January 27, 2009 Designed to keep up when your weekend exploits get a little rough, Panasonic's new SDR-SW21 compact camcorder is dustproof, waterproof up to 6.5 feet (in both fresh and salt water) and shockproof enough to sustain a 4-foot drop. Due for release in April 2009 at a price of around the USD$400 mark, the SDR-SW21 records to SD/SDHC Memory Cards and includes a 0.6 second quick-start recording feature.

The SDR-SW21 will be released alongside another new SD/SDHC camcorder offering - the SDR-S15 - which features Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto (iA) system which automatically selects the most suitable shooting mode and prompts the use of Face Detection.

Footage from both camcorders can be copied directly to DVD without the use of a computer by using Panasonics VW-BN1 DVD burner and both are shipped with "VideoCam Suite" which assist in quickly uploading videos to social media sites (note that "Web" mode must be used on the camcorder for videos destined for YouTube).

The company has also added to new Hard disk models and another SD Card model to its camcorder line-up for 2009. All three of these models (the 60 GB SDR-H80, 80GB SDR-H90 and SDR-S26 SD card model) feature an impressive 70X optical zoom capability and to cater for the obvious shaky image issues this kind of zoom power will bring, all include Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) technology. The O.I.S. uses gyrosensors detect hand shake and shifts the lens to correct the optical axis, a process it repeats around 4,000 times per second.

“Before today, traditional camcorder lenses could zoom up to 50x, but with the extra 20x our new camcorders provide, Panasonic is the first to offer such a powerful solution,” said Dennis Eppel, Vice President, Network Business Group, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company.

The 80GB SDR-H90 can capture up to 72 hours in LP mode, while the 60 GB SDR-H80’s internal HDD can record up to 54 hours in LP mode. Both units also feature a SD/SDHC Memory Card slot.

Like the aforementioned compact camcorders, the new HDD models are due for release in April. The SDR-H80 will be priced at USD$449.95, the SDR-90 will set you back $499.95 and the SDR-S26 has an SRP of $329.95.

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