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There are more than 35 million lefthanded Americans, which is roughly 15 percent of the total population, and 19 percent of all the country's people under the age of 25. However, until recently the majority of consumer electronics products, including video camcorders, were geared solely for righthanders.

Not anymore. An article in the latest issue of Video Magazine reveals there are a group of excellent new camcorders on the market that are just as easy for southpaws to use as they are for righties.Leading the pack is Panasonic, which has made 1991 the year of the "Switch Hitter." Seven new Switch Hitter design camcorders were introduced this year, including the $1,099 PV-720, the $999 PV-704, the $999 PV-710 and the $899 PV-700. All are full-sized VHS camcorders that are user-friendly to both left- and righthanded operators.

The major controls of the Switch Hitter camcorders are placed on a central grip beneath the lens, while the electronic viewfinder pivots from left to right to accommodate either eye. And each of the camcorders features a new Slim Width design (they're all approximately 3" wide) with the electronic viewfinder (EVF) placed in the center.

Fuji recently introduced two 8mm camcorders, the $1,250 Fujix-8 F60Wide and the $1,500 Fujix-8 M890. Both feature a Multi-Action Handgrip, making it just as easy to shoot from the left side as from the right.

The dual position Multi-Action Handgrip has a built-in trigger which allows the camera to operate only when the trigger is held down, reducing unintentional recording. The handle also converts into a tripod complete with a remote control sensing device, eliminating the need to use hands.

No question about it . . . helping video consumer lefthanders is definitely a step in the right direction.