In Pictures: Best new camcorders at CES '10

Introducing the camcorder cream of the crop...

  • The video camera line-up at this year's CES may not have been as robust as previous years, but there were still plenty of innovative models vying for space on the showroom floor. Every major vendor announced at least one new product, ranging from tiny blogger cams to professional 3D behemoths. Over the next few months, consumers are going to be spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a new camcorder. Here are the cream of the crop…

  • Panasonic HDC-HS60

    The Panasonic HDC-HS60 is a Full HD camcorder with a 25x optical zoom and 120GB hard drive. The camera also supports Panasonic's SDXC memory cards, a new high-capacity format that can store up to 2TB(!) of video. The HDC-HS60 features the latest iteration of Intelligent Auto, which is designed to prevent shooting errors, and a face recognition mode that can be used to register and automatically focus on up to six faces.

    The HDC-HS60 boasts Panasonic's new image stabilisation system, POWER O.I.S. According to the company, POWER O.I.S. has five times the corrective power of previous image stabilisers, which should make it a good choice for novice users.

    The Panasonic HDC-HS60 will be available "some time in 2010." Pricing has not been announced.
  • Kodak PlaySport

    The Kodak PlaySport is a 'ruggedised' HD pocket cam for adventurous videographers. It is suitable for snowboarding, swimming and other frenetic excursions that usually require you to leave your camcorder at home. The Kodak PlaySport is waterproof up to a depth of 10 feet and it's also shock-resistant. The plus-sized buttons make it easier to operate while you're wearing gloves or mittens.

    The PlaySport shoots digitally stabilised 1080p video, takes 5-megapixel stills, and saves photos and video to SDHC cards. The sales package includes an HDMI cable for watching your clips on an HDTV directly from the camera.
  • Panasonic HDC-SD60

    The Panasonic HDC-SD60 is a removable flash memory–based camcorder that records in Full HD (1080p). It sports similar specifications to the Panasonic HDC-HS60, including POWER O.I.S image stabilisation and SDXC memory card support. Intelligent Auto and advanced face recognition are also included. Because it has no internal memory, the Panasonic HDC-SD60 is both small and highly impact resistant. This makes it a good choice for frequent shooters.

    The Panasonic HDC-HS60 will be available in the first half of 2010. Pricing is not yet available.
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-CS1

    Despite its reputation as a purveyor of 'cheap-n-cheerful' camcorders, the quality of Sanyo's output has improved in leaps and bounds. The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CS1 looks set to continue this fine tradition.

    Out of the pocket cams showcased at CES 2010, Sanyo's model was the most full-featured — and also the thinnest. It shoots 1080i video at 60 frames per second and can capture 8-megapixel still photos. Videos are saved as MPEG-4 H.264-codec files. Footage can be stored on either SDHC or SDXC memory cards.

    The Sanyo VPC-CS1 will sell for US$300 and will be available in February.
  • Canon Legria HF S21

    The Legria HF S21 is the latest top-of-the-range camcorder to come from Canon. It will replace the [[artnid:306274|Canon Legria HFS10]], which was our favourite camcorder of 2009. Like its predecessor, the Canon Legria HF S21 captures 1920x1080 (1080p) AVCHD video at 24Mbps (megabits per second). Product highlights include a low-light optimised CMOS sensor, a Digic 4 processor, a 10x optical zoom lens, a 3.5in touch-screen LCD panel and 8-megapixel still photo capture.

    The Canon Legria HF S21 can also down-convert high-definition AVCHD video to standard-definition MPEG-2 video, which is friendlier for sharing clips on the Web and burning DVDs. In addition to 64GB of internal memory, the Canon Legria HF S21 comes with not one, but two SDHC/SDXC memory card slots. Presumably, this will allow you to hot-swap media without interrupting your recording.

    The Canon HFS 21 due for release in April, but pricing is yet to be disclosed.
  • Canon Legria HF S21 (cont.)

    The Canon Legria HF S21 provides enhanced low-light shooting performance via its 25p Cinema Mode. This also helps to match the look of traditional film.
  • Sony Bloggie HD MHS-PM5

    The Sony Bloggie HD MHS-PM5 is a pocket-sized camcorder tailor-made for Internet bloggers. Unlike most pocket cams, the HD MHS-PM5 has the ability to shoot 1080p video at 30 frames per second, or 720p video at 60 fps. (This should give image quality a substantial boost.) Footage is saved as MPEG-4 video using the H.264 codec.

    Other highlights include a 270-degree rotating lens (perfect for adjusting stationary shots), a built-in USB connector (for offloading clips to a computer) and a simple, beginner-friendly control scheme. It also has the ability to play clips in landscape mode on its 2.4in LCD screen.

    Interestingly, the Bloggie HD MHS-PM5 is compatible with SD/SDHC cards, as well as Sony's Memory Stick format (previous Sony handycams have only supported the latter.)
  • Sony Bloggie HD MHS-PM5 (cont.)

    The Sony Bloggie HD MHS-PM5's tiny size and simplified interface makes it perfect for bloggers and younger users.
  • Sony Bloggie HD MHS-PM5 (cont.)

    As its name implies, the Sony Bloggie HD MHS-PM5 has been optimised for Internet video uploads.
  • Canon Legria HF R100

    The Canon Legria HF R100 is an affordable HD camcorder with a 20x optical zoom lens. It is capable of capturing Full HD video at 17 megabits per second (17Mbps). The Canon Legria HF R100 uses a joystick interface in place of the increasingly more common touch-screen LCD. (If you're one of those people who hate touch screens, this can be considered something of a bonus.)

    For still images, the Legria HF R100's CMOS sensor offers a maximum resolution of 2 megapixels. Video are stored using an SDHC/SDXC memory card slot.

    The Canon Legria HF R100 will be available in March. Pricing is yet to be revealed.
  • Canon Legria HF R100 (cont.)

    The Canon Legria HF R100, flanked by the other new models in the 'R' series: the Canon Legria HF R11 and Legria HF R10.
  • Panasonic Twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder

    CES 2010 was unofficially the year of 3D, with everything from TVs to video games coming to you in three dimensions. The camcorder side was represented by Panasonic's Twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder. This professional-level video camera records video from each of its lenses to SDHC cards. With an expected RRP of US$21,000, it's definitely not for casual users. On the plus side, Panasonic will custom-build the Twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder to match each buyer's specific needs.

    The Panasonic Twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder will be available in Spring (in the US at least).
  • Panasonic Full HD 3D camcorder (cont.)

    3D is expected to take off in a big way this year, with James Cameron's Avatar opening the floodgates. This makes the Panasonic Full HD 3D camcorder one of the most affordable ways to bring 3D video to the masses.

    Pictured: Panasonic's 3D Full HD LCD monitor.
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