At just 0.5 lbs each, Panasonic's two new high definition (HD) camcorders are almost half the weight of the company's first AVCHD offering released in 2006 which tipped the scales at just under a pound. While a pound may not sound like much anyway, any weight loss in a device that may need to be carried at eye level for extended periods of time is good news for tired arms everywhere.

The only difference between the two new models is the choice of recording media. The HDC-SD10 records to an SDHC/SD Memory Card, while the Twin Memory Type HDC-TM10 records onto both an 8GB built-in Memory and an SDHC/SD Memory Card. The Twin Memory of the HDC-TM10 also allows for a Relay Recording function, which automatically switches the recording media to the SDHC/SD Memory Card when the built-in memory is full.

As is the way of technological advances, the new cameras haven't needed to cut features to shed the weight. Both camcorders feature 16x optical zoom supported by an Advanced Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) function to minimize hand-shake while zooming. The new Active mode also extends the hand-shake correction range to allow the shooting of clear, crisp images while walking or moving.

Other features include Face Detection, which adjusts the exposure based on the faces being captured, Intelligent Contrast Control, which helps ensure proper contrast, and Intelligent Scene Selector, which determines the shooting conditions and automatically selects the Scene setting that will provide optimal results. Additionally AF/AE Tracking automatically tracks the focus and exposure of a moving subject for consistent images.

To allow for operation without looking away from the subject the cameras include a touch screen that can be used to operate a variety of functions by simply touching an icon on the screen. Both models also include a built-in video light and flash for low light filming.

Anyone who has ever operated a camcorder knows that just missing a great shot is the height of frustration so the HDC-SD10 and HDC-TM10 seek to minimize this with a 1.9 second power on time and Pre-Rec function, which continuously records three seconds of images into an internal buffer memory. When the Record button is actually pressed, the three seconds immediately prior are added to the beginning of the clip.

The HDC-SD10 will be available in black for USD$549.95, while the HDC-TM10 will be available in both black and silver for USD$599.95.

Panasonic will be releasing the camcorders in September, by which time they’ll probably have announced even lighter models.

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