Panasonic Announces Ultralight HD Camcorders

Panasonic HDC-SD10
Joining the slew of high-definition camcorders the company unveiled at CES earlier this year, two new Panasonic HD camcorders will be available in September that the company claims are "the world's lightest full-HD AVCHD camcorders."

The Panasonic HDC-SD10 and Panasonic HDC-TM10 will both weigh just half a pound, and will offer 16X optical zoom lenses bolstered by optical image stabilization.

The HC-SD10 records 1920-by-1080 (full HD) video to SD/SDHC cards with the AVCHD codec at a bit rate of 17mbps, while the HDC-TM10 records to both an 8GB flash drive and SD/SDHC cards. The HDC-TM10 also has the ability to switch between storage formats on the fly, which means video capture isn't interrupted if one of the storage devices fills up in the middle of a shoot.

Panasonic HDC-TM10
Both camcorders will also boast features that are showing up in many Panasonic camcorder models, as well as in rival camcorders from other manufacturers. The HDC-SD10 and HDC-TM10 both power on once you flip out their touchscreen LCDs, and Panasonic is touting a quick, 1.9-second power-up time for both camcorders. Each unit also features a prerecording buffer, in which video is captured three seconds before the record button is pressed; this feature is geared towards helping action shooters capture hard-to-catch shots.

The new camcorders will also feature Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode, a feature we've found to work very well in the company's digital still cameras. When turned on, Intelligent Auto mode uses a number of in-camera features operating simultaneously--optical image stabilization, automatic scene selection, contrast correction, face detection, and autofocus tracking--to make shooting easy for casual users.

Both are slated for a September release; the SDHC-only Panasonic HDC-SD10 will be priced at $550, while the hybrid-storage HDC-TM10 will cost $600.

In the market for a new camcorder? Read our digital camcorder buying guide (and watch our video, too) to help you decide on the right kind of camera for your needs.

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