Some folks looking for a camcorder are satisfied with inexpensive consumer products that (kind of) capture moving images and can maybe push them to YouTube quickly…but other folks are looking for something that offers a little more quality and finesse. That latter group is the market for Panasonic’s new HDC-HS700 and HDC-TM700 digital camcorders, which offer 12× optical zooms, a 35mm wide-angle lens, power low-light capabilities, and fully manual controls—and both will shoot high-definition video and take high-resolution stills.
“For video enthusiasts looking for a feature-rich, high-performing, yet affordable High Definition Camcorder, Panasonic’s new TM700 and HS700 3MOS models will be a hit this year,” said Panasonic imaging product manager Chris Rice, in a statement. “We are excited to give consumers the ideal tool they need to capture their memories with superb quality.”
The HS700 and TM700 follow on last year’s TM300: both shoot video at 1080/60p resolution and can shoot 14.2 megapixel still images (and 13.3 megapixel images from recorded video). The cameras boast a high-sensitivity 3MOS sensor system that processes red, green, and blue independently for high quality and low noise; the cameras also feature gyroscope-based image stabilization system to avoid shakes. Both camcorders feature an intelligent auto function (with face recognition for up to six faces and smile shot) 5.1 audio recording (with sound zoom) using built-in mics, wind noise cancellation, and a 3-inch LCD viewfinder display. Both models also sport a manual ring enabling control of zoom, focus, aperture, shutter speed, and white balance for more complete creative control.
The main difference between the units is storage: the HS700 records video to a 240 GB hard drive, where the TM700 records to 32 GB of built-in flash. Both support SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.
Panasonic says pricing will be announced 30 days before the products reach retailers…and they haven’t said when that might be. However, industry watchers expect the camcorders to land in March or April, and since they land at the high end of Panasonic’s line, they won’t be inexpensive—the TM300 that they’re replacing is currently available for about $1,100.