Getting in quickly ahead of a mountain of CeBIT announcements, Panasonic has added a couple of models to its digital video camera range.
The only difference between the NV-DS55B and NV-DS35B is that the former has a MultiMedia Card removable storage facility -- it comes with a 4MB card that can hold up to 100 low-resolution JPEG images. There's also an optional external MultiMedia Card driver for downloading to your PC, and a PCMCIA adapter for laptops.
Both cameras come with a 15x optical zoom and a digital zoom that extends to 150x.
The LCD screen has been improved on since earlier models, giving a viewing angle of 120° vertical and 110° horizontal. There's a "luminance enhancing sheet" to bump up the screen's backlighting, and the whole thing slips neatly back into the body after use.
There are also a couple of new features for instant camera action. Quick Start, for example, gets the camera up and running within 3.5 seconds, while Quick Zoom can go across the whole optical range in half a second -- apparently. A nice touch is the speedy battery charging feature, which gives up to an hour of recording from a 15-minute charge.
Other new features include Progressive Photo Shot, which enhances the resolution of still pictures up to 1.5 times, and an i.LINK terminal for dubbing and editing. There are also nine digital effects you can add during recording or playback, including digital wipe, mix, strobe and tracer.
Both digital video cameras are out in April, although Panasonic doesn't want you to know the price as yet.
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