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Panasonic brings three-chip design to DVD camcorders

Panasonic brings three-chip design to DVD camcorders

The digital camcorder of the past may be the MiniDV camera and the camcorder of the future may record to an integrated hard drive or solid-state memory, but during the transition, DVD camcorders are still going strong. Panasonic introduced four new ones that record footage directly to 8cm DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM discs. The $500 VDR-D100 is equipped with a 30X optical zoom, a 2.5-inch LCD, and the minijoystick control that's popping up on camcorders all over the show floor this year. If it's worth another $100 to you to capture VGA-resolution stills on an SD card and have a built-in LED for low-light shooting, you can step up to the VDR-D200. Both models will be available in January 2006.

More interesting are Panasonic's two new three-chip DVD camcorders. If you find shooting directly to DVD convenient and can afford a pricier model, these promise to bring you the improved color rendition and sharper picture that a three-CCD camera is designed to achieve. Available in May 2006, the $900 VDR-D250 gives you wide-screen capture and a corresponding 2.7-inch wide-screen LCD, 2.3-megapixel still image output, and a 10X optical zoom. Shell out another $100, and you can step up to the VDR-D300 to get a Leica lens, optical image stabilization, and a built-in flash for illuminating the 3.1-megapixel stills that the camera outputs. The VDR-D300 will be available in March 2006.