Panasonic Introduces First AVCHD Camcorders With 3MOS System
Panasonic today expanded its High Definition (HD) suite of products, with the announcement of two new full-HD camcorders, the HDC-SD100 and HDC-HS100, the world's first AVCHD camcorders with a 3MOS system, which provides superb video image quality. The HDC-SD100 records to SD Memory Card, while the hybrid HDC-HS100 records to both SD Memory Card and to its internal 60 GB hard drive. Both models include manual functions for the user wanting more precise control over zoom, focus, iris, shutter speed and white balance. The models also include Panasonic's new Intelligent Auto (iA) mode, an intuitive set of technologies that automatically activate, making video shooting an easy, seamless process.
The world's first AVCHD camcorders with a 3MOS system are newly developed by Panasonic and based on the company's 3CCD technology. With their expanded light-receiving areas, the MOS sensors also significantly improve image quality, even in low lighting. The three MOS sensors process the red, green, and blue components of incoming light separately, improving color reproduction. These sensors also have about double the light-receiving area of CCD sensors, so image quality when shooting in low light is much higher. Compared with a conventional 1MOS, Panasonic's new 3MOS system captures more vibrant, true-to-life colors, greater detail and richer gradation. This high-precision imaging element is first in the world to shoot in lighting as low as 2 lux.
Adding to the 3MOS sensor, Panasonic HD Advanced Pure Color Engine and a new Leica Dicomar lens. The Leica Dicomar lens system used in camcorders comprise 12 lenses in 9 groups, including aspherical lenses to improve resolution and contrast and an LD (low-dispersion) lens to help prevent color bleeding. Also, a special multi-coating process is applied to all lens elements to minimize chromatic aberration. The use of a highly-refractive lens also made it possible to have both 12x zoom power and a compact body.
For these cameras, Panasonic enhanced its Advanced Pure Color Engine image processor with the introduction of the new HD Advanced Pure Color Engine. A noise reduction circuit combines with the Intelligent Contrast Control circuit to boost image quality while reducing power consumption. The dynamic range is also about twice that in previous Panasonic models, which helps prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows and allows more natural color expression.
Panasonic's iA mode, automatically activates several convenient shooting functions at once, so the user does not have to manually change any settings. These include:
- Advanced O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) detects hand-shake and then triggers the lens to shift to correctly align the optical axis, helping to ensure videos are sharp and reduce blur. This happens at a rate of 4,000 times per second.
- Face Detection automatically adjusts the exposure, contrast, skin complexion effect, and focus so that faces are always clear. Face Detection can detect up to 15 faces in a frame.
- Intelligent Contrast Control continually measures the ambient light intensity and adjusts the contrast as it changes, helping to prevent a washed-out look in bring parts of an image and black-outs in parts with shadows.
- Intelligent Scene Selection which determines the shooting environment and automatically selects the appropriate scene setting for optimal results.
Both camcorders come packaged with HD Writer 2.6 software for Windows, and also support iMovie '08 for Apple. The SD100 and HS100 are compatible with Panasonic's VIERA Link, allowing users to connect the camcorder to a VIERA HDTV via an HDMI cable, and operate the camcorder using the TV remote control, and following on-screen prompts.
Users can also copy their video content to DVDs for quick, convenient playback. A Panasonic VW-BN1 DVD Burner (optional) can be used to burn HD images onto a DVD disc in the original AVCHD format; no need to use a PC. The copied DVD discs can then be easily played with the VW-BN1 and sent via the SD100 or HS100 to a HDTV.
Other features of both the HDC-SD100 and HDC-HS100 include:
Quick Power-On ensures the camcorders are in recording standby and can shoot in just 1.9 seconds.
Digital Cinema Color mode automatically switches the camcorder to the optimum setting for the Digital Cinema Color mode, available on Panasonic's VIERA Plasma HDTVs, providing a theater-like viewing experience.
Intelligent Shooting Selection Playback automatically detects scenes that have serious flaws – such as images that are completely out of focus or shots of the ground taken inadvertently – and automatically skips them during playback.
5-Microphone, 5.1-Channel Surround Sound System allows users to feel surrounded by clear, detailed sound during playback on a 5.1-channel home cinema. A Zoom Mic function links the microphone's capabilities to connect to what the camcorder is recording. A Focus Mic function picks up the sounds from sources in the area in front of the camcorder, regardless of whether the lens is focusing on a near or distant object.
Mic Input and Headphone Jack allows the camcorders to connect to an external mic or headphones.
High-Speed Burst Shooting lets the camcorders snap up to 24 consecutive 2.1 MB resolution still images in a second, or up to approximately 72 consecutive shots in 3 seconds.
Pre-Rec enables the camcorder to continuously record three seconds (while in the Pre-Rec mode) internal buffer memory. Then, when the Record button is actually pressed, the three seconds immediately prior are added at the beginning of the clip.
Wide-Viewing-Angle LCD has 300,000 dots and a 170-degree viewing angle both vertically and horizontally.
Both Panasonic models will be available in September 2008 for manufacturer's suggested retail prices of $1,299.95 for the HDC-SD100 and $1,099.95 for the HDC-HS100.
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