Posts tagged Panasonic
If Panasonic can build an exercise horse then surely a robot that washes your hair should come as no surprise. Imagine being lifted from your robotic bed by a plush care-assist robot and placed into a chair for an automatic shampoo and scalp massage. That is the future of care for the elderly and sick in Japan, or the rich and lazy everywhere else. Panasonic’s hair-washing robot scans each human head three-dimensionally to apply just the right amount of pressure during the shampoo, massage, and rinse phases. It recognizes repeat customers and then applies that person’s preferred massage course using its human-like sixteen “fingers.” Each arm contains a trio of motors to power swing, press, and massage motions… or to snap your spinal column should you decide to sass.
The splicing of video and stills cameras continues unabated today, as Panasonic has just outed a serious-looking piece of photographic hardware. The AF105 (AF100 in Europe) is the world’s first camcorder to offer a Four Thirds-sized sensor and provides 1080/60i or 1080/30p AVCHD video recording skills, while matching up to the growing selection of glassware for the company’s Micro Four Thirds mount. SDHC and SDXC storage cards are accepted and there’s a note that “cinema” lenses can also be fitted on via an extra adapter. The price is set at ¥837,900 (about $9,960) and launch is expected this December.
And here it is, Panasonic’s prototype G-series micro-four-thirds shooter with new interchangeable 3D lens. We caught the pair hanging out at IFA with nary a soul around to take notice. Too bad for them, good for you if you’ve made the jump to a panny MFT as the lens will ultimately be compatible with your Lumix G micro system… probably — unfortunately, Panasonic isn’t saying which cams will be eligible for the software update. From the sound of it, the whole kit will get official in just a few week at Photokina with a new G-series body playing host to the new 3D lens. Here in Berlin, however, we’ve got a G2 body with an updated 3D image processing system doing the dirty work. Nevertheless, it was fully functional and produced a reasonable 3D image with plenty of pop that was ready to view on a brand new Panasonic 3D television. Come on, a 3D television is nothing without 3D content. Sneaky Panasonic, sneaky.
THREEE DEEE. Sorry, just had to get that out of our system. We just played with Panasonic’s HDC-SDT750 THREEE DEEE, er, 3D camcorder, and it certainly works as billed. The lens is designed for close-up depth perception in the 3 to 15 foot range, and doesn’t have any zoom capability. Luckily, it isn’t too hard to pop the screw-on lens off, giving yourself a regular zoomtastic 2D camcorder. When you do pop the 3D lens back on there’s a quick set of setup menus, which let you adjust the dual lenses within the 3D add-on with a few knobs hidden under a door on top of the assembly.
We didn’t get to do any free roaming with the camera, but that’s none too thrilling anyway: your preview image is a slightly fuzzy 2D on the built-in LCD. What we did do was watch the camera feed its 3D capture live to a Panny 3D TV (in one of the hilarious outfits provide for us by Panasonic, as pictured above), and while the 3D effect is certainly for-reals and non-janky, the actual image quality takes an obvious hit from the fact that a 1080p sensor is being cut in half to capture the dual images. It almost took us back to the early days of HD cameras, or your friendly neighborhood “HD” webcam, where the output resolution is clearly higher than the sensor is physically capturing. Similarly, we doubt the early adoption of cameras like this is going to be dramatic at first, and even after the tech is perfect we’re unsure how big of a consumer need there is for something like this, but with easy options like Panasonic’s own Micro Four Thirds 3D lens, the barriers to adoption are quickly disappearing. Er, we merely mean to say, THREEE DEEE.
Never mind the extensive leaks, Panasonic, you’ve got a right to be proud about the HDC-SDT750. After crowing about its end-to-end 3D experience, Panasonic has finally made its HDC-SDT750 camcorder official, which looks like it will be the first of its kind to hit the market. Sure, this is just a baby step: the 3D mode is enabled by snapping on an included 3D conversion lens that splits the image in twain to be recorded as right and left images by the standard 1080p sensor. That means each side will only be 960 x 1080, so you can’t quite shoot Avatar in your backyard just yet, but it should look fine on standard 3D televisions. Unfortunately, you can’t do much more with the 3D video right now other than pump it out over HDMI straight from the camera — at least with the 3D stills that you can snap you can load them onto an SD card and play them off of AVCHD-compatible Blu-ray players. Still, these are exciting times to be alive, and you can always shoot in 2D with the no-doubt great 3MOS camcorder underneath (which seems to be very similar to the HDC-HS700) while you wait for the rest of the planet to catch up. The SDT750 will be out in October for a hefty $1,399 asking price. PR is after the break.
Another entrant has entered the Micro Four Thirds ring, and it’s Panasonic delivering the Lumix DMC-G2 — a new shooter with similar still performance but, this time, some rather nice enhancements, the most major being a three-inch articulating touchscreen. You can control some aspects of the camera with a touch, perhaps most useful being tap-to-focus augmented by the camera keeping focus on whatever you tapped on, even if it moves around. But, a full suite of physical buttons and dials still await your fingers, enabling you to tweak settings without fiddling with menus. The 720p video recording now supports AVCHD, giving your SDHC or SDXC memory card a break, and there’s an input for an optional stereo mic. Ultimately still performance here is said to be identical to Panasonic’s more budget-minded DMC-G10, which clocks in $200 cheaper than the G2′s MSRP of $799, but lacks 720p video and the fancy touchscreen. Worth the extra cost? That depends on how deep your pockets are.
Leave it to Panasonic to yet again stake claim on a “world’s” achievement that generally isn’t on our radar. The company is again claiming it offers the world’s lightest HD camcorder, this time the HDC-TM35, sporting 1080i recording and hybrid image stabilization that allows you to “vigorously shake the rock” according to the infallibly auto-translated press release. It weighs just 185g, about the same as a BlackBerry Storm2 and 42 grams lighter than it’s predecessor, the HDC-TM30. According to that release, the cam intended for a female audience, who hopefully like white, violet, gold, or gray (shown after the break). Storage is to SDXC and videos are recorded in AVCHD format, which should give you plenty of room on that card to keep on filming until your arm gets tired. Panasonic isn’t announcing an official price, but it’ll be hitting Japanese boutiques on July 1.
We can see a time in the future, the very near future, where reviews of 3D HDTVs will lose their novelty. But, for now, they’re still rare enough to warrant some attention, and so let’s take a look at TechRadar‘s take on Panasonic’s first 3D entry, the Viera TX-P50VT20. It’s a 50-inch, 1080p plasma that excels as an HDTV, delivering great quality images — even with SD content. When it comes to 3D the set similarly shines, supporting all of today’s various modes of delivering multiple perspectives in a way those active-shutter glasses can decipher. Indeed, it was only those glasses themselves that really scored low marks, said to be uncomfortable to wear and, with their tinting, doing some unfortunate things to the color balance. Still, if you absolutely must have 3D right now, this looks like the best way to do it… for the moment.