July 28, 2010

Panasonic Announces 3D Camcorder

On Wednesday, Panasonic announced their new HDC-SDT750 camcorder, which the Japanese electronics firm claims will be the first 3D camera intended for a mainstream consumers.

"As a result of research conducted through Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, Panasonic developed a professional 3D system camera and successfully brought high-quality Full HD 3D images to the home for viewing on Panasonic VIERA Full HD 3D televisions," Chris Rice, Panasonic Senior Product Manager said in a Tuesday press release.

"But now, Panasonic has taken it one step further and developed the world's first consumer 3D camcorder, the HDC-SDT750--creating a 3D ecosystem available for consumers in the home," Rice added. "Incorporating Panasonic's professional broadcast technology and bringing it to an easy-to-use consumer model, the SDT750 makes high-quality 3D video content a reality in the home."

According to AFP reports, the HDC-SDT750 will record two separate images--"left-eye and right eye," as the news agency dubs them--which will then be combined during playback which will "produce a stereoscopic image that can be played back on 3D-capable TVs."

Panasonic reports that the device will go on sale in Japan on August 20, and the AFP claims that the device will reportedly carry a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $1,399.95. However, AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama contradicts that price point, reporting that the camcorder and lens package "starts at about 170,000 yen ($2,000)."

"Each [image] is in the near-full HD 960 x 1080 format," notes Matt Warman, Consumer Technology Editor of the UK's Telegraph, in a July 28 article. "Although subjects reaching towards the camera, and apparently coming out through the screen when played back, appear slightly fuzzy, such technology is only available elsewhere for still images"¦ To watch the footage, viewers will need a 3D-capable TV and 'active shutter' glasses, which could cost more than £2,500 [approximately $3,895]."

The camcorder will also be capable of recording standard HD images if the 3D lens is removed from the device, according to AFP. Panasonic has also confirmed that the HDC-SDT750 will include 12x optical zoom, 3D image-editing software, and a three-inch touch screen to preview recordings in 2D.

It will also feature "a time lapse recording feature which can play scenes such as a blooming flower at accelerated speed," AFP said, noting that the HDC-SDT750 "currently only works effectively on subjects that are between one and three meters away."

"A company spokesman suggested it would"¦ revolutionize the recording of important moments such as graduations and a child's first steps," the news agency added.

"Panasonic demonstrated how the camcorder can film a girl playing on swings, and had reporters check out the film through 3-D glasses," Kageyama said. "The image was colorful, clear and 3-D but, as a homemade movie, not quite Avatar."


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