Reprinted from a Panasonic press release:

Blending innovative technologies with new, simple-to-operate controls, Panasonic’s newest camcorders combine industry leading optical zoom ratios, in a small form factor that allows for video recording just about anywhere.

“Life moves quickly, but with new easy-to-access controls and ‘direct select’ features on these new models, we’ve made it easy to quickly capture the moment in motion video and still images,” said Rudolf Vitti, national marketing manager of the Panasonic Optical Group. “But, ease of use doesn’t mean sacrificing high-end capabilities. These new models can bring you closer to the subject than ever before with improved optical zoom.”

The new models — the compact PV-GS9, PV-GS12, PV-GS14 and PV-GS15, and Ultra-Compact PV-GS55 Palmcorder Multicam were designed to simplify camcorder operation for the video novice and professional videographer alike, and include:

  • High-definition optical zoom and digital zoom capabilities (up to 24X on the PV-GS15).
  • Ease of operation through newly designed layout and controls.
  • A new Direct Mode Dial: for use in the digital still camera mode, this easy-access dial control lets users quickly select the desired digital camera mode, such as Record, Playback, Card Record or Card Playback.
  • An LCD screen that can be opened a full 120 degrees away from the camcorder’s body, making it easier to view motion images as they’re being captured.

    Of course, the new models are video cameras first and foremost, and are well appointed with features to produce sharp digital recordings. For example, the image-enhancing MagicPix feature allows for rich videos under low-light conditions. Digital Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) helps take the jitter out of hand-held video recording and compensate for unintentional hand and camcorder movement.

    Other innovative features include:

  • A built-in digital still camera feature for capturing crisp digital images to an SD Memory Card (except PV-GS9) or tape.
  • Web cam capability, which is ideal for video conferencing with friends or family, or use as a simple monitoring device when consumers are away from home.
  • MPEG-4 Movie recording (PV-GS55) lets users easily transfer MPEG-4 video clips with audio to a PC to create clip libraries and presentations, or to attach to an e-mail.
  • Soft Skin Detail function, which detects skin’s different tones and softens the focus to create a realistic blend.

    The new camcorders also include a Quick Start feature, which lets these models begin taping in 1.3 seconds after turning the power on so those unexpected moments won’t be missed.

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