Models pack more automated functions, plus bigger zooms and more ways to store video
Not every camcorder owner is a cinematographer, but they all want cinematic results. Camcorder makers are obliging with models that help you set up great shots – and warn you if some weren’t so great.
Panasonic introduced models with face detection—so the camcorder stays focused on subjects even as they move around—tracking faces to optimize not only focus but also color and light exposure.
Panasonic includes face-detection on its HDC-SD9, and HS9. Panasonic also claims that the $800 SD9 is the world’s smallest HD camcorder, at 2.6 x 2.6 x 5 inches. To further help you out, the cameras have a new feature called Intelligent Shooting Navigation, which analyzes video as you shot it and warns if a scene didn’t come out because you panned too quickly or tilted the camera, or if the subject was backlit or the lighting was too low.
Going the distance
Panasonic’s standard-definition SDR-H60 ($550) boasts a 50X zoom lens – possibly the longest for a consumer model. (And it promises to keep steady with an improved image stabilizer that measures for hand jitters 4000 times per second.)
The Big Picture
Camcorders have long been able to snap digital still images, but JVC’s GZ-MG730 takes it to the max with a seven-megapixel CCD that captures both high-def video and photos.—Sean Captain
Want more? Check out our entire CES 2008 coverage here.