Issue: Wednesday, April 18, 2007


LAS VEGAS - Panasonic (
is showing what it calls "the world's smallest professional 3-CCD high definition camcorder." The AG-HSC1U weighs just 1.1 pounds, and delivers high quality 1080i recordings by capturing footage to an SDHC memory card. Since the unit has no moving parts, Panasonic stresses its noiseless operation.

A 4GB SDHC card can store up to 88 minutes of footage (41 minutes in the highest quality mode) and a portable 40GB hard drive, capable of receiving and storing the contents of 10 4GB SDHC cards in the field, is packaged with the camcorder.

The camera uses the newly-developed, H.264-based Advanced Video Codec High Definition (AVCHD) video format to deliver the two times the recording efficiency of older MPEG-2 codec technologies, such as HDV. Included with the unit is HD Writer Version 1.0 software for performing simple edits. The app also allows users to record onto a DVD-R for HD playback on a Blu-ray disc player from Panasonic or Sony (including PlayStation 3). More sophisticated editing software from third-party NLE companies is expected in the Spring. In addition, Panasonic is developing a professional AVCHD recorder that is expected to be available by end of 2007.

The unit's 16:9 three-inch 251,000-pixel LCD side screen rotates up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles. A 5.1-channel surround sound system with five microphones allows users to capture sound from many directions and a Zoom Mic function links the microphones' action to the camera's action.

Panasonic began shipping the AG-HSC1U is March for $ 2,099.