Panasonic Joins the Pocket-Camcorder Party

In what's shaping up to be one of the major trends at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Panasonic is the latest big-name vendor to announce ultraportable camcorders. The two new additions to the Panasonic camcorder line will offer easy YouTube uploads, and their compact sizes make them geared to carrying in a pocket or purse.

The SDR-SW21 (pictured above) is a small, rugged camcorder along the lines of Kodak's just-announced, rugged Zx1. Panasonic says its camcorder is waterproof up to 6.5 feet and drop-proof up to 4 feet. The compact camcorder records to SD/SDHC cards and will be available in silver, orange, and an as-yet-unseen-in-a-camcorder lime green. With a retail price of $400, it's a bit pricier than other standard-definition pocket camcorders such as the Flip Mino. The SDR-SW21 is slated for availability in April.

The other entry in Panasonic's pocket camcorder line is the SDR-S15 (pictured below), which has some fairly advanced features for the ultraportable video camera set. Namely, the S15 boasts Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode, which optimizes exposure levels and scene modes automatically, based on the shooting environment. The S15 will be available in April in black, silver, and brown for $300.

Both the SW21 and S15 feature a 10X optical zoom, fast boot-up--Panasonic claims the time is just 0.6 second for both models--and easy YouTube uploads once the cameras are connected to a computer via a USB cable.

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