Panasonic's brewing up some 1080p goodies in the new HDC-HS700 and HDC-TM700 (pictured) camcorders, both of which do up 1080p video at a nice 60 fps (or 60i or 24p), and record using a 3MOS sensor system. The new cameras are differentiated with a 240GB HDD in the HS700 and the 32GB of flash memory in the TM700, and act as a followup to the well-lauded HS300 / TM300 series. Both of the new shooters are otherwise pretty much identical, including SD / SDHC / SDXC memory card expansion, new 35mm-style wide angle lenses, 12x optical zoom and some gyroscope-based "Power O.I.S." image stabilization to beef up the experience. They can also do 14.2 megapixel stills and record 5.1 surround sound with the five built-in microphones. There's no word on price yet, but it'll be announced 30 days in advance of when they ship, whenever that might be. For reference, the TM300 hovers around the $1,100 mark currently, so we doubt these will be undercutting that unit on price. There's PR after the break.

Still have pricing on the brain? Panasonic is spilling the price beans on its HDC-TM55 ($530), HDC-HS60 ($700), HDC-SD60 ($500) camcorders, plus even the piddling little SDR-HD85 ($350), SDR-T50 ($270) and SDR-S50 ($250) shooters. All of these were announced back at CES and will be available by the middle of March.

Update: Amazon UK has revealed a price and expected arrival date for the HS700. Priced at £1,199 ($1,873), the camcorder is listed as scheduled for a March 1 release, so there won't be much of a wait for the wealthy among us [Thanks, Ron].
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Panasonic debuts HDC-HS700 and HDC-TM700 1080p camcorders

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PANASONIC'S NEW 3MOS HD CAMCORDERS PRODUCE TRUE-TO-LIFE COLOR AND EXCEL IN LOW-LIGHT ENVIRONMENTS

New 35mm Wide-Angle Leica Lenses, 18x Intelligent Zoom and Manual Controls Make HS700 and TM700 Perfect for Professional-Quality Video Shooting

SECAUCUS, NJ (February 9, 2010) – Panasonic today introduces two additions to its 2010 line of camcorders, the Panasonic HDC-HS700 and HDC-TM700, both Full High Definition (HD) 3MOS camcorders with 1920 x 1080 resolution. The new Panasonic HD camcorders combine 1080/60p recording – allowing them to capture expressive video without detail loss or Moiré pattern – with an advanced 3MOS system that produces vivid, true-to-life colors and excels in darkly-lit environments. The new HDC-HS700, records both to its large 240 GB* Hard Disk Drive or to an SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card. The HDC-TM700 has 32 GB of built-in memory as well as capability to record to SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards, and is the successor to last year's popular and award-winning HDC-TM300. Both models have a 35mm wide-angle Leica lens and a manual ring for creative flexibility.

"For video enthusiasts looking for a feature-rich, high-performing, yet affordable High Definition Camcorder, Panasonic's new TM700 and HS700 3MOS models will be a hit this year," said Chris Rice, Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "Last year's TM300 was extremely popular and won several honors and awards for its video quality and performance, so with the improvements we have made with the TM700/HS700, including extended zoom, wider-angles and a more advanced image stabilization system, we are excited to give consumers the ideal tool they need to capture their memories with superb quality."

The high-sensitivity 3MOS system provides an effective video image pixel count of 7,590,000 pixels (2,530,000 pixels x 3) and separates the light received through the lens into the three primary colors – red, green and blue – processing each independently. The sensor shoots 14.2-megapixel still images (in Still Image mode) and 13.3-megapixel still images from recorded video. Even with this high pixel count, newly developed technology increases sensitivity and reduces noise by one-half to achieve vivid images with minimal noise. As a result, Panasonic's 3MOS system enables excellent color reproduction, high resolution, rich gradation, and lets the user capture vividly colored images in bright or darkly-lit places.

The Panasonic HDC-TM700 and HDC-HS700 HD camcorders feature the newly designed, large-diameter F1.5 (46mm) Leica Dicomor lens, which provides the superb image rendering and not only suppresses ghosts and flare, but also minimizes the distortion and degradation of contrast and resolution. In addition, its 35mm** wide-angle capability makes it ideal for many different shooting situations, such as self-portraits, group photos, and landscape shots.
Both models feature a 12x optical zoom lens, which is further enhanced by Intelligent Resolution Technology to extend the zoom to an 18x Intelligent Zoom. The Intelligent Zoom corrects image degradation in ordinary digital zooming, extending the camera's zoom ration to approximately 1.3x, while maintaining the image quality, thus delivering stunningly clear full-HD images***.
Both models feature a 3.0" touch-screen LCD that allows users to navigate by selecting icons on the display. These models also have a manual ring allowing creative flexibility, so users have intuitive control of the zoom, focus, aperture, shutter speed and white balance. An Electronic View Finder, earphone terminal and microphone terminal allow for even more control. The HDC-HS700 records to its 240 GB HDD, which can store 102 hours of recording (in HE mode). When combined with Panasonic's new 64 GB SDXC Memory Card, the camcorder provides an additional recording time of 27 hours and 30 minutes. The HDC-TM700 has a 32 GB built-in memory for 13 hours and 40 minutes of recording (in HE mode).

Other features of the Panasonic HDC-HS700 and HDC-TM700 include:

Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) – Uses gyro sensors to detect hand-shake to reduce blurring. When the camcorder is held, it moves at low frequency due to the breathing of the operator or other slight movement. POWER O.I.S. corrects even the slightest movement approximately five times more effectively than the previous version.
iA (Intelligent Auto) – Function that automatically selects the most suitable shooting mode at the press of a button, and this year iA adds Face Recognition, which finds the faces of registered people and automatically optimizes the focus and exposure for them. In addition, the camcorder continues to track this subject as the person moves anywhere within the LCD frame. Up to six faces can be registered.
Smile Shot – Feature that automatically takes a still photo during video recording when it detects a smiling face.
5.1-Channel Surround Sound System with Zoom Microphone – Uses five microphones so when voices/sounds recorded from front, right, left and back are played back on a 5.1-channel home theatre system, viewers are surrounded by clear, detailed sound. The Zoom Microphone lets users zoom the sound only to hear the subject while continuing to record a wide-angle shot.
Wind Noise Canceller – An evolution from the previous wind noise reduction system, this advanced function automatically detects and suppresses wind noise only, to ensure only the natural sounds of the shooting environment remain.
Auto Power LCD – Automatically adjusts the brightness of the LCD screen according to the shooting environment. In dark places, the screen brightness is reduced to 1/3 the normal level to minimize the possibility of disturbing nearby people. In bright outdoor places, the screen brightness is increased to twice the normal level.

Pricing and availability for the Panasonic HDC-HS700 and HDC-TM700 will be announced 30 days prior to shipping date. Both will be available in black.

* GB = 1,073,741,824 bytes. Usable capacity will be less.

** 35mm-lens equivalent.

*** Approximately 810 TV lines. 1920 horizontal pixels x 1080 vertical pixels.

Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Leica is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH.

The LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lenses are manufactured using measurement instruments and quality assurance systems that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company's quality standards.

About Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company

Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company (PCEC), a market and technology leader in High Definition television, 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. Information about Panasonic products is available at www.panasonic.com. Additional company information for journalists is available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom.

For more than 20 years, Panasonic has been proud to support the Olympic Movement as an Official Worldwide Olympic Partner in the Audio and Visual Equipment category and, beginning in 2009, in the Digital Imaging category as well. Panasonic has also renewed its partnership with the International Olympic Committee for an additional eight years through the 2016 Summer Games. For more information, visit http://panasonic.net/olympic/.