Panasonic today announces two new full-High Definition 3CCD camcorders, the HDC-HS9, a hybrid model that can record to either an SD (or SDHC) Memory Card or its built-in 60-GB hard disk and the HDC-SD9, the world’s smallest and lightest SD card High Definition camcorder, weighing in at just 0.606 pounds.

Panasonic HDC-SD9 and HDC-HS9

The Panasonic HDC-SD9 and HDC-HS9 offer full-High Definition, 1920 x 1080 progressive recording (24 frames per second) and use the AVCHD video format.

In addition, the new models feature Panasonic’s original 3CCD system, Advanced MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), and a Leica Dicomar lens – three components that also contribute to the high-quality video output. Advanced MEGA O.I.S. checks and compensates for hand-shake around 4,000 times per second, about eight times more effectively than Panasonic’s previous systems. In a 3CCD camera system, the light received through the lens is split into its three primary color components – red, green and blue – and a signal from each is processed by one of the three CCDs to provide rich and detailed video images.

Panasonic HDC-SD9 and HDC-HS9

The SD9 and HS9 are the world’s first camcorders to feature Face Detection for use in recording moving images. Face Detection automatically locates any faces in the picture and adjusts the exposure, contrast and skin tone to achieve optimal results. Thus, even when the faces are backlit or the lighting is low, faces are clear and not lost in the shadows.

Panasonic’s Intelligent Shooting Guide makes important shooting features that are available on the camcorder, but often go unused by the consumer, more intuitive and obvious. For instance, with Intelligent Shooting Guide, the SD9 and HS9 will detect when shooting conditions are poor and then display tips on the LCD as a way for the user to correct the error before recording the content. Intelligent Shooting Guide can detect errors in the following common shooting situations: when the camcorder is panning too quickly or tilted; when the user’s hand is swinging; when the subject is backlit; or the lighting is too low. Now common shooting errors can be noticed prior to the playback and corrected accordingly.

Other new features on both the HDC-SD9 and HDC-HS9 include:

Intelligent Shooting Selection Playback – Helps prevent recording errors being viewed during playback, as it will automatically skip over any shots that have serious errors, such as hand swing, fast panning, out-of-focus images or shots of the ground taken when the user forgets to turn off the camcorder.

Advanced 5.1-Channel Surround Sound – With five microphones, when recordings are played on a 5.1-channel home theater system, viewers will be surrounded by clear, detailed sound. A Zoom Mic feature lets the microphone get as close as the camera’s zoom lens.

High-Speed Burst Shooting at 24 Frames/Sec – Ability for the camcorder to take up to 24 consecutive 2.1 megapixel resolution still images in one second or up to 72 consecutive shots in three seconds.

World Timer – Handy for travelers this feature makes it easy to set the time when crossing time zones and again when returning home by switching between the two times with a press of a button. Simply select the destination from the display map, and the camcorder is automatically set for that time zone.

0.6-Sec Quick Start – Starts recording just 0.6 second from the time the LCD is opened, making it easier to catch those special moments that come with no warning.

Both models will be available in March 2008 with manufacturer suggested retail prices of $799.95 for the HDC-SD9 and $1099.95 for the HDC-SH9.

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