Panasonic Announces 70X-Optical-Zoom Camcorders

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At the Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas today, Panasonic announced three new standard-definition camcorders that, at the time of the announcement, set a new bar for optical-zoom range on a video camera. The Panasonic SDR-H80, SDR-H90, and SDR-S26 all feature a 70X optical zoom lens and will be available in April.

Panasonic SDR-H80 camcorder

Two of the new SD cameras are hard-drive camcorders, but you can also expand their memory by up to 32GB via an SD/SDHC card slot. The SDR-H80 (pictured above) includes a 60GB hard drive, which can hold up to 54 hours of footage at the lowest quality setting. The other hard-drive model, the SDR-H90, features an 80GB hard drive, which will store up to 72 hours of video at the lowest quality setting. The SDR-H80 will cost $450 and come in four colors: black, silver, blue, and red. The SDR-H90, which comes in black only, will retail for $500.

Panasonic SDR-S26 camcorder

The other 70X-optical-zoom, standard-definition camcorder is the SDR-S26 (pictured above), an SD Card camcorder that will sell for $330. It comes in black, blue, red, and champagne.

All of the new 70X-optical-zoom cameras will feature optical image stabilization driven by gyroscopic sensors. And--new to Panasonic camcorders--they will include an Easy YouTube Upload mode, which uses the bundled VideoCam Suite software to optimize and upload clips to the popular video-sharing site.

In addition, Panasonic is touting the new camcorders' Quick Start mode, which the company says will boot the cameras in less than a second, and Intelligent Auto mode, which automatically optimizes the camcorders' settings based on the shooting environment.

For all the latest CES news, check out our complete coverage of CES 2009.

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