• Record HD video approach to SDHC cards; up to 1 hour upon a 4 GB SDHC card
  • 3CCD complement delivers softened color, detail, as well as gradation
  • Leica Dicomar lens with 12x visual zoom; built-in O.I.S.
  • 5.1-channel audio recording; Zoom mic duty adjusts audio to compare camcorder movement
  • 4 GB SDHC mental recall label included

Product Description
The compress pattern creates a HDC-SD1 easy to lift about, as well as with a intelligent styling, you’ll wish to take it everywhere. In a AVCHD format, we can jot down onto an SD or SDHC mental recall label as well as get up to about 90 mins of successive recording. In discerning begin mode, a SD1 starts recording in only 1.7 seconds from a time a LCD is opened. This lets we fire those remarkable sharpened opportunities.

Panasonic HDC-SD1 AVCHD 3CCD Flash Memory High Definition Camcorder with 12x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom

5 Reviews

  1. Lewis Lee says:

    This is my first Amazon review. In the past I’ve had two Sony Hi-8 camcorders, a, Sony Mini-DV (DCR-PC1) and two Panasonic 3-CCD Mini-DV camcorders (PV-DV953 and PV-GS120) and now this HDC-SD1 will be my 6th model. Having had the last 2 weeks now to familiarize myself with the ins-and-outs of the HDC-SD1, I’d like to pass on what I’ve learned of this little dynamo. There are some limitations I had to accept in order to feel confident about making a smart $1100 purchase. First and foremost, be warned that the MPEG-4 H.264 Codec is not currently supported by iMovie HD, Final Cut Studio, Vegas, or any other popular NLE, though revisions and plug-ins are expected probably around summer 2007. If you can live with that for now, then be prepared for the output from this machine to knock your socks off.

    Personally I was willing to live with not being able to edit the footage for now because I wanted to capture the first months of our 7-week old infant in the best quality available, and this meant either going AVCHD using mini-DVD (Sony HDR-UX1), AVCHD using a hard drive (Sony HDR-SR1) or AVCHD using a chip (Panny HDC-SD1). HD camcorders recording to DVD were the first to be taken off the list because of its annoying disc formatting and finalizing times and the brevity of recording length. I took the tape-based HD camcorders out early on due to my own experience with the frustration of locating footage using a linear recording format. More on this later. I also did not consider HDV-based HD camcorders as ingesting HDV footage (MPEG-2) is onerously slow and no piece of cake for one’s hard drive. To be fair, HDV is a mature (more dated?) technology while AVCHD is still relatively embryonic with a huge upside still to come. So after lurking through a few forums and thumbing thru @500 page views of info, I gave the nod to the Panasonic. Absolutely no regrets. Even with the just announced HDC-SD3 coming in a few months stateside, it didn’t look much better spec-wise to the HDC-SD1 and my baby might already be walking by then so I’m glad I got this now. I’m also in the process of purchasing an 8th or 9th generation plasma to match the output (1080i/60) from this little wonder as my current set doesn’t support 1080i.

    Unique advantages compared to other models in its competitive set:
    +It has a high design aesthetic and is the smallest 3-CCD HD consumer camcorder on earth. It’s as long as a dollar bill and just as wide. (I measured)
    +With the Quick Start mode activated, the camcorder fires up and starts recording in about 2 seconds after the screen is opened. Never miss your baby’s first steps with this guy.
    +Built-in option of having virtual guidelines superimposed on the display for better compositions and more level horizons. The camera gives you three choices, horizontal lines only (my favorite) a big grid, or a small grid (egg crate) for the truly anal.
    +German designed Leica Dicomar lens contains three aspherical elements that keeps chromatic aberration in check, with almost all surfaces multicoated.
    +Simplicity of button layout and U.I., even though most advanced functions still there and easily accessible, like iris and shutter controls, fades, etc.
    +Optional color bar indicator for tonal checks on your TV for calibration, normally seen only on professional broadcast camcorders.
    +An option called ‘zoom-mike’ that focuses the sound on the area that you’ve zoomed into up 12X, great for surveillance work I guess. Or stalkers.
    +Built-in HDMI to connect right up to an HDTV with no signal degradation, with one cable handling both HD video and 5:1 Surround Sound if connected thru an HDMI receiver.
    +Weighs about one pound with media and battery. The girth and weight of the HDC-SD1 is almost exactly the same as a 16-ounce can of Coke.
    +Package includes a 4 Gb SDHC class 2 media card that can hold between 40 minutes and 90 minutes’ worth of footage depending on compression, when most camcorders don’t even come with a $5 tape.

    Unique disadvantages compared to other models in its competitive set:
    -The multifunction joystick is on the small side and can be confusing in use. For some people I can see how this might hamper recording effectiveness. On the other hand, it’s no better or worse than the joystick on the Panny PV-GS400/500.
    -USB 2.0 is nice but the the lack of a firewire/iLink connection is a bit of a bummer.
    -Camcorder battery will not recharge in-camera, nor will it recharge if AC adapter is utilized (plugged-in) at the same time.
    -Included software that handles rudimentary editing functions works only on PCs.
    -Resolution of still images taken is below par when compared to other models in its competitive set (like the Sony HRD-SR1 or Canon HV10/20)
    -No tactile focusing ring if you like to verify the focus, a distinct advantage with the Sony camcorders in general and even its brother the Panny PV-GS500.

    A quick vent. What bugs me with tapes, whether Hi-8, Mini-DV, etc is the time needed to peruse through vast amounts of media to get to a specific footage. It is entirely possible to spend up to 5 or 10 minutes jogging back and forth on an 60-minute tape to find the 30-second clip of something you’re actually looking for. Recording to either HDD or an SDHC card, not only can clips be played at a glance in any order, erasing a clip is just as easy. For example, you have two 15 minute clips of primo footage with a 15 minute clip of some pointless recording in between. With a tape, it is much safer to keep all 45 minutes of footage to retain the good 15 minutes’ worth on the end. With an SD card, the middle 15 minutes can be deleted like a photo in your digicam, and you’re left with another 15-minute chunk of space for better footage. The analogy I can make between the HDC-SD1 and its HDV rivals would be akin to comparing an HD camcorder spawned from the iPod (flash memory) and an HD camcorder fathered by a Walkman (tape-based) and I personally would never go back to using my Sony Walkman when I can slip a Nano in my pocket. I probably sound like an anti-tape nut by now but it’s only because I have over 50 Mini-DV tapes in our collection that nobody has touched in the last couple of years. I mean, why not settle for true random access if it’s available? Good luck to all in your purchasing.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  2. John Woods says:

    This camera delivers great picture quality and is very easy to use.

    If you are looking forward to editing and publishing your videos taken with this camera please note, at the time of North American release, software packages that can handle AVCHD digital format encoded using MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (m2ts) are only starting to show up.

    The software included with this camera, Leadtools HD Writer Ver 1.0E for SD1, is capable of only basic operations such as scene preview, split, merge, and delete. Using this software you can backup your videos on a DVD-R disk, but you won’t be able to play it back, unless you have one of the new Blu-ray disk players.

    The software situation will improve with time, and there will be more high definition video options in the future.

    To hookup this camera to a high definition display you can use provided component cables or the HDMI output (HDMI cable is not included). Standard audio, video output is also available for older TV sets (cable included).

    The computer interface is USB (cable supplied); it works only when the camera is hooked up to the AC/DC adapter (included). By the way, the battery will not charge inside the camera; charge it on the adapter disconnected from the camera.

    Videos and pictures are stored on an SDHC card (some SD cards can also be used, but SDHC class 2 or better are recommended). A 4 GB SDHC card (one included) is good for about 40 minutes of recording in the highest quality HF setting; this is also about as much as the stock VW-VBG130 battery can handle. For more power on the go an optional VW-VH04 battery pack holder can be used. You can use additional SDHC cards, or dump data to a laptop computer via USB cable, or use optional VW-PT2 or similar SDHC media storage device.

    The battery is loaded from the bottom. When using the camera on a tripod, load the battery first.

    In addition to videos, this camera can also take still pictures. The quality of still pictures is so-so with some digital artifacts showing up; but it is fine for occasional snapshots. On the positive side, the still picture trigger on this camcorder functions like on real picture cameras: you can pre-focus depressing the trigger half way.

    Thanks to the powerful 3CCD sensor architecture and optical image stabilization the videos this camera takes are very good, even in sub-optimal light conditions. There is an automatic mode, and a manual mode for more advanced control. One of the features I especially like is the Grid that can be displayed for better shoot composition.

    HDC-SD1 is one of the first consumer high-definition cameras from Panasonic, it’s a great start and sure to please customers looking so save the moving pictures of unforgettable moments in life.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. Clickwired says:

    This is an excellent piece of camcorder. I was blown away by the Video Quality of it. Here are some of the Pros and Cons

    1. Excellent Video Quality and Auto White balance – I can see the exact color in my video in good light. Low light performance is also not bad.

    2. 3 CCD chip – Excellent colors and saturation, I compared my old Sony HC40 and Panasonic SD1 side by side shooting the same scene at the same time in Auto mode mounted on Tripods and Panasonic has great colors & Sharpness

    3. Leica Optics – Optics are much better on this one
    4. Manual Options – Can set White balance, Iris, Shutter Speed to get more manual control, has separate option for backlit subjects.
    5. High Definition – I don’t have a high definition TV, but video looks sharp on my computer and TV. I am completely satisfied with it.
    6. Size – Perfectly sleek and light
    7. Comes with separate charger and remote control


    1. No iLink inside the Camcorder
    2. No View Finder
    3. Video Outputs (except HDMI & USB) are not available outside without lifting/bringing the LCD Screen out. LCD screen can break if camera accedentaly falls and i want my LCD panel to be closed when I am watching the video
    4. Comes with filter thread, but the filter hood should be purchased separately
    5. HDMI cable is not presented
    6. Only 40 Mins video at highest quality on 4GB SDHC Card.
    7. I was not able to copy using media copiers to backup and download this card which i can use to backup my digital images while I am on the field.
    8. Joystick on the camera can be better, You have to get used to it.
    9. Less/Complex Editing options as this is AVCHD

    Every camera has a drawback and is not 100% perfect. I consider Panasonic a very good buy for people looking for 3-CCD, and a little manual control.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Buzz Lightyear says:

    I have the HDC-SD3 model of this camcorder (which as of 6/30/07 is available only in Japan). The SD3 is physically and functionally identical to the SD1 except that the highest bitrate recording mode on the SD3 does full 1920x1080i (the SD1’s three recording modes all top out at 1440x1080i).

    As someone who works in computer graphics, I am particularly concerned about image quality and was a little wary that this camera’s top bitrate of 13 Mbps would still be too low to achieve acceptable results using the AVCHD H.264 codec. I was pleasantly surprised- the quality is surprisingly good! There are no obvious motion artifacts. The captured color is vibrant and accurate, especially in good lighting. (Low light performance is decent too.) I was very impressed at how nice the image looked connected to good 1080i and 1080p displays over component and HDMI. The image is a tiny bit more contrasty than I would have dialed in, but other than that, no complaints. The average tech-savvy family shooter buying this camera will be perfectly happy with the picture.

    I’m particularly impressed with the excellent optical image stabilization, build quality and autofocus performance (which is important since there is no focus ring and only an awkward joystick-based means of focusing manually, should you ever need to do it). Like all consumer HD cameras, the flip-out LCD doesn’t have enough resolution for fine manual focusing, and I plan to use the camera mostly for casual family use anyway. Although not specifically documented as such in most product listings, the zoom control on the SD1 is variable speed. It is very responsive. You can do subtle, slow zooms quite easily despite the lever’s small size.

    A few downsides: the running time is limited on the ONE size of battery this camera supports – the camera can shoot for a little over an hour on a charge, less than the 83 minutes (at best quality) I can get on an 8GB SDHC card and well short of the shooting times at the lower bitrates. The SD1 also lacks a progressive shooting mode and a choice of framerates… 1080i is it (look into the HV20 if you must have a 24p mode). The audio quality is pretty good but not extraordinary (possibly due to the microphones being placed on TOP of the camera instead of in front… the 5 channel Dolby Digital it records is sort of cool (more of a gimmick, I think) but does make the footage more complicated to edit. I would have preferred a PCM 48 KHz/16-bit stereo mode. There is no accessory shoe on top. And finally, the editing solutions for the AVCHD clips this camera records are only now beginning to emerge (though with Nero, Ulead, Pinnacle and Final Cut Pro already supporting it, the situation is only bound to get better).

    If you’re looking at this camera, you may be debating between it and the Canon HV20. I’d urge you to go with the SD1. The image quality from both cameras is very similar, but with the SD1, you’ll never lose a shot due to tape dropouts and you won’t have to spend hours capturing footage in over Firewire (the SD1 appears to your computer as any other flash drive… just copy the files off, one per clip). The build quality and handling are slightly better than the HV20’s, and the optical image stabilization is the same or perhaps slightly better too. I agree with those who believe MiniDV tape will be dead in a few years, as recording to flash memory offers numerous speed and reliability advantages, and we are hitting that crossover point where you no longer have to give up any quality to go with a flash-based product.

    If you’re debating between the SD1 and one of Sony’s AVCHD cameras, be sure to compare picture quality and color accuracy before going with the Sony… Sony’s cameras rated well behind Panasonic and Canon products in consumer HD camcorder shootouts.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Chi D. Nguyen says:

    I bought this camcorder for a recent trip to Italy with the following reservation:

    1) Price continues to drop.
    2) No editing sw available yet.
    3) Storing SDHD while traveling, and eventually archiving onto DVD.
    4) Quality of still picture.
    5) Its size, it’s compact but not that compact.

    I bought along 2 more 4GB SDHC and a 100 GB Woverine storage. After 2 weeks trip, here are my fbacks:

    a) PQ relating to capacity: The “middle” shooting mode PQ is stunning when view on 50″ HD plasma. The “lower or extended” mode show pixels occasionally. Due to the capacity constraint, I’ve learned to compartmentalize the content in shorter chunks. This is a change of mindset for me…

    b) The pluses: size could fit into my pants’ pocket so I dont stand out as tourist; I also use the SD1 for still pictures and ended up didnt use my digital SLR at all; The stills printed-out OK but not-HD quality when viewed; the built-in lens cap and the recess lens work great in dusty and or rain situations; operating firmware is intuitive; 2 lux is amazing for indoor and low light situations eg. inside the Panthenon without flash;

    c) The minuses: Screen panel has to be in opened position when access component out/power outlets during playback; There is no MUTE while playback thus trying to review discretedly in quite areas is not possible eg. on a plane; There is no INSERT function to compartmentalize unwanted sections for deletion; There is delay in PAUSE thus the fadeout has few more seconds than needed/wanted;

    Overall, this toy is probably one of the most-fun toys I’ve purchased. Eventhough there were reservation, I’m now satisfy, the PQ is so great that it overides all other insufficiencies. I re-live my experiences in Roma, Florenze, Milano, Venezia, Pisa, Zurich… and smile everytime I watch those moments in HD.

    Rating: 5 / 5

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