Panasonic AVCHD camcorder delivers three-CCDs in 1.1 pounds

Panasonic has introduced what it claims is the world’s smallest three-CCD HD camcorder. The newest member to the AVCHD solid-state family is the AG-HSC1U, weighing 1.1 pounds, recording 1080i images, and serving coaches, broadcasters and action sports production companies looking to gather HD shots in a new way.

The noiseless AG-HSC1U camcorder records up to 88 minutes (41 minutes in the highest quality mode) of video on a high-speed 4GB SDHC memory card. A highly-portable 40GB hard drive, capable of receiving and storing the contents of 10 4GB SDHC cards in the field, is packaged with the camcorder. SD video can be output in the widescreen 16:9 format.

“With the introduction of our AVCHD recording system, Panasonic expands its ability to offer professionals and video enthusiasts high-quality, solid-state acquisition solutions at a price that they can afford,” said Robert Harris, Vice President of Marketing, Panasonic Broadcast.

By utilizing the newly-developed, H.264-based Advanced Video Codec High Definition (AVCHD) video format, the AG-HSC1U delivers two times the recording efficiency of older MPEG-2 codec technologies like HDV. The AVCHD format is supported by a growing number of leading companies throughout the industry.

The camera comes with HD Writer version 1.0 software to perform simple edits as well as the ability to record onto a DVD-R for HD playback on a Blu-ray disc player from Panasonic or Sony (including PlayStation 3). More sophisticated editing software from third-party NLE companies is expected in the Spring. In addition, Panasonic is developing a professional AVCHD recorder that is expected to be available by end of 2007.

Other features include a Leica Dicomar lens system features 13 lens elements in 10 groups and 21 multi-coated surfaces. The wide angle Auto/Manual focus F1.6 lens with 43mm filter size includes advanced Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.). Its optical image stabilizer ensures reliable and stable acquisition in virtually every shooting environment. The lens system uses low-dispersion optical glass for reduced chromatic aberration to produce professional-looking images.

Other key features of the professional graphite-colored camcorder include faster recording on startup (1.7 seconds), a Digital Zoom (30X to 700X) and a minimum illumination of 6 lux for low-light shooting. For increased versatility, the AG-HSC1U can capture 2.1 Megapixel still images onto the SDHC memory card – even during video recording. Video connections including HDMI, USB 2.0, component video, composite video, stereo audio plus stereo mic in.

The AG-HSC1U (including camcorder, 40GB SD Store portable hard drive, 4GB SDHC memory card and HD Writer version 1.0 software) will be available in March at a suggested list price of $ 2,099. The camera will be offered with a one-year parts and labor professional warranty.

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