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Panasonic HDC-SD1 High Definition SD Camcorder - Verdict
I see it more of a way to store your footage while you wait for applications to come out that support the format. I did manage to use it to burn a DVD, and successfully played it back in on a Panasonic Blu-ray player. You won’t of course be able to play back on a regular DVD player, as it won’t be able to read the AVCHD files. I tried it on a Toshiba HD DVD player but with no joy.
There’s no doubt that the HDC-SD1 is the pinnacle of consumer level video capture devices that are that are available today. It’s small, light, easy to use and capable of producing some wonderful quality images with impressive sound quality, that's free from motor noise. Many might be put off by the new capture format but with the arrival of software from Ulead and Pinnacle that’s no longer an issue, at least for PC users. Hopefully Mac users will be looked after too soon, as well as the more professional end of the market.
The question of whether you should go for the SD1 is really a question of how brave you are with new technology. The AVCHD codec is just not as established a DV and if you want to be sure you can use your favourite video editor then its best to stick with HDV. However, the fact is that most consumers, despite what there intentions are, never bother to edit their footage. Instead you can simply keep your footage on your PC. Alternatively, if you have a Blu-ray player, you can burn the content to DVD. And if you happen to have one of this year's range of Panasonic Viera TVs with an SD card slot, you can just take the SD card out of the camcorder and play the content straight back on the TV, which is a very nice touch. Overall though, I have to say that I loved using the HDC-SD1 and if I were looking to buy a new camcorder, right now this is the one I would get.
The HDC-SD1 is a fantastic cutting edge piece of technology that finally does away with the need for tapes. It’s small and light, delightfully easy to use and most of all takes superb high definition images. The AVCHD codec means that few editing applications will handle it, but there are already two packages on the market on the way and more to follow. If you like being at the cutting edge, the HDC-SD1 is highly recommended.
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