By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: At a media launch on Queensland’s Lady Elliott Island in the Great Barrier Reef on the weekend, Panasonic unveiled its new camcorder range, including the tiny SDR-S7 that weighs 165 grams and the waterproof SDR-SW20.

Panasonic’s new camcorder range includes models that record to a range of storage media including SD Memory Cards, built-in hard discs, DVD discs and miniDV tape.

New SD card camcorders from Panasonic include the waterproof, dust-proof and shock-proof SDR-SW20 (RRP $769) and the ultra-compact SDR-S7 (RRP $549).

The SDR-SW20 is waterproof to a depth of 1.5 metres, dust and sand proof and shockproof against drops of up to 1.2 metres. The SDR-S7 measures 41 x 59 x 102 mm (W x H x D), while the SW20 weighs 224 grams and measures 33.8 x 63.4 x 115.4 mm.

Panasonic also launched five new camcorders that give users a choice of recording media. The SDR-H280/H60/H40 are hybrid models that can record onto either SD Memory Cards, or their built-in hard disks. The VDR-D50 (RRP $659) records onto DVD discs, and the NV-GS330 (RRP $989) records onto miniDV tape.

The SDR-H60 (RRP $989) has a 60GB hard disk with up to 54 hours recording capacity. The SDR-H40 (RRP $879) offers 40GB (36 hours recording), and the SDR-H280 (RRP $1,209) has a 30GB hard disk that holds up to 27 hours of recording.

Also utilising SD Memory Card storage is the HCD-SD9 (RRP $1,869 with a 32 GB card) — which Panasonic has announced is currently the world’s smallest and lightest 3CCD HD camcorder. It weighs 275 grams and measures 65 x 67 x 126mm.

Meanwhile the HDC-HS9 (RRP $1,999) is a hybrid camcorder with up to 29 hours HD recording that records onto either an SD (or SDHC) Memory Card or its built-in 60GB hard disk.