Reprinted from a Panasonic press release:

Panasonic has just introduced a camcorder that is destined to change forever what we expect in home video recording: DVD video quality from a package about the size of a thick credit card and no mechanical recording media whatsoever, the world’s smallest MPEG 2 camcorder. Officially, it’s the new SV-AV100 D-SNAP SD Video Camcorder from Panasonic. Unofficially, it’s the new standard for making home videos.

The SV-AV100 is part of a totally new line of D-SNAP products just introduced by Panasonic. Measuring a mere 1.25 by 2.125 by 3.5 inches, it’s designed to be truly the world’s smallest high-quality camcorder and literally drops into a pocket, purse, or briefcase for instant on-the-go videos.

“Despite the ever-shrinking size of conventional camcorders, they are often left behind on family outings,” says Andy Nelkin, vice president of Panasonic’s Optical Group. “The convenience of this camcorder is evident…it easily goes virtually anywhere.”

The secret to the camcorder’s incredible small size is simplicity itself: all recordings are captured on a thumbnail-size removable SD memory card. The card eliminates the need for conventional cassette tapes and mini-DVDs…and all the mechanical components that go with them. Size is drastically reduced while reliability is significantly enhanced. Not so simple, however, is the technology needed to make the SD card perform under the extremely high data rate required for MPEG2 DVD quality.

“Panasonic is the first-and at this time the only-company that has the technology to capture up to ten megabytes-per-second data transfer rates in a removable storage card,” adds Nelkin. “That’s crucial for DVD quality and it’s the reason we can create a product like the SV-AV100.”

Capturing the video on an SD card has yet another benefit: compatibility with other SD-equipped products. The card can be placed directly into one of Panasonic’s new DVD-RAM video recorders, for example, and home videos can be easily copied to DVD RAM or DVD-R videodiscs for permanent archiving. Once copied, the SD card can then be cleared and reused again. Additionally, the camcorder comes with a recharging base with A/V cable to allow stereo audio and composite video to be played directly onto a television (equipped with A/V input connections) or a VCR to archive onto VHS tape.

The SV-AV100 can also create still images and MPEG4 movies designed for Internet or e-mail use. Using the included software and cable, the camcorder attaches to any computer equipped with a USB 2.0 connection for quick and easy download. With multiple MPEG4 recording modes, it allows the user to tailor the file size and speed of the video for a variety of e-mail and Internet needs. In the Digital Photo Shot mode, the camcorder creates still images at 640 x 480 pixels-perfect for email for automatic slideshow viewing on a TV.

Along with its small size and picture creation capabilities, the SV-AV100 also contains features expected on any full-size camcorder. Images and video can be easily viewed on the flip-open 2.5-inch LCD screen that turns 180-degrees for self-shooting, while audio is heard through a built-in speaker. The LCD screen also displays video playback, a grid of 4×3 thumbnail still images, and camcorder settings, which are selected with a single multi-function button for quick, fingertip control. At a finger’s touch, for instance, set automatic or manual focus, auto or manual iris, white balance, and the date.

For users who simply want to point and shoot, the camcorder also contains five Program AE modes to automatically adjust all settings for Sports, Portrait, Low Light, Spot-Light, and Surf & Snow conditions. The clever camcorder also keeps track of separate scenes (images between pause or start and stop) allowing the user to view a Play List to cue, skip or jump nearly instantly to any particular scene.

Users can be creative with the camcorder’s 10X variable speed optical zoom and a 25X/100X digital zoom for close-ups and long shots-and both are complemented with EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) for jitter-free recording under virtually all conditions. Add controls for Pause, Still Advance and Slow Motion, and the SV-AV100 becomes an extraordinary camcorder in an unbelievable package.

“Panasonic has for years led the industry in camcorder technology,” says Nelkin. “And now that industry has been taken to yet another level.”

The SV-AV100 D-SNAP SD Video Camcorder comes with A/V charging cradle, lithium battery pack, IR remote control, A/V and USB cables, PC software, lens cap, soft case, and a 512 MB SD card. It will be available in October with an MSRP of $999.95.

The included 512MB SD card holds up to 20 minutes of MPEG2 video shot in Standard Mode. Larger capacity SD cards for longer recording times are available separately.

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