AVCHD isn't just for the consumer kiddies anymore, Panasonic just announced its upcoming AG-HSC1U, which Panny claims is the world's smallest 3CCD professional HD camcorder. There's not much denying this thing is small -- a mere 1.12 pounds -- but we're having trouble pinning down the "pro" features on this thing. The main difference, other than the slick grey / black paint job, is the inclusion of a 40GB HDD with the package, which can offload video off of the included 4GB SDHC card to let you keep on shooting. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like you can record straight to the hard drive, a feature found on some higher-end HD cameras. Most everything else sounds pretty familiar, like the three 1/4-inch 16:9 CCDs, since it's all in the AG-HSC1U's "consumer" counterpart, the HDC-SD1, though the HSC1U does bump the aperture to f/1.8. The good news is that Panasonic's pricetag isn't too outlandish: a mere $600 more than the SD1 -- a lot to pay for a 40GB HDD, but not too bad for a pro HD cam, whatever that means.

[Thanks, Randall]

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Panasonic's "professional" AG-HSC1U 3CCD AVCHD camcorder