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Panasonic Debuts World's First AVCHD Cameras

Panasonic has unveiled two 3CCD high-definition 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.

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 that Panasonic developed with Sony. 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. The new cameras therefore produce more vivid and true-to-life images than ever before. 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.

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.

Source: Panasonic

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