Panasonic Reveals New Mid-Range and Entry-Level HD Camcorders

Seven new mid-range and entry-level camcorders were announced today by Panasonic, each with the capability of recording Full HD video at a 1920 x 1080 resolution: The HDC-TM90, HDC-SD90, HDC-HS80, HDC-TM80, HDC-SD80, HDC-TM40, and HDC-SD40.

Seven new mid-range and entry-level camcorders were announced today by Panasonic, each with the capability of recording Full HD video at a 1920 x 1080 resolution: The HDC-TM90, HDC-SD90, HDC-HS80, HDC-TM80, HDC-SD80, HDC-TM40, and HDC-SD40.

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The HDC-TM90 and HDC-SD90 are the highest-end models in this set, as they both feature 1/4.1-inch CMOS sensors, 1080/60p recording, 3-inch LCDs, and have the ability to record 3D video with the purchase of Panasonic's VW-CLT1 3D conversion lens. These two camcorders feature 28mm wide-angle lenses that can zoom optically up to 21x (or 40x with Panasonic's Intelligent Zoom feature). The TM90 and SD90 also feature Panasonic's Crystal Engine PRO processing system, which is said to improve low light performance.

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The Crystal Engine PRO system is also found on the HDC-HS80, HDC-TM80, and HDC-SD80 models. These three camcorders include 33.7mm wide-angle lenses that carry optical zooms up to 34x (up to 42x with Intelligent Zoom). The sensors on the HS80, TM80, and SD80 are 1/5.8-inches in size, which is slightly smaller than the CMOS chips found on the TM90 and SD90. The HS80, TM80, and SD80 have 2.7-inch LCDs rather than the 3-inch screens found on the TM90 and SD90.

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The HDC-TM40 and HDC-SD40 are meant as more portable options than the company's other new camcorders. They feature the same 1/5.8-inch chip found on the HS80, TM80, and SD80, but the camcorders themselves weigh only 0.39 pounds. According to Panasonic, this makes the TM40 and SD40 the company's "lightest Full-HD camcorders". We're wondering if this means Panasonic has completely abandoned its HM-TA1 ultracompact camcorder from 2010, which weighed just over 0.25 pounds.

All of the new mid-range and entry-level camcorders are compatible with SDXC memory cards in addition to regular SD or SDHC cards. The HDC-THM90, HDC-TM80, and HDC-TM50 also include 16GB of internal flash memory, while the HDC-HS80 has a 120GB internal hard drive. All of the camcorders—with the exception of the TM40 and SD40—feature touchscreen LCDs, Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization, and Panasonic's full set of Intelligent Auto controls.

No pricing or release dates have been set for the camcorders, but Panasonic has announced that all models will be available in black. The HDC-TM80 and HDC-SD80, however, will also come in red and silver.

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