Panasonic has announced the first shoulder-mounted AVCHD camcorder to hit the market. The Panasonic AG-HMC70 will record 1440 x 1080 resolution footage to SD/SDHC cards. Video will be stored using the increasingly popular AVCHD codec. Though editing applications are lagging on support for this codec, this latest offering from Panasonic will hopefully help instill software manufacturers with a sense of urgency to fully support AVCHD as prosumers and professionals become more and more interested in camcorders supporting the codec.
The Panasonic AG-HMC70 sports three, 1/4 CCDs, optical image stabilization, and a 12x optical zoom. A 3-inch widescreen LCD monitor will aid in ever-important focusing tasks. Panasonic has also included a nice array of audio capabilities including two XLR Mic/Line switchable inputs with attenuation, +48V Phantom Power, and both Auto & Manual level with Rec level dials.
One unfortunate feature, or lack thereof, is the fact that the highest bitrate the Panasonic AG-HMC70 can record at is 13Mbps, well short of the max 24Mbps the AVCHD codec is capable of. The world is still waiting for an AVCHD camcorder that can compete with good olf HDV.