Has Panasonic just killed the camcorder? PMA today saw the launch of the DMC-GH1 Micro Four Thirds SLR that combines 12MP still photography with Full HD (1080/24p) movie recording and stereo sound.

The new digital SLR ships with a 14-140mm (28-280mm equivalent) 10x interchangeable zoom lens that supports the continuous autofocusing, near-silent operation and 'seamless' aperture adjustment that Panasonic considers 'indispensable for movie recording'.

The f/4-5.8 kit lens also features Panasonic's Mega OIS optical image stabilising system and AF tracking for moving subjects.

High speed hybrid

Although it's released under the Lumix photography sub-brand, Panasonic is actually calling the DMC-GH1 its first 'Creative HD Hybrid'.

The camera can capture either Full HD (1080/24p) or smooth 720-pixel clips at 60p, in AVC-HD format - a better spec than some of Panasonic's dedicated camcorders. A separate button on the back lets you instantly start recording movies while shooting photos.

The GH1 is based around a newly developed 12.1-megapixel high-speed Live MOS sensor and the Venus Engine HD image processor, which features two CPUs for video processing and a Supersonic Wave Filter to prevent dust incursion.

Other features include a 1,440,000-dot, 60fps Live View finder (not as good as an optical finder but a key part of the Micro Four Thirds system), a 3-inch LCD, auto scene detection, face detection and intelligent exposure.

More information on price, release date and photos when we get them.