We're here in Berlin, covering IFA 2011, and Panasonic's getting things started by showing off a concept camera, its first with a twin-lens capable of shooting 3D stills and video. Alas, the company's press release is light on technical info, though it does reveal the system's built on dual 4x lenses with "thin, folded" optics. Hopefully, we'll see this thing in person while we're in town and learn a bit more. In similar news, the company also announced the HDC-Z10000 (pictured), its first 2D / 3D camcorder with an integrated twin-lens. The camcorder records 1080p / 1080i AVCHD 3D video, has dual CMOS sensors with a combined resolution of 13.1MP and a glasses-less 3.5-inch LCD. It's also capable of 3D macros as close as 17.8 inches -- a record for twin-lens 3D camcorders, according to Panasonic. As the company's been known to do, though, it's holding off on revealing any details about pricing or availability, so it looks like we'll have to save that for a rainy day. Full PR after the break.
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PANASONIC DEVELOPS COMPACT, TWIN-LENS 3D DIGITAL CAMERA WITH 3D HD VIDEO CAPABILITY
LUMIX Twin-Lens 3D Digital Camera on Display at Panasonic's IFA 2011 Booth
SECAUCUS, NJ (August 31, 2011) – Panasonic today announced the development of a twin-lens 3D digital camera, complete with 3D HD video capability. The new LUMIX 3D prototype will be on display at IFA 2011, one of the world's largest electronics shows, from September 2-7, 2011, in Berlin, Germany. IFA conference attendees can visit the Panasonic booth at Messe Berlin, Hall 5.2

The new 3D digital camera will also shoot 2D photos and HD video. With its 3D still and video capabilities, the compact camera will allow users to take 3D photos and 3D HD videos, while further expanding the world of consumer 3D entertainment.
The LUMIX 3D camera's compact size, was achieved by employing two recently-developed 4x zoom lenses with thin, folded optics, which allow users to capture crisp and clear photo and video footage even from afar. The optical zoom system enables highly-versatile 3D shooting from wide angle to telephoto while the Optical Image Stabilization works during both 2D and 3D shooting to produce high-quality photos and videos with minimal blurring. The unique, twin-lens design further helps in providing stunning, high-resolution 2D photos while shooting 2D videos instantaneously. Using the side-by-side method, the camera can also capture 3D HD videos in AVCHD format.

The versatility of the 3D capture technology allows users to quickly go from shooting photos and videos to viewing them. Working synergistically with other Panasonic products, the new camera allows photos and videos to be easily viewed on a VIERA 3D TV with the simple insertion of the SD memory card into the TV's SD card image viewer slot or by connecting the camera to the TV with an HDMI cable.

PANASONIC'S NEWEST CONSUMER CAMCORDER SHOOTS OUTSTANDING FULL-HD 2D AND 3D VIDEO
Panasonic HDC-Z10000 Shoots Professional-Quality 2D/3D Videos with a Twin-Lens Design that is Technically Advanced, and Also Features a 3D LCD – No Eyewear Needed
SECAUCUS, NJ (August 31, 2011) – Panasonic today announces the HDC-Z10000, its first* integrated twin-lens 2D/3D camcorder that is fully compatible with the AVCHD 3D/Progressive standard, which was also recently announced. The HDC-Z10000 builds on Panasonic's 3D innovations, having the closest 3D video macro setting with a twin-lens 3D camcorder at approximately 17.8 inches. With this industry-best macro setting, the Panasonic HDC-Z10000, helps capture 3D video that is typically difficult to do, such as flowers, animals and jewelry.

New to Panasonic's 3D-capable camcorders, the HDC-Z10000 features a 1,152,000-dot, 3.5-inch LCD that appears 3D to the naked eye – no 3D eyewear needed. By using a parallax barrier to control the direction of the light from the LCD, images with slightly different perceptions are viewed by the right and left eyes, thus creating a 3D effect. The user can check 3D images while shooting, without having to connect a monitor. Naturally, the display can also be switched between 2D and 3D.

Furthering its technical excellence, the HDC-Z10000 features Panasonic's unique Double 3MOS System, which produces superb color and detail reproduction. Featuring two high-sensitivity 3MOS sensors (with an effective pixel count of 6.57 megapixels each) that are independently mounted left and right, the Double 3MOS system creates outstanding full HD 3D video content. Using Full-HD image quality backed by the accurate colors, meticulous detail, and high dynamic range that distinguish the 3MOS sensor, separate images are recorded simultaneously for the left and right eyes. The advanced image sensor separates the light received through the lens into the three primary colors – red, green and blue – and processes each color independently. As a result, the Full HD 3D image quality is outstanding. Naturally, the 3MOS System provides the same effects for 2D, achieving precise and sharp Full HD 2D image quality in combination with progressive recording. The HDC-Z10000, with a newly-developed and ultra-high speed Crystal Engine Pro II engine powers the high-speed processing needed to create superb image quality both in 2D and 3D images.

"Adding to Panasonic's top-of-the-line 3MOS full-HD camcorders, the HDC-Z10000 naturally excels in the recording of high-quality 2D images. It also meets the constantly increasing need for full HD 3D videos, as both professionals and consumers desire more flexibility and power when shooting 3D," said Chris Rice, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "The HDC-Z10000 is a unique camcorder in that it has high-end features to suit advanced users, but is easy enough to use for those looking for excellent 2D video and who may want to explore 3D video shooting as well."

The HDC-Z10000 features new F1.5 lenses that excel when shooting in low light conditions, and allow the user to record bright images with reduced noise. For the first time on a Panasonic camcorder, the lenses feature Nano Surface Coating, which is microstructure film with an ultra-low refractive index on the lens surface, greatly reducing the light reflection and thus reducing ghosting in order to produce crisp, clear image rendering. With a 32mm wide-angle lens, the HDC-Z10000 is extremely versatile and also has a 10x optical zoom while shooting in 3D or 12x optical zoom while shooting in 2D. When shooting in 2D, HYBRID O.I.S. helps to correct handshake that occurs when shooting while zooming or walking, in addition to horizontal, vertical, yawing, and pitching four-axis correction. When shooting in 3D, the system activates POWER O.I.S., which helps to suppress handshake, especially helpful while zooming.

The HDC-Z10000 excels both in performance and ease-of-use – thanks to extremely flexible operating options. For more advanced users seeking professional-level control, there are enhanced functions, such as three independent rings for adjusting the zoom, focus, and iris control. There are built-in microphones for recording Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound/2-channel stereo, the HDC-Z10000 features two XLR audio inputs with a 48-V phantom power supply for external microphone use. Clear audio is recorded with minimal noise.

Uncompressed Linear PCM (2-channel only) is also supported for recording original sounds with extremely high fidelity. Plus, a dedicated dial lets the user finely adjust 3D convergence (parallax). Frequently-needed features, such as O.I.S. ON/OFF, Color Bar ON/OFF, Zebra Pattern Display, 3D Guide Display, Auto/Manual Iris, Auto/Manual Auto Focus, and Auto/Manual White Balance are available on the side of the body as separate buttons for quick, intuitive access.

Based on the AVCHD format, which offers high compression and excellent compatibility, this new standard has been upgraded to AVCHD 3D, which uses MVC (Multiview Video Coding) to record and playback 3D images via the Frame Sequential Method, and AVCHD Progressive for progressive formats. The HDC-Z10000 also employs the 1080/60 progressive method to record twice as much image data as the 1080/60 interlace method. Fast-moving subjects, such as in sports scenes, are smoothly recorded. The progressive recording of the HDC-Z10000 fully complies with the new AVCHD Progressive standard. For those looking for control over which recording modes are available, the user can select the preferred recording mode from AVCHD 3D (1080/60i, 1080/24p, and 1080/30p**, AVCHD Progressive (1080/60p), and AVCHD (1080/24p, 1080/30p** and 1080/60i PH/HA/HE mode). Other features of the Panasonic HDC-Z10000 twin-lens 2D/3D camcorder include:
- A bright 0.45-inch Live View Finder (LVF) with high-speed responses and a 1,227,000-dot high-resolution. The superb LVF makes it easier to optimize the focus, or for use in a situation that requires no excess light from an LCD screen.
- A dual SD Memory Card slot with the option of extended recording or back-up. When two SD Memory Cards are inserted and the first card reaches full capacity, the system automatically and seamlessly switches*** to the second card. This allows extended recording without having to worry about interruptions due to a lack of card capacity. Or, during backup recording, the same data is recorded onto both cards for immediate duplicating or archiving purposes in the case of a faulty SD card
- The bundled HD Writer XE 1.0 Software lets users cut out full HD 3D and progressive images and save to a computer.
- 2D/3D Still Image Recording Any Time. The user simply presses the shutter button to record a 2D or 3D (MPO compliant) still image**** at any time. It is also possible to cut out images in all modes while shooting or playing videos. 3D and 2D still images are recorded simultaneously with 2.1-megapixel resolution.

The Panasonic HDC-Z10000 will be available in black and the pricing and availability will be announced approximately 30 days prior to shipping. For more information about Panasonic camcorders, please visit www.panasonic.com.

* As of August 31, 2011
** Images shot in the 1080/30p mode are recorded as 1080/60i
*** The SD card is switched only once for continuous recording
**** 3-megapixel resolution for 2D, 2.1-megapixel resolution for 3D

We're live from IFA 2011!