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Panasonic refreshes HD camcorder range: 3MOS, 1MOS and Waterproof offerings

James Trew, @itstrew
January 9, 2012

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Alongside its new Lumix snappers, Panasonic just dropped a bunch of new HD camcorders at CES. It's the 1MOS models that get the most vigorous make over, with six new 1920 x 1080 shooting cams in total.

The HC-V700 and HC-V700M are the new top of the 1MOS line; armed with a proprietary High Sensitivity Sensor, promising better indoor and night-time shots, there's also 3D capture when used with the new VW-CLT2 conversion lens, plus a 21x optical and 46x "high-powered' (we guess digital) zoom. The mid-range HC-V500/M cameras have a 2D to 3D image conversion function (also found in the V700s) as well as Natural, Pop, Dynamic & Classical special effects modes and 38x optical / 50x digital zoom. For the less feature-fanatical are the HC-V100 and HC-V100M which have lower power consumption for longer shooting despite a smaller 2.028 x 2.343 x 4.429 inch form. If you were wondering what makes the M models different, the answer would be 16GB built-in storage.

Three other single models also got a trotting out, starting with the HC-X900M, for those who find just one MOS simply isn't enough. The HC-X900M is Panasonic's new full HD 3MOS video shooter and is the follow up to last year's HDC-HS900. Full 1080p at 28Mbps is complemented by Panasonic's new 3MOS System Pro imaging system, which it claims reduces noise by 40 percent over the HDC-HS900. To round out the features we have 32GB onboard storage (with SD expansion), improved O.I.S., zoom mic functionality (linked to the zoom action) and a 1,150,000-dot 8.8-cm / 3.5-inch LCD.

Next up is the waterproof HX-WA2, which will survive a three meter dip in the pool (or nine feet, eight inches). Other treats for adventurous types include 14 megapixel stills shooting, a panoramic mode (simply pan the camera up,down,left and right) and 15x zoom. Oh and will it will be available in blue or orange, of course.

Last, and kinda least is the HC-V10, a compact HD cam for those on-the-go moments. With iA auto mode and pre-rec function -- that starts recording when you aim at a subject -- this model is clearly built with those OMG youtube moments in mind. You also get a crazy 63x optical zoom and a choice of colors: black, silver or red.

There's no word on price or availability yet, but Panasonic tells us it'll part with these crucial details at least 30 days prior to when the devices finally ship. In the meantime you can check the full PRs below for more info.

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LAS VEGAS, NV (January 9, 2012) – Panasonic today announced six new 1MOS Full-High Definition (HD) camcorders for its 2012 line. The HC-V700, HC-V700M, HC-V500, HC-V500M, HC-V100 and HC-V100M, all have a 1MOS sensor with 1920 x 1080 resolution and capture exceptionally high-quality videos in various lighting conditions. All camcorders feature a compact body to make them more convenient to carry anywhere, an ultra-telephoto zoom, wide-angle lenses, and Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) to control blur caused by a shaky hand.

"Panasonic's 2012 camcorders are conveniently sized and extremely versatile for a wide variety of shooting situations," said Chris Rice, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. "From the light weight and extended recording capability of the HC-V100 and HC-V100M, to the 2D to 3D conversion capability and special effect modes of the HC-V500 and HC-V500M, to the 3D recording capability and High Sensitivity Sensor of the HC-V700 and HC-V700M, there is a Panasonic camcorder model to match virtually any consumer ready to record."

The top-of-the-line 1MOS camcorders, the Panasonic's HC-V700 and HC-V700M models, capture stunning indoor and nighttime shots, regardless of dark lighting conditions. Thanks to the High Sensitivity Sensor, which greatly improves image quality in low-light conditions, users can record crisp, bright images with minimal noise whether they are shooting in good light or in poor light. After capture, the user can view the video on an ultra-sharp 460K dot LCD with touch control.

Users can also shoot lifelike, textured 3D images by simply mounting a 3D conversion lens, such as the new VW-CLT2, to the HC-V700 and HC-V700M. Even without mounting the conversion lens, images shot in 2D can be converted to 3D by the image processing of the new 2D to 3D Conversion function.

Panasonic also introduces the HC-V500 and HC-V500M camcorders, which are stylish, easy-to-use, compact models that take beautiful shots of distant subjects and perform superbly in dim lighting. These models feature the Advanced Highlight Playback function (also available in the HC-V700 and HC-V700M), which is designed for users who want to view recorded images as quickly as possible. This feature uses the I.I.S. (Intelligent Index System) to detect zooming, panning, scene changes, and faces in recorded images as "highlights." It then automatically plays back the detected highlight scenes, or ones that the user has personally selected. It also offers playback effects such as Slow, Fading Still Image, and Flash Playback.

The HC-V500 and HC-V500M models offer several features that allow users to exercise their creativity:
2D to 3D Conversion function - can convert 2D images recorded by the user into 3D images
Four special effect modes – Natural, Pop, Dynamic & Classical – each adding a special effect suitable for the mood of recorded footage, to create impressive images that allow viewers to imagine the occasion and place of shooting

For consumers looking for a super lightweight camcorder option, Panasonic offers the HC-V100 and HC-V100M. The compact body measures 2.028" x 2.343" x 4.429", approximately the size of a can of soda. These models also feature low power consumption and extended recording capability, which makes them ideal for traveling, outdoor shooting, or other situations when it is difficult to charge the battery. Users are able to shoot continuously for 155 minutes in high-quality Full-HD without worrying about remaining battery power.*5

All six models feature a powerful, ultra-telephoto zoom that brings faraway subjects right up close to capture dynamic images that fill the entire frame. The Intelligent Zoom feature employs super-high resolution technology, Image Processing LSI, and ultra-telephoto shooting to exceed the magnification range of the ordinary optical zoom. Even when the optical zoom range is exceeded, telephoto shots maintain their clear, beautiful HD image quality. The HC-V700 and HC-V700M can achieve ultra-telephoto 46x shooting beyond the optical zoom range of 21x; the HC-V500 and HC-V500M can capture beautiful pictures beyond the ordinary 38x optical zoom and up to a high-powered 50x zoom; and the HC-V100 and HC-V100M enable users to capture beautiful pictures beyond the ordinary 34x optical zoom and up to a high-powered 42x zoom.

To capture wide landscapes and allow large groups of people to fit into the frame, all six models come equipped with a wide-angle lens. When recording indoors or in tight spaces, this setting also makes it possible to shoot at a close distance from the subject, while fitting both the subject and the surrounding area into the frame. The HC-V700 and HC-V700M have a 28mm wide-angle, the HC-V500 and HC-V500M have a 32.4mm wide-angle, and the HC-V100 and HC-V100M have a 32.5mm wide-angle.

To correct blurring cased by a shaky hand through the full zoom range from wide-angle to tele-photo, all six models also feature variations of an Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.). The HYBRID O.I.S. + (available in the HC-V700, HC-V700M, HC-V500 and HC-V500M) thoroughly suppresses blurring across the entire zoom range, so every scene is captured in crisp, beautiful images even when the user shoots while walking or takes handheld zoom shots with high magnification. The hybrid correction function is now also effective for wide-angle shooting. The HC-V100 & HC-V100M feature POWER O.I.S. with Active Mode, a high-quality optical hand-shake compensation function essential for compact, lightweight camcorders. Because these are optical systems, they cause no image degradation; as a result, the original image quality captured by the lens remains intact, all the way from wide-angle to powerful zoom.

All six models also feature iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode with Face Recognition, which selects the most suitable shooting mode with the press of a button. Face Recognition finds the faces of registered people (up to six faces) and optimizes the focus and exposure for them. The camcorder continues to track this subject as the person moves anywhere within the frame.

The Panasonic HC-V700, HC-V700M, HC-V500, and HC-V500M also include:
Eco-Mode*1 – Automatically turns off the power when the camcorder is not operated for five minutes, reducing wasteful energy use and saving battery power
Intuitive Touch-Screen Operation with a Wide 3.0" LCD – features advanced new touch-operation functions that allow for extremely smooth shooting and playback, including:
Touch Zoom – Swiftly zoom in or out with the touch or swipe of the finger
Touch Shutter – Focus and take a digital photo by touching the subject on the screen*2

For storage of recorded videos the HC-V700, HC-V500 and HC-V100 offer a SD Card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. Meanwhile, the HC-V700M, HC-V500M and HC-V100M are equipped with an SD Card slot which supports the same Memory Cards in addition to 16GB of built-in memory.

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The HC-X900M is Powered by Panasonic's 3MOS System Pro, Complete with a LEICA Lens and a High-Speed Processor to Capture True-to-Life Videos

LAS VEGAS, NV (January 9, 2012) – Panasonic today announces the new full-High Definition (HD) HC-X900M camcorder, which can record 1920 x 1080, 60 progressive, and builds on the success of last year's HDC-HS900 by adding the new 3MOS System Pro to help achieve dramatic increases in performance thanks to a re-engineering of all the core imaging components: the lens, sensor and engine. Panasonic's 3MOS System Pro is a next-generation imaging system that powers the HC-X900M to produce bright, outstanding video even under dim lighting, while also minimizing noise. Plus, with professional-like features such as a manual ring, a 5.1-channel surround sound, an advanced Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S) system called Hybrid O.I.S. +, the HC-X900M is a feature-rich camcorder with endless capabilities.

For those looking to start exploring the third dimension in video, the HC-X900M can also shoot full-HD 3D (in the AVCHD 3D format) with the new optional conversion 3D lens, the VW-CLT2, which is smaller than last year's model (VW-CLT1) and has an increased brightness from F3.2 to F2.0. In addition, the new VW-CLT2 has 1.5x digital zooming.

"The Panasonic HC-X900M is the company's top-of-the-line camcorder with so many important features that help it produce stunning, true-to-life videos, whether that means color accuracy, correct lighting, and with it's full-HD 3D capabilities, it can even add a third dimension to truly bring the videos to life," said Chris Rice, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. "Panasonic has really improved the core components of the HC-X900M, from its lens to its processor to its engine to ensure that it can power full 1080/60p at a 28-Mbps bit rate, thus resulting in absolutely stunning video, but also capturing rich deep sound."

Panasonic maximized the advanced technologies that it has accumulated over the years and succeeded in shifting the green MOS sensor of the red, green and blue MOS sensors by half a pixel, thus helping to achieve more life-like colors, detail and gradation. Thanks to the advanced 3MOS sensor's unique pixel shift technology that runs at high speed and with superb accuracy, the HC-X900M further reduces noise by 40% when compared to last year's HDC-HS900/TM900. The HC-X900M's new Crystal Engine Pro II can achieve high-speed processing that is approximately equivalent to four times the pixel count of full-HD pixels, thus producing superb full-HD image quality, even in the most detailed images.

The HC-X900M features a bright F1.5, 12x optical zoom and 29.8mm wide-angle LEICA DICOMAR lens, meaning it allows for a wider-framed shot, which is convenient when shooting wide landscapes and large groups of people. The lens also features a new Nano Surface Coating Technology, which dramatically reduces ghosting and flaring. With an Octagon Iris Diaphragm, the user can apply a defocusing effect, so it is possible to shoot at a close distance from the subject while fitting both the subject and the surrounding area into the frame. This is beneficial so the voice of the subject is clearly recorded, but a full and wide frame is captured.

The HC-X900M features an improved O.I.S. system called, HYBRID O.I.S. +, which uses five-axis correction to help thoroughly suppress blurring all the way from wide-angle shots to powerful zoom shots – allowing for steady images over the entire zoom range. It even achieves superb effects when shooting while walking or otherwise moving, thanks to a function known as Active Mode. This lets the user capture crisp, clear images, without blurring, in nearly every shooting situation. In addition to the HYBRID O.I.S. + system, the HC-X900M provides even more powerful stabilization correction with O.I.S. Lock. By pressing the O.I.S. Lock button on the LCD monitor, the blur detection sensitivity is maximized and camera movements are detected and corrected without image degradation. O.I.S. Lock is ideal for applications like bird watching, which call for zooming at a fixed angle.

The Panasonic HC-HX900M features a manual ring for easy and convenient fingertip-control of commonly-used settings, like focus, zoom, exposure, shutter speed and white balance. Using the ring is now much more intuitive, comfortable, and user-friendly for settings that are often adjusted as opposed to accessing through the menu screen every time one of those features need to be changed. Plus, with manual operation, the HC-HX900M gives the user freedom to craft creative and expressive videos with ease. For those beginner users looking for a more intuitive setting, the HC-X900M also includes the iA function which automatically selects the most suitable shooting mode. Panasonic's iA consists of six functions: Face Recognition, the new HYBRID O.I.S. +, AF/AE Tracking, Intelligent Scene Selector, Face Detection and Intelligent Contrast Control.

When the HC-X900M has the optional VW-CLT2 3D Conversion Lens attached, it can record full HD 3D images with the MVC (Multiview Video Coding) recording system of the AVCHD 3D format. During 3D recording, the right-eye and left-eye images are both recorded and played in Full-HD quality, using the Frame Sequential Method to produce FULL HD 3D images, which results in a lifelike ambience. The HC-X900M is equipped with a 1,150,000-dot 8.8-cm/3.5-inch LCD that allows 3D viewing without the need for special eyewear, so 3D images can be viewed on the spot. Naturally, the display can also be switched between 2D and 3D. And intuitive touch operation enables extremely easy control on the LCD. The Touch Zoom function allows the user to simply touch the LCD to activate slow zooming. The LCD also supports Touch Shutter, which automatically focuses and takes a still photo when the user touches the subject on the screen.

Other features of the Panasonic HC-X900M include:
32GB of built-in memory, plus an SD Memory Card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards.
The Zoom Mic function links the microphone's capability to the camera's zoom action and helps to reduce surrounding noise. The HC-X900M with a 5.1-channel surround sound, noise is reduced by -20 dB while zooming.
The Wind Noise Canceller automatically detects and suppresses only the wind noise to ensure natural sounds with lifelike ambience, thus recording human voices clearly even on a windy beach or elevated location.
Pre-Rec function, when turned on, allows the camcorder to continuously record three seconds of video to an internal buffer memory, thus helping to capture sudden shooting opportunities. Provided that the camcorder is aimed at the subject in advance, the HC-X900M can actually record three seconds prior to pushing the record button.
Eco mode** automatically turns off the power when the camcorder is not operated for five minutes, reducing wasteful energy use and saving battery power.

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PANASONIC INTRODUCES New Waterproof Camcorder Designed for active use

The HX-WA2 Offers Users More Opportunities to Capture Stunning Video and Photos in a Variety of Conditions

LAS VEGAS, NV (January 9, 2012) – Panasonic today introduced the new HX-WA2 camcorder, which provides users with enhanced features and durable product design for more opportunities to shoot high-quality video and still images in a variety of outdoor conditions. Ideal for capturing underwater activities and scenes, the Panasonic HX-WA2 camcorder features a waterproof1 design which allows for submersion in water at a depth of up to 9 feet, 8 inches (three meters).

"Designed with adventurers in mind, Panasonic's new HX-WA2 camcorder provides users with more diverse functionality for shooting in outdoor environments. The resilient, waterproof design allows users to experiment with shots in rainy conditions and even underwater," said Chris Rice, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. "By enabling both video and still picture recording, users can enjoy enhanced features for capturing crisp, clear memories."

Beyond capturing HD videos, the HX-WA2 can also shoot, high-quality, 14-Megapixel images and can also utilize the Panorama Mode function by simply panning the camera up, down, left or right to capture horizontal or vertical panoramic images. Intelligent 15x Zoom2 allows users to record faraway subjects in extreme detail and Active E.I.S. (Electric Image Stabilization) provides powerful hand-shake correction for clear, blur-free video or still pictures

Using the included HD Writer VE2.0 software, consumers can easily edit videos captured on the Panasonic HX-WA2. The software features a "Smart Wizard" that automatically starts when the camcorder is connected to the USB port of a PC, prompting users to follow a simple, on-screen guide to easily copy video clips to a PC or burn to a DVD. The software also allows videos to be easily uploaded onto YouTube™ and Facebook™ so even the most inexperienced users can post onto the web. Advanced editing functions allow users to set their favorite songs3 as background music, insert various effects and transitions, and even use photo retouch. With the newly added Short Movie Story function, a user can easily transform recorded still images into a dramatic short movie. Once the image data, theme, and background music are selected, the camera takes over to automatically complete the story, which can be saved onto disc with HD image quality and easily uploaded to the web.

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PANASONIC INTRODUCES New, Compact High definition camcorder For 2012

The Panasonic HC-V10 camcorder features enhanced functionality combined with extreme zoom capabilities, ideal for capturing high-quality video memories

LAS VEGAS, NV (January 9, 2012) – Panasonic today introduced the HC-V10 camcorder, which provides High Definition video recording with a powerful 70x enhanced optical zoom in a compact design offering users a versatile, high-quality camcorder to capture spur-of-the-moment videos with ease. Advanced features, including Intelligent Auto (iA) and Pre-Rec, allow users to point, shoot and easily capture HD videos with the press of a button.

"Panasonic's HC-V10 camcorder, a 'go anywhere' model, offers users a HD camcorder that is easy to shoot with, easy to download, and easy to share," said Chris Rice, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. "The HC-V10 has taken a major step up from models of previous years, upgrading Panasonic's standard image quality to provide crisp, clear HD video. Additionally, the zooming functionality has been increased to capture even distant subjects with extreme detail."

The compact HC-V10 camcorder features high definition recording and a powerful 63x optical zoom lens with an Enhanced Optical 70x Zoom function, allowing users to capture beautiful images of subjects up close or pull in distant subjects for truly dynamic close-ups. HD video can be recorded in MP4 format, which offers broad compatibility and high compression for small, easy-to-share files. Additionally, videos can also be recorded in iFrame™ format, which is designed to make video editing quicker. With iFrame, the video a user captures with their camera is in the same format used for editing, so it's fast to import and edit with compatible video editing applications.

The camcorder's iA*1 mode consists of four functions that automatically select the most suitable shooting mode with the press of a button. Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) suppresses handshake without degrading image quality, resulting in clear, blur-free images even with dynamic zooming. The O.I.S. also features an Active mode to assure clear, beautiful images across the entire range from wide-angle to telephoto. Intelligent Contrast Control prevents blown highlights and blocked shadows, allowing video to retain natural toned images with proper contrast. Intelligent Scene Selector automatically selects the best Scene Mode to record in based on detected light and objects. Finally, Face Detection senses ambient lighting to adjust exposure and capture faces beautifully even in dim or backlit scenes.

Ideal for capturing sudden shooting opportunities, the Pre-Rec function allows users to capture three seconds of video prior to pressing the Record button. When the camcorder is aimed at a subject in advance, it will continuously record three seconds of video to an internal buffer memory; when the record button is pressed, the three seconds immediately prior are added to the beginning of the clip being recorded. This function makes sure users are never late for a video opportunity again.

The HC-V10's 31.6 mm wide-angle*2 is especially convenient for recording indoors or in tight spaces, making it possible to shoot at a close distance from the subject while fitting both the subject and surrounding area into the frame. The wide-angle setting also captures beautiful images of wide landscapes and allows large groups of people to fit into the frame, making it highly versatile for use in all kinds of situations.

Archiving and Editing videos taken with the HC-V10 has never been easier. In addition to iFrame, which is ideal for both MAC and PC users, the camcorder's HD Writer HE 1.0 software (included) allows for highly versatile PC editing and sharing functions.
2D Editing: Along with full editing functions of previous software versions, the new HD Writer software features a Timeline mode which allows for a timeline to be displayed with a storyboard for highly accurate editing while fine-tuning the timing of video images. The playback timing of background music can also be finely adjusted to enable precise insertion.
Smart Wizard: When a user connects the HC-V10 camcorder to the USB port of a PC, Smart Wizard mode automatically starts up. Following the on-screen guidance lets users easily copy video clips to a PC or BD/DVD disc without getting lost in the process.
Copy/Archive/Playback: A user can specify which video files to transfer onto their PC with the Copy/Archive/Playback software function. Additionally, the software remembers which files were previously copied onto a PC, so users don't have to re-copy the same file again later. This is especially convenient when users have recorded large amounts of data on an SDXC/SDHC/SD Memory Card and copy it over several sessions.

The HD Writer HE 1.0 software is compatible with YouTube™ and Facebook™ allowing even the most inexperienced users to easily post video clips to the web. Image data can also be transferred to a Mac computer for editing in applications such as iMovie.

The HD-V10 features an SD Card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. An extensive lineup of optional accessories is available for the HC-V10 to suit individual users' shooting styles and expand the possibility of shooting fun. The Video DC Light (VW-LDC103)*3/*4 is suitable for illuminating dark scenes and its switchable Spot/Wide function allows the lighting range to be selected according to the scene. The Shoe Adaptor (VW-SK12) lets the user attach multiple accessories on the camcorder to help capture images with full detail.

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