Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Panasonic's AG-HSC1U 3-CCD 'Pro' Camcorder

Panasonic unveiled its AG-HSC1U camcorder, a 3-CCD high-definition shooter that the company is billing as the world's smallest 3-chip professional HD camera. Its specs are nearly the same as its brandmate that uses those 4GB (88-minute) SDHC cards, the HDC-SD1, but it adds a 40GB hard drive on which to store their footage. The camcorder's also equipped with a slightly faster Leica lens, an f/1.6 as opposed to the f/1.8 of that more consumer-oriented HDC-SD1.

Professionals may scoff at Panasonic suggesting they use this tiny camcorder, but some pros may indeed employ it in hazardous or dangerous conditions. Heck, that $2099 price amounts to almost a disposable camcorder in the professional realm. It all depends on what you mean by "professional." But this might be just right for some pro situations.

That 40-gig hard drive that's so nicely portable and stores such a tremendous amount of footage makes this camcorder a lot easier to justify in pro-level field conditions. The remaining question: how good is the quality of that H.264 MPEG-4 footage using the AVCHD format, with its measly 15Mbps bit rate as implemented thus far? Will that be bumped up to the AVCHD format's potential 24Mbps bit rate?

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