Panasonic released three new compact three-chip MiniDV camcorders today, adding to the GS line that first brought three-CCD video capture to the sub-$1,000 consumer market a couple of CESs ago. Three-chip designs promise color fidelity and resolution improvements over single-chip models. The new top-of-the-line GS model, the $1,000 PV-GS500, also uses relatively large 1/4.7-inch sensors to provide low-light capabilities that are better than those of the two new lower-end models, the $600 PV-GS180 and $700 PV-GS300. That should make the PV-GS500 a strong competitor against similarly priced single-chip camcorders that use large sensors. For videographers on a budget, the PV-GS180 offers a 10X optical zoom, digital image stabilization, and a standard 2.5-inch LCD. The more expensive models replace those features with optical image stabilization, a wide 2.7-inch LCD to complement their wide-screen recording mode, and, in the case of the PV-GS500, a 12X zoom lens equipped with a manual focus ring. The PV-GS500 also offers 30fps progressive capture to video makers who prefer a more filmlike look. All three camcorders incorporate SD card slots for storing stills, along with photo output resolutions suitable for making small prints. The PV-GS300 and PV-GS500 will be available in March 2006, while the PV-GS180 will be on store shelves in February.