By Martin Vedris in Singapore

SINGAPORE: Panasonic’s new 70x optical zoom with optical image stabiliser (OIS) on its new 2009 standard definition (SD) camcorders brings the moon so close you can see the craters. It’s one feature to help differentiate the standard definition camcorders in the range.

The new the SDR-S26 SD memory card camcorder (RRP $549) and SDR-H80 60GB had disc drive camcorder (RRP $829) both feature the new high-powered zoom function as well as Intelligent Auto (iA) functions and a YouTube up-loader.

Panasonic’s Advanced O.I.S uses what they call gyro sensors to detect hand-shake while a lens unit shifts to align the optical axis. This detection and correction process is repeated about 4,000 times per second. Panasonic say that this correction performance, cannot be matched by electronic image stabilisation systems and is critical when zooming at 70 times.

These camcorders also offer Pre-Record and 0.8-second Quick Start functions to ensure that movie recording starts as fast as possible to avoid missing out any action.

The SDR-H80 is a hybrid camcorder with a 60-GB internal HDD that can record up to 54 hours (in LP mode). And if combined with a 32-GB SDHC memory card, the camcorder provides an additional recording time of up to 26 hours and 40 minutes (in LP mode). It also has an Anti-Shock Shield to protect the hard disk from knocks and bumps.

The SDR-S26 is also resistant to knocks because it records onto SDHC/SD Memory Cards and therefore has fewer moving parts, making it light as well.