutions up to 1,920 by 1,080 pixels and storing video to either SD cards or DVD discs. At the time, Panasonic planned to introduce the models only in Japan and had no plans to roll them out internationally. That seems to have changed: Panasonic has just announced its new HDC-SD5 and HDC-SX5, which appear to be essentially the same camcorder models, just with new model numbers for the U.S. market. And they have new (lower) price tags, too.

“Panasonic’s first generation of HD camcorders with the AVCHD format made history in the diffusion of HD, but these new models make Living in High Definition even more of a reality for even more people,” said Rudy Vitti, Panasonic’s national marketing manager, in a release. “Recording full HD is easy and convenient with these compact models, so everyday events can be recorded in HD and enjoyed in HD. It’s as simple as putting an SD Memory Card into a Plasma TV or sliding a mini DVD into a Blu-ray Disc player.”

Both camcorders capture video in the AVCHD format, using separate CCD units to capture red, green, and blue colors (hence the term “3 CCD). The units also offer 2.7-inch LCD monitors, mechanical image stabilization (which Panasonic is dubbing “Advanced Optical Image Stabilization) to reduce hand-shake, and Lieca Dicomar lenses. Both cameras also feature a pre-record function, wherein the camera continuously records three seconds of video into an internal memory buffer, so users won’t miss the beginning of a critical moment by pressing the Record button just an instant too late.

The HDC-SD5 records onto SDHC/SD media cards, and Panasonic says that it’s currently the world’s smallest palm-style 3CCD HD camcorder: an 8 GB card offers up to 180 minutes of video capacity. The company also offers a separate optional DVD burner so users can copy or play back video recordings in the original AVCHD format. The larger HDC-SX5 can record to either SDHC/SD cards or DVD discs; a 3-inch DVD-R dual layer disc offers about 60 minutes of video storage. The SX5 can also copy video from an SDHC card to a 3-inch DVD.

Both camcorders should be available in September; the HDC-SD5 will have a retail price of $999.95, while the HDC-SX5 will go for $899.95. Panasonic will offer the optional DVD burner for $199.95.

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