Panasonic's outing two new budget HD camcorders: the HDC SDX1, a 1080-shooting compact camcorder with a 2.7" touch screen and the ability to snip still shots from video clips, and the HM-TA1, a 1080p pocket cam that doubles as a webcam.
The HM-TA1, the 1080p pocketcam, shoots 8MP stills and can grab 5MP shots from video clips—handy if that perfect moment happened to come right while you were recording some video, which it shoots in MP4 and Apples iFrame format. The pocketcam also has built-in software for acting as a webcam; just plug it in via USB and it'll work with Skype or other videochat programs. It'll be available in August, in gray, purple, or black, for $170.
The HDC-SDX1, which Panasonic's touting as their lightest full-HD camcorder, has a 35.8mm wide-angle lens and 23x intelligent zoom—though any non-optical zoom is always a dicey affair. The TA1 has four-axis blur detection and new hybrid image stabilization which offers both optical and electrical correction for countering shaky hands, and, like the TA1, it can double as a webcam when plugged in to your computer.
In addition to a 2.7" touch screen, it has a standard slew of features: face recognition, AF/AE tracking, and intelligent scene selector and contrast control—it'll be available in September, but you'll $500 for the superior image quality. [Panasonic>]
PANASONIC INTRODUCES COMPANY'S FIRST HIGH DEFINITION POCKET-SIZED MOBILE VIDEO CAMERA THAT CAN DOUBLE AS A WEB CAM WHEN CONNECTED TO COMPUTER
Compact Panasonic HM-TA1 is the Ideal Video Camera for On-the-Go HD Video Shooting; Plus Software Allows Seamless Transition for Use as a Web Camera
SECAUCUS, NJ (July 27, 2010) – Panasonic today introduced the Panasonic HM-TA1, a new Full High Definition (HD), 1920 x 1080 pixels-capable mobile video camera with pocket-sized dimensions for ultimate portability and ideal for on-the-go shooting opportunities. With an easy-to-use design intended for intuitive operation, the TA1 features an integrated USB terminal and software that allows for easy PC connection and uploading videos to online sharing sites such as YouTube™ and Facebook®. The TA1 also supports the Apple© iFrame video format (960 x 540/30p), which is optimal for Mac® users to import quickly and maintain small file sizes. When using iMovie®, the iFrame video data in the video camera is the same format as the one that is used to edit.
Beyond its HD video-capturing capabilities, the TA1 can also double as a Web camera and microphone, working with IP-based video chat programs, such as Skype*, by simply connecting the video camera to a computer via an included USB port. Thanks to integrated software, using the TA1 with video chatting services is seamless – an easy way to enjoy face-to-face communication with long-distance family or friends.
"The new Panasonic TA1 is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, extremely easy and intuitive to use, and yet it is still powerful enough to shoot full-HD video and high-quality photos," said Chris Rice, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "Designed to integrate easily with popular online social networks to quickly share videos, the TA1 can also be used as a Web camera, allowing users to make video chat calls – making this extremely portable video camera a truly versatile gadget."
Measuring a mere 2.09 inch (w) x 0.70 inch (d) x 4.09 inch (h), and weighing just 0.25lb (with battery and SD card), the Panasonic TA1 is a compact and lightweight HD mobile video camera that records high-quality videos and photos. Complete with a wrist strap, making it ideal for carrying, the TA1 is perfect for shooting spontaneous videos and snapping photos. With an easy-to-use design, the TA1's single-function buttons include: Power, Play, Record, Still Photo, LED Light (on/off) and Delete. In addition, there is a center keypad for selecting additional settings.
The Panasonic TA1 can record still photos with up to eight Megapixels. This high-resolution capability helps ensure clear, vivid images with sharp details and all data records to an SDXC/SDHC/SD Memory Card. The TA1 can also cut still images out of a video clip during editing. There is no need to connect any other device or to load the video into a PC for editing. To cut out and save a still image, simply press the Still Picture button when the desired image appears on the TA1's 2.0" LCD monitor. A unique feature for mobile video cameras, the Panasonic TA1 includes a built-in LED light**, which comes in handy when shooting in dimly-lit situations, such as indoors.
The TA1 has an integrated USB terminal with pre-loaded software that allows recorded video clips and still images to be easily loaded into a PC, edited, and then uploaded to popular sharing websites. When the TA1 is connected to the PC's USB slot, its built-in software, HD Writer PE 1.0, automatically launches, enabling one-touch loading of data into the PC for editing. The TA1 records MPEG-4 AVC file format (MP4), which offers excellent PC compatibility and is ideal for viewing clear, high-resolution images on a PC or distributing them over a network.
Other features of the Panasonic HM-TA1 include:
* E.I.S. (Electrical Image Stabilization) to minimize hand-shake issues.
* Digital zoom up to 4x, helping to expand the user's shooting range.
* Color effects enabling creative shooting, including Sepia, Monochrome, and Soft Skin. Sepia mode adds warmth to the captured images; SoftSkin produces realistic skin tones; and Monochrome mode transforms the appearance to create a cool ambience.
* USB-capable charging by connected the TA1's USB cord to a PC***, eliminating the need to carry a separate cord or charger.
The Panasonic HM-TA1 will be available in three different color options, purple, dark grey and red in August 2010 with a suggested retail price of $169.95.
*The use of a high-performance CPU is recommended for video conferencing with high-quality images.
** The LED light does not go on when operating as a Web camera.
*** Do not use any USB extension cord other than the supplied one (Operation is not guaranteed with any other USB extension cord.).
PANASONIC INTRODUCES THEIR LIGHTEST*1 FULL-HD CONSUMER CAMCORDER THAT IS ALSO A WEB CAM FOR VIDEO CHATTING
New 35.8mm Wide-Angle Lens*3, 23x Intelligent Zoom and Advanced Optical Technology Make the Panasonic HDC-SDX1 Ideal for High-Quality Video Shooting
SECAUCUS, NJ (July 27, 2010) – Today Panasonic introduces the new HDC-SDX1, the world's lightest*1 full-High Definition (HD) camcorder, featuring an ultra-compact body and weighing in at just under 0.41 lbs. With its stylish and lightweight design, the new Panasonic SDX1 features a 35.8mm wide-angle lens*2, 23x Intelligent Zoom and can also double as a Web camera with built-in capabilities for Internet video calling.
In addition to being a camcorder that can capture HD video content, the SDX1 also serves as a Web camera and microphone, allowing for users to connect with online video chat programs, such as Skype*3, and make video calls over the Internet to enable easy visual communication. By simply connecting the SDX1 to a computer, users can enjoy face-to-face communication with family or friends in distant locations right on the computer screen. In addition, the SDX1 supports Apple© iFrame video format for smooth and easy loading and editing of image data using a Mac® computer. Users can directly upload video clips to YouTubeTM or Facebook® without having to launch a browser, for quick video sharing with included software.
"With the addition of the SDX1, Panasonic has given consumers a versatile camcorder that can be used not only for high-quality video shooting, but also sharing these precious recorded moments with family and friends who may be far away," said Chris Rice, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "We do our best to provide products that adapt to the ever-changing world of technology and this model does just that – it's a camcorder that shoots high-quality video, using its incredible zooming capabilities and advanced optical technology – while providing consumers with the ability to make video calls from a computer."
The Panasonic HDC-SDX1 also features a newly-developed HYBRID Optical Image Stabilization system (O.I.S.), an image stabilization system that provides optical and electrical hand-shake correction. This system specifically helps when zooming, making it possible to record beautiful videos. In addition to the HYBRID O.I.S. system, the SDX1 provides even more powerful hand-shake correction with O.I.S. Lock. By pressing the O.I.S. Lock button on the LCD monitor, the blur detection sensitivity is maximized and other camera movements are detected and corrected.
While compact in size and light in weight, the SDX1 is packed with advanced features. It has full-HD AVCHD recording capabilities with outstanding 1920 x 1080*4 image quality, and records in the PC-friendly MP4 format. Its 35.8mm wide-angle setting is optimal for recording portraits indoors, as well as sweeping landscapes and even allows for voices to be clearly recorded at far distances. The Intelligent Zoom function which was achieved with the Intelligent Resolution technology of the newly-evolved image processing LSI, makes it possible to take telephoto shots with zoom power up to 23x.
Panasonic's Intelligent Auto (iA) mode automatically selects the most suitable of six shooting modes at the simple press of a button. These include Face Recognition, the new HYBRID O.I.S., AF/AE Tracking, Intelligent Scene Selector, Face Detection and Intelligent Contrast Control.
* Face Recognition finds the registered faces of subjects and automatically optimizes the focus and exposure, while continuously tracking them as they move around within the LCD frame.
* HYBRID O.I.S. provides more accurate hand-shake correction with its four-axis blur detection, helping to steady images even when zooming or shooting a moving subject.
* AF/AE Tracking tracks a moving subject to make sure it's recorded in optimal image quality. The normal Auto mode adjusts the focus and exposure for a subject at the center of the screen. With AF/AE Tracking, the user "locks on" to a subject by simply touching the LCD screen.
* Intelligent Scene Selector detects the situation and switches the scene mode accordingly.
* Face Detection captures faces beautifully even in dim or backlit scenes.
* Intelligent Contrast Control prevents blown highlights and blocked shadows to retain natural, highly-nuanced images with proper contrast.
* Touch Screen Operation with a 2.7-inch wide LCD monitor.
The Panasonic HDC-SDX1 will be available in black in September 2010 with a suggested retail price of $499.95. For more information on Panasonic camcorders, please visit www.panasonic.com/dvc.
*1 As of July 1, 2010. For a consumer-use AVCHD 1080i HD digital video camera. 185 grams without supplied battery and optional SD card. 229 grams with (supplied) battery and (optional) SD
*2 35mm camera equivalent.
*3 The use of a high-performance CPU is recommended for video conferencing with high-quality images.
*4 "Full-HD video with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels" in Panasonic home-use camcorders refers to video recordings with 1,920 pixels in the horizontal direction and 1,080 pixels in the vertical direction.
Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.
YouTube is a trademark of Google Inc.
Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.
Mac and iFrame are trademarks of Apple Inc.
About Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company
Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company (PCEC), is a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC) and the hub of Panasonic's U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Panasonic is pledged to practice prudent, sustainable use of the earth's natural resources and protect our environment through the company's Eco Ideas programs. Company information for journalists is available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom.