Panasonic steps into the pocket HD camcorder ring today with the launch of the HM-TA1 mobile HD camcorder. Measuring less than an inch in thickness, it gives the likes of the Flip and Kodak's pocketable HD offerings some serious competition.
The Panasonic TA1 will record 1080/30p videos at maximum resolution in MP4 format. Video capture at 1280x720 and 640x480 resolutions at 30p will also be available, as well as a Mac-friendly Apple iFrame format of 960x540 at 30p. A single channel monaural microphone handles audio recording. The TA1 does not have an HDMI port or a microphone jack. Panasonic also touts the TA1's ability to act as a web cam and easily sync up with video chat programs like Skype.
For a little extra illumination, the TA1 is equipped with an LED lamp. The light is turned on via a dedicated button on the control panel.
The TA1 will have a fixed-focal length lens. It will offer a 4x digital zoom, but it will most likely degrade image and video quality significantly. On the back panel is an array of controls and a 2.0-inch, 153,600-dot LCD. The TA1 uses an electronic image stabilization system and will accept SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.
Pricing and availability
The Panasonic HM-TA1 will become available in August with a suggested retail price of $169.95.