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Panasonic rolls out budget camcorders

Panasonic rolls out budget camcorders

Panasonic has rolled out its budget camcorder lineup for 2006, starting with the PV-GS29, which will hit the market in February at the typical new entry price for MiniDV cameras this year, $300. It's equipped with a big 30X optical zoom range and has a built-in LED for shooting in low light, along with the usual features you'd expect on a low-end model, including a standard 2.5-inch LCD. The $350 PV-GS39, also available in February, replaces that display with a wide-screen 2.7-inch LCD and, of course, includes a wide-screen capture mode to go with it. Furthermore, it lets you save stills to an SD memory card and comes with a card reader for downloading your photos to a computer. At $380, the PV-GS59 adds a USB 2.0 connection so that you can download stills directly from the camera; it also comes with MotionDV software for editing video, converting it to MPEG-4 format, and burning it to DVDs. The PV-GS59 will be available in March. All three camcorders implement the little joystick controller for menu navigation that has also shown up on Canon's budget-priced ZR models this year.