Panasonic HDC-SDT750 review

Full review: The world's first consumer 3D camcorder

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Panasonic's debut consumer 3D camcorder is far more than a gimmick

It has been less than six months since the first 3D TVs entered our homes and just a year since we first marvelled at what 3D effects James Cameron could create with two video cameras attached to a pole, therefore it’s impressive that Panasonic has already released the world’s first 3D camcorder for consumers. Now it’s time for you to make your own 3D blockbuster.

First and foremost the Panasonic HDC-SDT750 is an excellent 2D camera. At its heart is a 3MOS system that provides 1080p visuals and does a decent job of ridding footage of any image noise. 2D footage is stunning and the optical image stabiliser makes sure that even the shakiest of hands produce smooth results, with crisp, clear colours.

As good as the full-HD 2D visuals are though, it’s the HDC-SDT750’s 3D credentials that set it apart. Before you start shooting 3D home movies you must first attach the 3D conversion lens. It almost doubles the overall size of the camcorder and is a real struggle to attach, adding 215g to the overall weight.

Calibration is another fiddly process, and one you need to do every time you remove the lens. Panasonic has tried to make it as easy as possible, using the lens hood as a marker for the 3D calibration you turn three dials built into the lens to line up the 3D image horizontally and vertically. However, once you attach the lens hood the dials are difficult to access. Some deft manoeuvring and you’ll eventually get the hang of it.

Shooting 3D footage is easy, except the controls are limited. You can’t use the 12x optical zoom and manual controls are kept to an absolute minimum. The results, however, are fantastic, with the dual lenses capturing two 950x540i images which are combined to create an HD image. Apart from some minor cross-talk around the edges the effect is top-quality. Couple this with the 5.1 channel surround sound and you’ll have a home movie that everyone will want to watch.

Transferring your 3D footage to a TV – it needs to be a 3D TV, obviously – is simple and easy, using an HDMI cable.

The HDC-SDT750 has managed to make 3D filming accessible to everyone. It isn’t cheap, but it’s comparable to rival 2D models and its 2D performance is outstanding. The lens is bulky and set-up fiddly, but the results are first class. You have to buy a 3D TV, but you wanted one anyway, didn’t you?

The Panasonic HDC-SDT750 is out now, find out more from Panasonic

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SPECIFICATIONS
Sensor: 1/4.1-type MOS x 3
Lens: 12x optical zoom, 3.45-41.4mm
Screen (size and res): 3-inch, 230,400 dots.
Viewfinder (type): LCD
Stabilsation (type): Optical
Video: 1080p (2D), 1080i (3D)
Storage (card and internal): SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card
Connections: High Speed USB 2.0, AV multi, headphone jack
Weight/size: 66 x 69 x 138mm, 375g (without battery)

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