Not many changes for Panasonic's prosumer camcorders

Support for Pansonic's 3D add-on lens is probably the most notable of the updates to the company's prosumer camcorders.

Originally published 1/5/2011; updated 2/1/2011: Pricing added to chart. Scroll to the bottom for additional comment.

LAS VEGAS--CES is usually so crazy that I don't bother doing my full-blown treatment, with tables, when covering the new products. But I had so much trouble trying to spot the differences between last year's and this year's lineups for Panasonic's camcorders that I built tables for my own sanity. And confirmed that there's not a lot different between the new and the old.

One major change is in the top-end TM900/HS900 models, which support the 3D add-on lens for which Panasonic had previously created the TM750. (The lower end SD800 lacks the manual ring on the lens and built-in memory.) There's also (theoretically) enhanced low-light shooting capability for all these models, and the addition of touch shutter and touch zoom features. The lens and sensors seem to be the same.

As is annoyingly usual for Panasonic, there's no pricing or shipping information. So just assume that they're overpriced and won't ship until the week after you've already bought something else. Or that they'll cost the same as their precessors and ship in the first quarter of this year. Pricing is pretty much the same as their predecessors, and they're slated to ship in March.


  HDC-TM700/HS700 HDC-SD800 HDC-TM900/HS900
Sensor (effective resolution) 3 x 3-megapixel CMOS 3 x 3-megapixel CMOS 3 x 3-megapixel CMOS
1/4.1 inch 1/4.1 inch 1/4.1 inch
Lens 12x
f1.5-2.8
35 - 420mm (16:9)
12x
f1.5-2.8
35 - 420mm (16:9)
12x
f1.5-2.8
35 - 420mm (16:9)
Min illumination (lux) standard: 1,400
low light: 4
Color Night View: 1
standard: 1,400
low light: 1.6
Color Night View: 1
standard: 1,400
low light: 1.6
Color Night View: 1

EVF

0.27 inch, 123,000 dots No Yes (specs n/a)
LCD 3-inch 230,400-dot 3-inch 230,400-dot 3.5-inch 460,800 dots
Primary media 32GB flash/240GB hard disk; SDXC SDXC 32GB flash/220GB hard disk; SDXC
HD recording AVCHD: nonstandard 1080/60p 28Mbps;
1080/60i @ 17, 13, 9 ,5 Mbps
AVCHD: nonstandard 1080/60p 28Mbps;
1080/60i @ 17, 13, 9 ,5 Mbps
AVCHD: nonstandard 1080/60p 28Mbps;
1080/60i @ 17, 13, 9 ,5 Mbps
Manual shutter speed Yes Yes Yes
Manual iris Yes Yes Yes
Accessory shoe Yes No Yes
Audio 5.1 channels;
mic, headphone jacks
2 channels;
mic, headphone jacks
5.1 channels;
mic, headphone jacks
Body dimensions (WHD, inches) 2.6 x 2.7 x 5.4 2.5 x 2.6 x 5.2 2.6 x 2.8 x 5.8
Operating weight (pounds) 15.2/17.7 13.2 (est) 15.4 (est)/17.5 (est)
Mfr. Price $999/$1,399.95 $849.99 $1099.99/$1399.95
Ship date April 2010 March 2011 March 2011
Read the full CNET Review

Panasonic HDC-TM700

The Bottom Line: The flash-based Panasonic HDC-TM700 and its hard-disk sibling, the HDC-HS700, stand out for their low-light video quality and broad set of manual controls. However, while the TM700 is very attractively priced for its class, the HS700 is not, and not worth the price premium unless you absolutely need the hard disk. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Panasonic HDC-HS700

The Bottom Line: The flash-based Panasonic HDC-TM700 and its hard-disk sibling, the HDC-HS700, stand out for their low-light video quality and broad set of manual controls. However, while the TM700 is very attractively priced for its class, the HS700 is not, and not worth the price premium unless you absolutely need the hard disk. / Read full review

About the author

Lori Grunin is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. She's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 1988.

 

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