Panasonic Australia recently announced two new compact and convenient entry-level Full High Definition 1920 x 1080 AVCHD1 camcorders for the Australian market – designed for those who seek both simplicity and quality when recording video.
The HDC-HS20 is a hybrid SD/HDD model capable of recording onto its internal 80-GB hard disk or an SDHC/SD Memory Card (optional). The HDC-SD20 uses the SDHC/SD Memory Card as a recording media and is compact and lightweight.
Featuring a newly-developed Leica Dicomar lens with a 16x optical zoom, these models give users a larger zoom range in Full HD image quality. The Advanced Optical Image Stabiliser (O.I.S) operates at an incredible rate of 4,000 times per second to correct the effect of hand shake, so even at full zoom, images are sharp and blur-free.
These camcorders boast Intelligent Auto (iA) with new functionality for video capture – AF Tracking – which makes it simple to record perfectly focused and exposed video, with just the touch of a fingertip on the LCD.
For added ease and convenience, the new camcorders feature a wide 2.7-inch LCD with touchscreen functionality. Low light recording is assisted with a LED Video light, for greater flexibility when recording at night or indoors.
Uploading videos to social networking website, YouTube2, to share with family and friends is simple and fast, thanks to the user-friendly software.
SD/HDD Hybrid Recording – HS20: The HS20 is a hybrid camcorder with an 80-GB HDD for over 33 hours of recording (in HE mode). When combined with a 32-GB SDHC Memory Card (optional), the camcorder provides an additional recording time of 12 hours. The camcorder can transfer recorded video images from the SDHC/SD Memory Card to the hard disk, or vice versa, with easy operation.
SDHC/SD Memory Card Recording – SD20: The SD20 is highly resistant to knocks and bumps because it records onto SD and SDHC Memory Cards and so has no drive mechanism. This high level of durability, combined with the compact size and lightweight body (weighing a tiny 267g) makes the SD20 ideal for travel or simply shooting on the go.
Touchscreen operation: The HS20 and SD20 both feature a 2.7 inch wide touch-screen LCD. This new feature allows easy fingertip control of icons displayed on the LCD, so users can operate functions intuitively without looking away from the subject on the LCD.
Intelligent Auto (iA) with new AF Tracking feature: The newest iA mode is the AF Tracking function, which incorporates the new touch-screen LCD for accurate focus selection anywhere in the frame. By simply touching the subject on the camcorder’s LCD, the focus locks on the selected subject and the exposure is correctly adjusted. AF Tracking keeps the subject in focus even if they move or turn away from the camcorder. This records the subject with the optimal auto focus and auto exposure settings for beautiful results.
Face Detection: which senses the ambient lighting and adjusts the exposure accordingly so faces are bright and easy to see. Up to 15 faces can be detected.
Intelligent Contrast Control: detects the intensity of the ambient light and adjusts the exposure accordingly to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows. This ensures that exposure is well-balanced across a single image and detail maintained.
Scene Detection for motion images: The iA automatically selects the most suitable settings from Portrait, Scenery, Low-light and Spotlight.
Scene Detection for still images: The iA automatically selects the most suitable settings from Portrait, Scenery, Macro, Night Portrait and Night Scenery.
Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) for capturing clear, sharp images even when shooting long-distance zoom shots, when hand-shake is typically a concern.
Advanced O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabiliser): Panasonic’s Advanced O.I.S. works by gyro sensors detecting hand-shake while a lens unit shifts to correctly align the optical axis, so that images are sharp and blur-free. Because Panasonic’s system is optical there is no loss of quality.
1.9-sec Quick Power-On: Switch the power on and the camcorder is in recording standby and ready to shoot in just 1.9 seconds. When combined with Quick Start mode, the camcorder can start up in just 0.6 second4. In addition, when Eco mode is used, the power automatically turns off when the camcorder is not operated for more than five continuous minutes, thus reducing energy wastage and conserving battery power.
5-microphone, 5.1-channel surround sound system: both camcorders feature an outstanding 5.1-channel surround sound system with five microphones to capture natural, high-quality sound. When these recordings are played on a 5.1-channel home cinema system, the clear, detailed sound makes you feel as if you’re right there in the scene. A Zoom Mic function links the microphones’ directivity to the operation of the zoom lens, and a Focus Mic function picks up sounds from sources in the area in front of the camcorder, regardless of whether the lens is focusing on a near or distant object.
50 frames/sec High-Speed burst shooting: this new function lets the camcorder shoot up to 50 consecutive 0.9-megapixel still images in a second, or, up to 180 consecutive shots in 3.6 seconds. It can be used to analyse a golf swing, tennis stroke or other action in slow motion. It can also be used to get the best still shot of fast moving subjects. The user can fire off a number of shots without stopping, then keep the best ones and delete the rest.
Auto Power LCD: automatically adjusts the brightness of the LCD screen according to the shooting conditions. In darker, indoor locations it automatically reduces the LCD brightness to around 1/3 the normal level. In bright sunlit areas, it doubles the LCD brightness level, to make the image on the screen easier to see. Since this convenient function occurs automatically (manual adjustment is also possible), it helps the user to film easily in all lighting conditions. The LCD has a wide 170° viewing angle to enable easy viewing even at low or high angles.
Time Frame Index: the index function has been enhanced with the addition of a new feature that divides each recorded scene into a number of smaller scenes, and displays thumbnails for each. This makes it much easier to find a particular part of a scene without having to fast forward. The Time Frame Index feature divides each recorded clip into 3-second, 6-second, 12-second, 1-minute and 5-minute intervals, and displays them. This is convenient when you want to find a specific scene within a long clip.
Highlight Index: the camera automatically selects and displays the most exciting scenes. It determines the level of importance of each scene based on zooming and panning and whether there are faces or changes in audio level. This provides a convenient way of viewing all the highlights together.
VIERA Link: the camcorders are compatible with Panasonic’s VIERA Link. Connect a camcorder to a VIERA TV via a mini HDMI cable, and operate the camcorder using the TV remote control and following on-screen prompts. This adds extra ease and convenience to the fun of viewing Full HD videos.
SD Networking with VIERA TV and Blu-ray Disc player: the user may view recorded images on the large screen of a compatible Panasonic VIERA TV5 by simply inserting the SD Memory Card into the SD slot on the TV. This allows instant playback of video clips recorded in the AVCHD format in full-HD quality. Similarly, insert the SD card into a Panasonic Blu-ray Disc™ Player6 with SD slot for easy playback.
Creating and playing back DVD Discs with one-touch: connecting the HS20 or SD20 via USB cable to the optional VW-BN1 DVD Burner and pressing a single button is all it takes to copy recorded video clips from an SDHC/SD Memory Card or hard disk to a DVD disc (DVD-RAM/-RW/-R/-R DL) in either AVCHD or MPEG-2 format. Select the AVCHD format for HD playback on a large-screen TV using a Blu-ray Disc player. Or choose MPEG-2 for easy playback using a DVD player. This makes video archiving and playback far more convenient.
Quick Data Copying (HDC-HS20): recorded videos can be copied from an SDHC/SD Memory Card to the HDD/built-in memory, or vice versa, inside the camcorder. The user can select from three copying methods.
HD Writer AE 1.0 editing software for PC: data can easily be edited on a PC using the included HD Writer AE 1.0 editing software (for Windows OS). The camcorders can also transfer video data to a Mac computer so they may be edited in HD image quality using iMovie software. HD Writer AE 1.0 has a new function that allows easy uploading of video clips to the YouTube website. After shooting, simply connect the camcorder to a PC via a USB cable, to easily upload your favourite video clips to YouTube. Using HD Writer AE 1.0 software together with the camcorder’s Intelligent Shooting Selection Playback function, scenes determined to be seriously flawed (for example, from overly severe hand-shake or backlighting) are automatically extracted. The user can then delete them easily.
Price and availability
HDC-HS20. $1,649 RRP. Available Late February.
HDC-SD20. $1,099 RRP. Available mid-February.