Panasonic has released a couple of new AVCHD-based camcorders, the HDC-SD1 and the HDC-DX1. The SD1 shoots to SD card, the DX1 shoots to 8mm DVDs.
Both of these cameras record in AVCHD, a format which appears to be gaining some traction in the consumer space. What is it? Essentially it’s an H264-based recording format targeted at folks who don’t have any intention of serious post production. Because H264 is not only long-GOP but also bi-directionally predicted, cutting it in an NLE is relatively problematic. But then, how many soccer-moms or nascar-dads are cutting their video of little Jimmy’s baseball game? Not that many.
Anyways, I haven’t paid much attention to these devices because I’m not convinced they’re worth the trouble. For most people, digital cameras are quickly replacing separate camcorder devices, because the 640x480x30fps video that most digicams shoot is “good enough.” For those who need a little more, something like the Sanyo Xacti HD1A is probably a more convenient device than a traditional camcorder form factor. I’ll have one of those in for review in a few days, so we’ll see.
In any case, I think AVCHD is an interesting format which I don’t really care about. But perhaps you do.