Panasonic to challenge Nikon with HD video on still camera

Panasonic is developing a version of its Lumix G1 digital still camera with the ability to record high-definition video with auto focus.

The camera will challenge Nikon's recently launched D90, which goes on sale next week in Japan. The D90 is the first digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera with the ability to record high-definition video, but its auto-focus doesn't operate in video mode, only in still mode .

Panasonic's G1 doesn't offer high-definition video, but with a future model Panasonic will attempt to top the D90 by delivering high-defintion video with auto-focus.

A prototype of that future model was shown at a Tokyo news conference held to launch the G1. The prototype was displayed under glass so it's not clear if it was a working model. It looked identical to the G1 with the exception of a red "HD" inscription on the body to the left side of the lens. It also didn't display a model name.

The only indication of a launch date was "spring 2009" for Japan.

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