Panasonic HDC-SD5 Hard Drive Camcorder

We took a look at the Top 5 Compact Camcorders of 2007 here.

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A new challenger appears poised to blow the world order apart. It’s called the Panasonic HDC-SD5 camcorder and it’s set to be a best seller this Christmas.

The spec includes:

Signal system 1080 lines, 60 fields Weight (w/o Battery) 0.75 lb Dimensions (W x H x D) 2.6 x 2.6 x 5.3 inch

Image sensor
1/6-inch CCD image sensor
Total pixels: 560 k x 3

Effective pixels
Motion Picture: 520 k x 3(16:9)
Still Picture: 520 k x 3 (16:9)

Lens
Auto iris, 10x power zoom
F 1.8 to 2.8 (f = 3.0 to 30.0mm)
35mm equivalent
Motion picture: 42.9 to 429 mm (16:9)
Still picture: 42.9 to 429 mm (16:9)
Filter diameter 37 mm
Zoom 10x optical zoom, 25/700x digital zoom

Monitor 2.7” wide LCD monitor (approx. 300 k pixels)
Microphone Stereo Zoom Microphone
Speaker Dynamic type
White balance adjustment Auto / White Set / Outdoor / Indoor (with IR sensor)
Standard illumination 1,400 lux

Minimum required illumination 5 lux (1/30 low light mode) (1 lux in Magic pix mode)

High-speed shutter 1/30 – 1/8000 (Motion Picture), 1/30-1/8000 (Still Picture)

Recording media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card

USB Card reader / writer function ( No copyright protection support)
High-Speed USB (USB2.0) (miniAB)
Pict Bridge-compliant
Flash Available flash range: approx. 1m to 2.5m
Standard accessories AC Adaptor, Battery Pack, IR Remote Controller, USB Cable,
component Cable, AV-Cable, CD-ROM (HD Writer Ver 2.0)

Motion pictures
Compression MPEG4-AVC/H.264 (AVCHD standard compliant)
Transfer rate HG: approx. 13 Mbps (CBR)/ HN: approx. 9 Mbps (VBR)/
HE: approx. 6 Mbps (VBR)
Picture size HG: 1920 x 1080, HN/HE: 1440 x 1080
Audio compression Dolby Digital (Dolby AC3)/ 2ch

Still pictures
Compression JPEG (DCF/Exif2.2 compliant)
Picture size 1920 x 1080 / 2.1MEGA (16:9)
HE: approx. 6

In superficial tests this latest offering from Panasonic has appeared to capture stunning picture quality. Compact and including an improved zoom this model is already being talked about as the vanquisher of the much vaunted Sony HDR-CX6.

A particularly nice feature of the HDC-SD5 is the new pre-record feature that constantly records into a buffer (when the camera is switched on) so it automatically captures 3 seconds of footage prior to you pressing record – very handy for point and shoot.

Due to retail at $1600 (£800) it’s not cheap – but it is nice!

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