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Panasonic releases first AVCHD pro camcorder

Panasonic has announced a new high-definition camcorder using its new AVCHD codec.

AVCHD is an MPEG4 codec, used to record compressed high-definition footage. This is the first time the codec has been used in a professional camcorder as AVCHD is a codec created for the consumer market.

It also uses the latest type of memory card - SDHC. This is a next-generation version of SD that will eventually allow storage of up to 32GB. This camcorder comes with a 4GB card, and is complimented by a 40GB hard disk drive.

The camera uses a quarter-inch 3CCD sensor chip with a native 16:9 aspect ratio. The real difference is that it uses an f1.6 Leica Dicomar lens instead of older HDC-SD1's f1.8, helping it to be more versatile and perform well in varying conditions. The company has compared the camcorder's performance to its stalwart professional model, the AG-HVX200 .

The AG-HSC1U is due out in the US in March, retailing for $2,100 (£1,170). It will be released in the UK later this year.