(edited to add specs on camcorders, and new pricing information from Panasonic)

Panasonic sent around a press release today announcing two new HD camcorders, the HDC-SD100, and the HDC-HS100. Recording AVCHD to memory card, (and to hard drive in the SD100 model) they use 3MOS sensors. What’s the difference between MOS and CMOS you might be asking yourself? Well so are we, they seem to be functionally the same technology. CMOS stands for complementary-symmetry metaloxidesemiconductor, while MOS is the same thing, just dropping the complementary-symmetry part. But I digress…

One really promising feature of these camcorders are the attention paid to manual controls. Yes, finally a manufacturer realizes the demand for manual control ofzoom, focus, iris, shutter speed and white balance in a small camcorder format. It’s got mic and headphone jacks to boot. We’re not sure if these manual controls are accessed through a buttons, or with real switches, knobs, and rings, but it looks like Panasonic could be onto a winner here. You’ll have to wait until September 08 to find out though, when the camcorders are released. We’ll definitely want to get our hands on one of these to test out. More details can be found below-

From a Panasonic Press Release:

PANASONIC ADDS TWO NEW HD CAMCORDERS TO ITS LINE WORLDS FIRST AVCHD MODELS WITH A 3MOS SYSTEM

New High Definition Camcorders Offer Increased Manual Functions for More Creative Use and Intelligent Auto Mode to Make Shooting More Intuitive

Secaucus, NJ (June 18, 2008) 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 worlds 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 Panasonics new Intelligent Auto (iA) mode, an intuitive set of technologies that automatically activate, making video shooting an easy, seamless process.

The camcorder market is moving swiftly to High Definition and superior image quality is now a must-have feature. Moreover, many consumers are also demanding higher-level features, and the ability to be more creative, said Zoe Susice, Group Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. For these users, we introduce two new full-HD 3MOS models the HDC-SD100 and HDC-HS100 with manual functions that give users the power to create dramatic, artistic images. At the same time, we also have our Intelligent Auto mode, which activates several technologies automatically, so the user doesnt need to make any adjustments, and shooting video is an easy and enjoyable experience.

The world’s first AVCHD camcorders with a 3MOS system are newly developed by Panasonic and based on the companys 3CCD technology, an already-established and renowned system that provides excellent color reproduction. 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, so color reproduction is superb. 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 and helps the SD100 and HS100 capture exceptionally clear, bright images.

Adding to the 3MOS sensor, Panasonic HD Advanced Pure Color Engine and a new Leica**** Dicomar lens helps the SD100 and HS100 deliver the outstanding images in full-HD 1920 x 1080 recording*****. Full-HD recording, with its total of 2,070,000 pixels, provides exceptional image details and rich colors. The Leica Dicomer 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, so images are crisp, clear, and free of flare and ghosting. The use of a highly-refractive lens also made it possible to have both 12x zoom power and a compact body.

To maximize the capabilities of the new HD-level 3MOS sensor featured in the SD100 and HS100, Panasonic further enhanced the companys renowned 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. Offering both higher image quality and longer battery life, the HD Advanced Pure Color Engine takes camcorder performance to new heights.

Panasonics 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, which let users directly edit the high-quality full-HD moving pictures they capture with their camcorders. The SD100 and HS100 are compatible with Panasonic’s VIERA LinkTM, 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. Furthermore, users can also take the SD Memory Cards from the camcorders and slip it into the SD card slot on a Panasonic PZ850 series VIERA HDTV, or a Panasonic BD50 or BD30 Blu-ray DiscTM Player, and enjoy easy, instant large-screen viewing of stunning HD video.

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, making it easy to catch spur-of-the-moment shots, while being conservative of the battery.

Digital Cinema Color mode automatically switches the camcorder to the optimum setting for the Digital Cinema Color mode, available on Panasonics 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. Viewers see only high-quality, mistake-free moving images.

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 microphones 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. This LCD provides extended viewing from both high and low angles.

Both Panasonic models will be available in September 2008 The HDC-SD100 will have an MSRP of $1,099.95 and the HDC-HS100 will have an MSRP of $1,299.95. The SD100 will also come standard with an 8GB SDHC memory card. For more information, please visit www.panasonic.com.

# # #

HDC-SD100 Specifications

Power source
DC 72 V / 9.3 V
Power consumption
3.5 W (EVF) / 3.7 W (LCD)
Signal system
1080 lines, 60 fields
Weight (w/o Battery)
320 g
Dimensions (W x H x D)
65 x 72 x 138 mm
Media
SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
Image sensor
1/6-inch MOS x 3 (610 k x 3 pixels, Total / 520 k x 3 (16:9) (Motion /Still Picture)
Lens
Auto iris, 12x power zoom
F 1..8 (WIDE) / F2.8 (TELE)
35mm equivalent
Motion picture: 42.1 to 505.0 mm (16:9)
Still picture: 42.1 to 505.0 mm (16:9)
Focal length
3.0 30.0 mm
Lens brand
Leica Dicomar
Filter diameter
37 mm
Zoom
12x optical zoom, 30/120x digital zoom
Monitor
2.7 wide LCD monitor (approx. 300,252 dots)
Viewfinder
0.44 wide EVF
Microphone
5.1-ch surround sound, Zoom Microphone, Focus Microphone
Speaker
Dynamic type
White balance adjustment
Auto / White Set / Daylight / Cloudy / Indoor1 / Indoor2 / Halogen
Standard illumination
1,400 lux
Minimum required illumination
2 lux (shutter speed 1/30, low light mode) (1 lux in MagicPix mode)
Focus
AF / Manual
High-speed shutter
(Motion Picture/ Still Picture)
[60i] Auto slow shutter ON : 1/30 1/8000
Auto slow shutter OFF: 1/60 1/8000
[24p] Auto slow shutter ON : 1/24 1/8000
Auto slow shutter OFF: 1/48 1/8000
Iris
Auto / Manual
USB
Card reader / writer function ( No copyright protection support)
High-Speed USB (USB2.0) (miniAB)
Pict Bridge-compliant, Host function (for DVD Burner)
Flash
Available flash range: approx. 1m to 2.5m
Standard accessories
8GB SDHC Memory Card, AC Adaptor, Battery Pack, IR Remote Controller, USB Cable, Component Cable, AV-Cable, CD-ROM (HD Writer Ver2.6)

Motion pictures
Compression
MPEG4-AVC/H.264 (AVCHD standard compliant)
Transfer rate
HA: approx. 17Mbps (VBR)/ HG: approx. 13 Mbps (VBR)/
HX: approx. 9 Mbps (VBR)/ HE: approx. 6 Mbps (VBR)
Picture size
HA/HG: 1920 x 1080(60i/24p), HX: 1920 x 1080(60i)/
HE: 1440 x 1080(60i)
Audio compression
Dolby Digital (Dolby AC3)/ 5.1-ch(Internal Mic), 2-ch (External Mic)

Still pictures
Compression
JPEG (DCF/Exif2.2 compliant)
Picture size
1920 x 1080 / 2.1MEGA (16:9)

HDC-HS100 Specifications

Power source
DC 7.2 V / 9.3 V
Power consumption
3.9 W (EVF) / 4.1 W (LCD)
Signal system
1080 lines, 60 fields
Weight (w/o Battery)
420 g
Dimensions (W x H x D)
74 x 76 x 138 mm
Media
60GB HDD/ SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
Image sensor
1/6-inch MOS x 3 (610 k x 3 pixels, Total / 520 k x 3 (16:9) (Motion /Still Picture)
Lens
Auto iris, 12x power zoom
F 1..8 (WIDE) / F2.8 (TELE)
35mm equivalent
Motion picture: 42.1 to 505.0 mm (16:9)
Still picture: 42.1 to 505.0 mm (16:9)
Focal length
3.0 30.0 mm
Lens brand
Leica Dicomar
Filter diameter
37 mm
Zoom
12x optical zoom, 30/120x digital zoom
Monitor
2.7 wide LCD monitor (approx. 300,252 dots)
Microphone
5.1-ch surround sound, Zoom Microphone, Focus Microphone
Speaker
Dynamic type
White balance adjustment
Auto / White Set / Daylight / Cloudy / Indoor1 / Indoor2 / Halogen
Standard illumination
1,400 lux
Minimum required illumination
2 lux (shutter speed 1/30, low light mode) (1 lux in MagicPix mode)
Focus
AF / Manual
High-speed shutter
(Motion Picture/ Still Picture)
[60i] Auto slow shutter ON : 1/30 1/8000
Auto slow shutter OFF: 1/60 1/8000
[24p] Auto slow shutter ON : 1/24 1/8000
Auto slow shutter OFF: 1/48 1/8000
Iris
Auto / Manual
USB
Card reader / writer function ( No copyright protection support)
High-Speed USB (USB2.0) (miniAB)
Pict Bridge-compliant, Host function (for DVD Burner)
Flash
Available flash range: approx. 1m to 2.5m
Standard accessories
AC Adaptor, Battery Pack, IR Remote Controller, USB Cable, Component Cable, AV-Cable, CD-ROM (HD Writer Ver2.6)

Motion pictures
Compression
MPEG4-AVC/H.264 (AVCHD standard compliant)
Transfer rate
HA: approx. 17Mbps (VBR)/ HG: approx. 13 Mbps (VBR)/
HX: approx. 9 Mbps (VBR)/ HE: approx. 6 Mbps (VBR)
Picture size
HA/HG: 1920 x 1080(60i/24p), HX: 1920 x 1080(60i)/
HE: 1440 x 1080(60i)
Audio compression
Dolby Digital (Dolby AC3)/ 5.1-ch(Internal Mic), 2-ch (External Mic)

Still pictures
Compression
JPEG (DCF/Exif2.2 compliant)
Picture size
1920 x 1080 / 2.1MEGA (16:9)

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