Sony said it has created the world's smallest and lightest high-definition (HD) consumer camcorder with full HD resolution based on HDV 1080i. The HDR-HC1 Handycam(R) camcorder weights about 1-1/2 pounds and is said to deliver high-definition picture quality and lighting detail on both video and digital still images. The unit will be available in July.
Sony said the camcorder's introduction is in response to the growing demand for HDTV. "As HDTV becomes more pervasive in American households, it is a natural progression to want to create personal content in high definition," said Linda Vuolo, director for camcorder products at Sony Electronics. "This introduction is a key step in bringing high-definition video recording to a broad cross-section of consumers. For about $2,000, there is now an easy-to-use solution."
The new model features Sony's CMOS imaging sensor technology, which the manufacturers says was designed to deliver faster image processing speeds for richer colors, more vivid detail, and significantly less glare from reflected light. The unit also packs in a Carl Zeiss (R) Vario-Sonnar(R) T lens to further enhance image clarity and richness, even when shooting in low light. Sony said the combination of the unit's CMOS imaging sensor and the company's Enhanced Imaging Processor technology enables it to capture moving and still images with smoother movements and clearer pictures.
These combined technologies are said to also play a key role in the unit's compact body design. Because the CMOS sensor consumes less power, the camcorder can be powered with a smaller battery. Sony also designed a circuitry board layout that conforms to the size of the lens and body.
"We've creatively merged technology and design to achieve the ultimate in miniaturization for this product," Ms. Vuolo noted. "The result is not just an elegant-looking product, but also a full-featured HD camcorder that is easy to handle and enjoy."
For quick framing and image sharing, the camcorder has a 2.7-in wide hybrid, touch-panel LCD screen to access menu options. Users can switch between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios (in DV mode) to see exactly how content will be viewed on television. Other features include fully automatic controls, a built-in microphone for audio quality, an intelligent pop-up flash, and Super SteadyShot(R) image stabilization.
The camcorder also captures 2.8-megapixel digital still images, which can be stored directly on Memory Stick PRO Duo(TM) media for transfer to PCs and other devices. Sony says it is one of few camcorders that allows users to record high-definition video and take a 1-megapixel digital still image at the same time.
The HDR-HC1 offers a full complement of manual controls, including a 10X optical and 120X digital zoom, zoom ring, zebra pattern, and spot focus. White balance, shutter speed, and focus can all be adjusted manually.
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