As on Panasonic's, the SD5's Dicomar lens is designed by Leica. There are no moving parts in the recording section, which means it should be resistant to impact and tough conditions. We wouldn't chuck it about too much, though.
Click through for some more pictures of the SD5 from all angles. -Rich Trenholm
Panasonic has re-profiled the HDC-SD5's shape making it easier to hold. You now have the gently upward sloping bit at the back, which rounds out the shape and makes it more finger-friendly, even if you have great big Shrek hands like us Cravers.
The SD1's 1,440x1,080-pixel resolution has been improved to 1,920x1,080 pixels. Other features include a stereo microphone, 10x optical zoom, and optical image stabilisation.
The SD5 is also compatible with Panasonic's Viera Link. Connect the SD5 to a Viera TV via an HDMI cable, and you can operate the camcorder using the TV's remote control, zapper, bodger or doofer.
You follow the action with this 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD screen. There's a whopping 300,000 pixels in there and a wide 170-degree viewing angle. You can set the brightness of the screen to one of two levels. And there's a button to make it pop out automatically -- crazy times!
Another interesting feature is intelligent contrast control, which measures ambient light intensity and adjusts contrast accordingly. This is designed to prevent blown-out highlights in bright parts of an image and black-outs in shadowy parts.
We'll be testing this function in our full review, heading your way fast, quick, lickety-split. The Panasonic HDC-SD5 is available now for just under £600.