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Sony high definition camcorders

Mark Peters
CES report
Monday 7th, January 2008
Posted by: Mark Peters

As the leader in the high-definition camcorder category, Sony is further expanding the industry with the introduction of six new HD models. The HDR-SR12, HDR-SR11 and HDR-SR10 hard drive camcorders, along with the HDR-UX20 and HDR-UX10 DVD models, are all based on AVCHD technology and feature full 1920 x 1080 high-definition recording for outstanding clarity and detail. They deliver the highest HD resolution available without sacrificing recording times. All of them feature a new high-profile encoding system to optimize encoding efficiency. And, because they are based on the industry-standard MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video codec, they are entering the market compatible with many third-party editing suites.

High definition camcorders

Sony AVCHD camcorders
“With a total line of seven models and four recording media options, no other company offers customers more choice,” said Kelly Davis, director of camcorder marketing at Sony Electronics. “And, our new AVCHD models give consumers the utmost functionality to better enjoy creating and viewing their home movies in HD.”

Sony HD camcorders - Face detection
Sharing advanced imaging technologies from Sony’s digital camera line, these AVCHD camcorders incorporate face detection technology for both video and photos. The technology can identify up to eight faces in the camcorder’s LCD frame, and automatically adjusts focus, exposure, color control for natural-looking skin tones, and when photos are taken, flash control. Unlike other Handycam models with face detection, these camcorders allocate more pixels to the detected face during the AVCHD encoding process for the best possible picture when people are the subjects.

Sony high definition camcorder - CMOS sensor
Other technologies include ClearVid CMOS sensors with Exmor-derived technology. This technology utilizes column analog/digital conversion on the sensor itself to minimize picture noise. Together with the high processing speed and noise reduction capability of the Bionz processing engine and dynamic range optimization, the new camcorders produce high-resolution video and photos with natural color reproduction and rich details.

Sony SR12 & SR11 HD camcorders - Digital photo capture
The SR12 and SR11 camcorders mark the introduction of Sony’s 5.7-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensors with 10.2-megapixel photo capture. In dual rec mode for simultaneous video and photo capture, these 10-mega models can take 7.6-megapixel photos up to the capacity of the media card in contrast to five, 3-megapixel photos on the other models with 2.4-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensors. These two units can also pull 2.1-megapixel photos from video footage while in playback mode, and 3-megapixel photos from footage using the bundled Picture Motion Browser software on a compatible PC. Focus and image quality can be checked with much greater accuracy on the 10-mega models with their 3.2-inch, Xtra Fine (16:9) wide LCD screens with a wide viewing angle (160 degrees) and ultra-sharp resolution (921K).

Sony digital camcorders - Memory
The 120GB SR12, 60GB SR11, and 40GB SR10 camcorders provide extremely long continuous recording times (1920 mode) of nearly 15, seven and five hours, respectively. They also feature hybrid movie recording on optional Memory Stick PRO Duo media cards, as well as their built-in hard drives. Recording times on the media card will vary depending on capacity, but nearly two hours of video (1920 mode) can be stored on Sony’s new 16GB media card. Both movies and photos can be transferred from the hard drive to media card in the camcorders without having to use a PC. The UX10 camcorder also features hybrid movie recording on the media card and up to an hour of continuous recording (1440 LP mode) on a DVD +R double-layer disc. Hybrid plus recording on the UX20 camcorder has the added bonus of recording to three separate media, including 8 GB of internal memory, which can hold almost an hour of video (1920 HD mode). Movies can be transferred from the internal memory and media card to the disc, while photos can be transferred from internal memory to the media card. Its dubbing button gains quick access to the menu to dub movies by scene or by date as well as dub separate video files incrementally to either DVD or media card.

High definition camcorders

High definition camcorders - Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar optics
Designed to deliver first-rate video performance with their Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* optics and Super SteadyShot optical image stabilization for smooth video and clearer photos, the AVCHD models also feature enhanced audio capability. All record in Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound and newly integrate built-in zoom microphones that zooms the audio along with the video for clear recordings of subjects. They are also compatible with Sony’s ECM-HW1 Bluetooth microphone for recording sound wirelessly at distances up to 100 feet.

Sony camcorders - USB data transfer
All models allow for quick data transfer via USB from the camcorders to compatible devices like DVD burners and recorders such as Sony’s VRD-MC5 DVDirect recorder. This recorder newly supports 1920x1080 HD video recording as well as video transfer from Memory Stick media (firmware update required). While the DVD-based models record directly to DVD, the high-definition hard disk drive units integrate Sony’s one touch disc burn button for easy DVD creation using a compatible PC.

High definition camcorders

HD video recorder - HDV format
HD video recorded on DVDs can be played back on compatible Blu-ray Disc devices, including Sony’s Blu-ray Disc players and PlayStation 3 video entertainment consoles, as well as on standard DVD drives on compatible PCs with the bundled software. The new HDR-HC9 camcorder is based on the HDV format for recording 1440 x 1080 HD video to standard mini DV tape and offers compatibility with a wide range of video editing suites. It features Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* optics, a 3.2-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensor, and 6.1-megapixel photo capture.

Sony digital high definition camcorder - Price & Availability
This model offers extensive manual controls to meet the demands of advanced videographers, including “focus to infinity;” spot meter and focus to change exposure and focus at the same point at the same time; center mark to use as a guide frame in the LCD screen or viewfinder; and peaking to facilitate better focusing by outlining objects with a color line. White balance, shutter speed and focus can also be adjusted manually. The SR12, SR11, SR10, UX20 and UX10 models will all ship in March for about $1,400, $1,200, $1,000, $1,000 and $800, respectively. The HDR-HC9 camcorder will ship in February for about $1,100.

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