By Max Clarke

Continuing to lead the way, Panasonic, the UK's leading brand in High Definition Camcorder is pleased to introduce three new models to its award winning portfolio. Featuring Powerful 42x Intelligent Zoom in an Ultra-Compact Body, the HDC-TM80, HDC-SD80 and HDC-HS80 offer excellent picture quality for those looking for an easy to operate model with extra portability.

Superb picture with Intelligent 42x Zoom Shooting and 33.7mm Wide-Angle

The HDC-TM80/HS80/SD80 enable ultra-telephoto 42x shooting within a compact body. They use an Intelligent Zoom that employs super-high resolution technology, the Image Processing LSI "Crystal Engine PRO," and offer ultra-telephoto Intelligent Zoom shooting to exceed the magnification range of the ordinary optical zoom. The new models can capture beautiful pictures beyond the ordinary 34x optical zoom and up to a high-powered 42x zoom. This powerful zoom brings faraway subjects right up close to capture dynamic images that fill the entire frame. The new models also feature a 33.7mm wide-angle lens. This makes it possible to shoot at a close distance from the subject while fitting both the subject and the surrounding area into the frame.

New HYBRID O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer)

The New HYBRID O.I.S. is a hybrid optical and electrical image stabilisation system. In addition to the blurring caused by vertical or horizontal wrist movements, these camcorders can also detect the subtle blurring that occurs when the entire arm moves vertically or horizontally. The detected blurring is corrected using a lens in the optical system and a sensor in the electrical system. In electrical image stabilisation, an area of the sensor that remains unused during zooming is used. This makes it possible to suppress image degradation. Powerful correction is also achieved during high-powered zooming, which allows users to capture beautiful images even when shooting on the move or while zooming, where blurring from hand-shake is common.

In addition to the HYBRID O.I.S. system, the new SD80 provide even more powerful hand-shake correction with O.I.S. Lock. By pressing the O.I.S. Lock button on the LCD monitor, the blur detection sensitivity is maximized and all kinds of camera movements and corrected without image degradation. O.I.S. Lock is ideal for situations such as bird watching, which call for zooming at a fixed angle.

High Performance Intelligent Resolution technology and Crystal Engine PRO

A newly developed Intelligent Resolution technology is featured within the 80 Series to achieve more delicate and detailed image expression. They also improve the quality of images recorded under dim lighting, to provide natural-looking colour reproduction. Each of the camcorders also feature the evolved Crystal Engine PRO, which instantly processes the huge amount of data that goes into full-HD quality for extremely clear, crisp motion images that exceed even full-HD 1920 x 1080-pixel images. The evolved Crystal Engine PRO increases sensitivity and reduces low-frequency noise to achieve bright images with minimal noise when shooting under low light conditions.

The Intelligent Zoom function enables high-powered zooming. This function corrects image degradation in ordinary digital zooming to deliver stunningly clear HD images even with extreme zooming. Noise reduction (NR) technology minimizes noise when recording in low light conditions, while Intelligent Resolution technology ensures sharp, bright, beautifully coloured motion images.

Superb picture with 33.7mm wide-angle lens

Featured on each new 80 Series model, the 33.7mm wide-angle lens is especially convenient for recording indoors or in tight spaces. They make it possible to shoot at a close distance while fitting both the subject and the surrounding area into the frame. The lens captures beautiful images of wide landscapes and allows large groups of people to fit into the frame, making it highly versatile for use in all kinds of situations.

Intelligent Auto (iA) for easy video recording

The iA function, which automatically selects the most suitable shooting mode at the press of a button. The iA function consists of six functions: Face Recognition, the new HYBRID O.I.S., AF/AE Tracking, Intelligent Scene Selector, Face Detection and Intelligent Contrast Control. Face Recognition is very useful for capturing beautiful images of a specific person among a group of people in the frame. Face Recognition finds the registered faces of subjects and automatically optimizes the focus and exposure for them. It continues to track the subject as the person moves anywhere within the LCD frame, making it ideal for video shooting. A maximum of six faces can be registered. High recognition accuracy can be ensured under various shooting conditions by registering facial images from different angles or with different expressions for each person. Names can also be displayed with up to three on the LCD. Smile Shot is another handy function. It automatically records a still image during motion image recording when the camcorder detects a smiling face on the subject. This makes sure that the user won't miss the best smile.

With AF/AE Tracking, the user "locks on" to a subject by touching the LCD screen. The tracking function then automatically follows the subject even if it moves or turns to one side. This keeps the AF/AE settings constantly optimized for sharp, clear images of a moving subject. Intelligent Contrast Control prevents blown highlights and blocked shadows to retain natural, highly nuanced images with proper contrast. Intelligent Scene Selector detects the situation and switches the scene mode automatically. Each of these modes is activated, as required, by simply pressing the iA button. This allows users to capture beautiful, optimized images quickly and easily.

Hear everything with Zoom Mic and Wind Noise Canceller

The evolved Zoom Mic function improves noise-reducing performance and handles higher zooming power. This function links the microphone's action to the camera's action. When zooming in on a bird in the distance, for example, the microphones also zoom in on the bird in link with the lens zooming operation and record the bird's chirping accordingly. The function also reduces the surrounding noise to about 1/3 (-10 dB) that of conventional models. This makes it possible to record target sounds with superb clarity. What's more, the Wind Noise Canceller automatically detects and suppresses only wind noise, recording human voices clearly even on a windy beach or elevated location to ensure natural sounds with lifelike ambience, which is difficult with other camcorders.

With a multitude of features encompassed within a stylish body design — Panasonic's new high definition range of camcorders are a strong proposition. Offering superb image quality you can enjoy beautiful full-HD images anytime, anywhere. The new models will be available from February 2011.