New AVCHD camcorders on the way from Panasonic

Panasonic announces two new AVCHD camcorders that record 1080i video to DVDs or SD cards.

Panasonic's gone HD-happy with its recent announcement of two new AVCHD camcorders. The HDC-DX1 and HDC-SD1 are two small, sleek, and sporty high-definition camcorders priced less than $1,500 with some very nice features.

The HDC-DX1 is a DVD camcorder that can record up to 40 minutes of 1080i footage onto a single 8cm dual-layer DVD-R, or up to 20 minutes onto single-layer DVD-RW or DVD-RAM for rewritability. The HDC-SD1 is an SD camcorder that can record up to an hour of 1080i footage onto a 4GB SDHC card.

Both models use three CCDs to record their high-definition video, and feature a 12x Leica optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization to help reduce shake. If that's not enough, they both include 3-inch wide-screen LCDs, HDMI jacks, SDHC slots for SD cards over 2GB. The HDC-DX1 also features a hotshoe for video lights, mics, and other helpful accessories.

Besides the high-definition video, the new HDC camcorders include a five-microphone surround sound recording system with two interesting features. First, the five mics can record Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound directly to the AVCHD footage. Second, the microphone array can "zoom in" with the camcorder's lens, filtering out the side channels as the shot gets tighter.

Both AVCHD camcorders will ship in March 2007. The HDC-DX1 will have a suggested retail price of $1,400, and the HDC-SD1 will have a suggested retail price of $1,500.

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