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Panasonic's midrange HD camcorders slip behind the competition

Panasonic announced just one updated HD camcorder product line at CES: its midrange consumer models, the flash-based HDC-TM55 and HDC-SD60 and the hard disk-based HDC-HS60.

LAS VEGAS--In a surprising move, Panasonic announced just one updated HD camcorder product line at CES, its midrange consumer models. All three--the flash-based HDC-TM55 and HDC-SD60 and the hard disk-based HDC-HS60--have wider angle (35.7mm equivalent), longer 25X zoom lenses than their predecessors had, plus touch screens and wind filters. This is surprising not only because of the dearth of announcements, but because most competitors have incorporated backside-illuminated CMOS sensors into their 2010 products for better low light recording.

The TM55 has 8GB of built-in memory, but the SD60 has none; all now support SDXC. The HS60 has a 120GB hard drive in addition to the card slot. There's also the usual tweaks, such as the addition of face recognition and improvements to image stabilization. Panasonic hasn't announced pricing or availability.