The plot thickens in the HD consumer camcorder arena, where now Panasonic tops itself with a true 1920x1080i upgrade to its now already-obsolete HDC-SD1 and HDC-DX1 HD camcorders, calling this latest pair the HDC-SD3 and HDC-DX3.

They're both recording in that beloved H.264 compression scheme that's so squeaky-clean and compact, with the SD3 using a high-capacity SDHC flash card (good for 90 minutes of 1080i video) and the hump-backed DX3 using an old-timey DVD, which we can certainly do without.


Check out the gallery below, and jump for pricing, availability and commentary.

These two models ought to give JVC's similarly outfitted and outstanding $1799 HD Everio GZ-HD7 camcorder, which we've had our hands on and like very much, a run for its money. But then, that JVC camcorder has a 60GB hard drive on board, and the $1270ish Panasonic SD3 includes a 4GB SDHC flash memory card.

Rolling out in Japan late this month, expect to see these two sharpshooters by late Spring here in the United States. While still a bit pricey for the mainstream, it won't be long before all camcorders are made this way.

Panasonic HDC-SD3 and HDC-DX3 AVCHD Camcorder [I4U]