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Panasonic announces two new, compact AVCHD camcorders

Panasonic just unveiled the HDC-HS9 and HDC-SD9, two new AVCHD camcorders that can record 1080p footage to SD and SDHC cards.

Panasonic HDC-SD9

Panasonic kicked off its CES digital imaging announcements with two new high-definition camcorders. Eschewing both tapes and DVDs, the Panasonic HDC-HS9 and HDC-SD9 record 1080/24p video directly to SD/SDHC cards.

According to Panasonic, the HDC-SD9 is the smallest, slightest 3CCD 1080/24p camcorder yet, weighing in at less than 0.7 pound. It writes AVCHD video to SD and SDHC cards, storing up to 6 hours of high-def footage to a 16 GB card. With the company's newly announced 32 GB SDHC card, the space doubles to up to 12 hours.

The 3CCD HDC-HS9 can also record footage to SD and SDHC cards, and adds a 60 GB hard drive to provide even more shooting time. While it's not quite as small or light as the SD9, the HS9 can record up to 23 hours of AVCHD video directly to its hard drive, Panasonic claims.

Both camcorders feature Panasonic's Optical Image Stabilization system, 5.1-channel surround sound with a zoom microphone function, and face-detecting auto-exposure systems. They also include Panasonic's Intelligent Shooting Guide and Intelligent Shooting Selection Playback, two features that Panasonic claims can detect various shooting errors like out-of-focus shots or rapid panning, and either warn users about them or skip them entirely. Finally, both models are also Viera Link compatible, letting users connect them directly with Panasonic's new Viera series of HDTVs.

The Panasonic HDC-SD9 and HDC-HS9 ship in March, with suggested retail prices of $800 and $1100, respectively.