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 CMOS3 x 3-megapixel CMOS3 x 3-megapixel CMOS
1/4.1 inch1/4.1 inch1/4.1 inch
Lens12x
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 dotsNoYes (specs n/a)
LCD3-inch 230,400-dot3-inch 230,400-dot3.5-inch 460,800 dots
Primary media32GB flash/240GB hard disk; SDXCSDXC32GB flash/220GB hard disk; SDXC
HD recordingAVCHD: 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 speedYesYesYes
Manual irisYesYesYes
Accessory shoeYesNoYes
Audio5.1 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 5.42.5 x 2.6 x 5.22.6 x 2.8 x 5.8
Operating weight (pounds)15.2/17.713.2 (est)15.4 (est)/17.5 (est)
Mfr. Price$999/$1,399.95$849.99$1099.99/$1399.95
Ship dateApril 2010March 2011March 2011
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