Panasonic has unveiled two 3CCD high-definition (HD) consumer digital video cameras that record 1080i HD images in the new AVCHD format.
Available in Japan from December 1, the HDC-SD1 is the world's first video camera
that captures 1080i HD images onto SD/SDHC Memory Cards. The HDC-DX1 that uses 8-cm
DVD discs for recording will be on store shelves in Japan on December 15.
Panasonic believes SD/SDHC Memory Cards are ideal for video recording. The
postage-size cards do not require any moving parts for recording, making the
HDC-SD1 the world's smallest and lightest HD video camera to date. The SD/SDHC
Memory Cards also promise a 1.7 second quick start-up, and skip-free, reliable
recording. The HDC-SD1, measuring 74 x 69 x 142 mm (430 g weight excl. battery),
records up to 90 minutes of HD images on a 4 GB SDHC Memory Card in HE mode
(approx. 6 Mbps).
The HDC-DX1 model uses 8-cm DVD discs, providing multi-format compatibility
supporting DVD-RAM/-R/-RW and DVD-R double-layer (DL) discs. The HDC-DX1, measuring
92 x 91 x 163 mm (680 g weight excl. battery), records up to 60 minutes of HD
images on an 8-cm DVD-R DL disc in HE mode.
Both models support the AVCHD format, an HD digital video camera recording format
Panasonic developed with Sony to let consumers enjoy high-resolution home videos
easily in the living rooms. This new format enables recording and playback of
high-resolution digital images and 5.1-channel surround sound.
The HDC-SD1 and HDC-DX1 feature a newly-developed 3CCD imaging system designed
particularly for HD shooting. The new system provides a higher color resolution
which is more than double the resolution of conventional image sensors. Their
high-sensitivity features also allow for shooting in poorly-lit situations - for
example, as low as six lux.
To achieve high-quality HD recording, Panasonic has also developed a new high-speed
HD signal processor, the HD Crystal Engine, that processes images twice as quickly
as progressive scan CCDs. Panasonic has also developed a new LSI to implement the
MPEG4 AVC/H.264 technology used in the AVCHD format. The two models are equipped
with a new compact, wide-angle Leica Dicomar Lens. From image processing and
compression to recording, the two compact cameras are packed with Panasonic's
"black-box" technologies to set a new standard in HD video recording.
In addition to splendid images, the HDC-SD1 and HDC-DX1 feature 5.1-channel
surround sound with five microphones. The microphone system has a zoom function. As
the camera zooms in the subject, the microphones simultaneously zoom in and pick up
the sound around the subject in the distance.
Being Panasonic products, both models include the proprietary Optical Image
Stabilizer (O.I.S.) that compensates for unintended hand-shakes when shooting. The
larger the TV screen becomes, the more the resolution and clarity become important.
The O.I.S. corrects blurring caused by hand-shake without compromising the image