Panasonic just revealed a new waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof compact camcorder at today's CES press conference. According to Panasonic, the new SW20 can handle dunks in up to 5 feet of water, drops from up to 4 feet, and will keep most dust out of its pint-size, colorful casing.
Though Panasonic has been producing its rugged Toughbooks for several years now, its camcorders have had this persistent quirk of breaking if you drop them several feet or submerge them in water. The SW20 is the first rugged, waterproof camcorder I've seen so far from Panasonic (last year's SDR-S10 camcorder was shockproof, but not meant to be soaked). The SW20 records video to SD and SDHC cards, capable of recording over 13 hours to a 16 GB card, Panasonic claims. It sports a 10x optical zoom lens, a 2.7-inch flip-out LCD screen and, according to Panasonic, can start recording just 0.6 second after the camcorder is opened.
The Panasonic SW20 ships in February, with a suggested retail price of $400. It will be available in silver and red versions.