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Quick Take: Panasonic SDR-S7

Edtorial summary of the Panasonic SDR-S7.

An ultracompact camcorder that records its footage to SD and SDHC cards, the slim shooter Panasonic SDR-S7 looks similar to the rugged SW20, though it lacks any waterproof, shockproof, or dustproof attributes. It features a 10x optical zoom lens, a 2.7-inch flip-out LCD screen, and a Quick Start feature that, according to Panasonic, lets it start recording just 0.6 second after opening it.

In all other ways, it's a pretty typical budget SD camcorder. Key specifications:

  • 680,000-pixel 1/6-inch CCD for 340,000-pixel effective video resolution
  • 43.9-439mm-equivalent f1.8-f2.4 10x zoom lens without optical image stabilization
  • Records MPEG-2 video at a maximum bit rate of 10 megabits per second
  • Records 3 hours, 20 minutes of video at maximum bitrate on 16GB card
  • VGA-resolution still photos
  • 123,000-pixel 2.7-inch LCD
  • USB connector, analog video output; no mic or headphone inputs

It will be replaced in the Spring of 2009 by the SDR-S15, which has the same specifications for the same price but more advanced automation.