CES 2008: Sony Kicks Off CES with New Additions and Innovations


16 New Handycam Camcorders!

16 New Handycam Camcorders to Whet the Appetite of the Digital Director

Sony announced 16 new Handycam camcorders (6 Full HD models) that included a model with a built-in 120GB hard disk drive. Some of these new camcorders boast the use of the BIONZ processing technology made famous by the company's Alpha DSLR camera, while others, now known as Hybrid models, have more than one format to record videos such as to a 3-inch DVD disc, hard disk drive or Memory Stick. A new series, known as the Hybrid Plus models (UX20 and DVD810) have an additional internal 8GB memory (allowing you to record up to an hour of video in 1920HD mode).

Here's a quick categorization of new technologies so that you have a better understanding of where exactly the 16 models sit in:

 

  • Models with BIONZ processing technology (HDR-SR12, SR10, UX20, UX10)
  • Models with Full 1920 x 1080 resolution AVCHD video recording (HDR-SR12, UX10, SR-11, SR10, UX20, UX10).
  • Models with Face Detection technology for both video and photo. This new technology identifies up to eight faces and corrects focus, exposure, color control and when photos are taken, flash control as well (HDR-SR12, UX10, SR220 40GB, DVD910)
  • Models with more than two separate media support, which includes an internal 8GB memory on top of a Memory Stick slot and DVD Disc drive - Hybrid Plus models (HDR-UX20, DVD810)


The 16 new models can be separated into four different categories: Hard Disk Based (HDR-SR12 120GB, SR11 60GB, SR11 40GB, SR220 40GB, SR85 60GB, SR65 40GB, SR45 30GB), 3-inch DVD disc-based (HDR-UX20, UX10, DCR-DVD910, DVD810, DVD710, DVD610), HDV tape-based (HC9) and Mini DV-based (DCR-HC62 and HC52). Do note however that only 6 of these models are Full HD AVCHD-based.

 The HDR-SR12 leads the Hard Disk Drive-based HD Handycam series with a built-in 120GB hard drive with Full HD video recording and Face Detection function. It also supports simultaneous dual record mode (movie and 7.6-megapixel photos) with a 3.2-inch touch panel Xtra Fine LCD (921K) screen and the now-popular Super SteadyShot. US release expected in March'08 at US$1400.

 The HDR-UX20 is one half of the two Hybrid Plus models announced at CES 2008. This version boasts three separate media options including the 8GB internal memory, Memory Stick and 3-inch DVD disc. It also comes with Face Detection technology, 4-megapixel photo capture with a 2-megapixel Sony ClearVid CMOS sensor. US release expected in March'08 for about US$1000.

 The HDR-HC9 HDV High-Definition camcorder makes a comeback for the HC series with this model that boasts 6-megapixel photo captures with a 3-megapixel Sony ClearVid CMOS sensor. It comes with new manual functions found in professional models, such as spot meter, focus, peaking, center marker, color bar and focus (infinity). Expected US release in February'08 at US$1,100.

 The DVD810 is the second Hybrid Plus model and it offers more than five hours of video recording in LP mode on its 8GB internal memory. It has a 1-megapixel CCD imager for video and 1-megapixel photos. Expected US release in February for about US$480.

 The DRC-HC62 Mini DV Handycam camcorder is one of two new Mini DV camcorders announced by Sony. The HC62 has a 1-megapixel CCD imager with 1-megapixel photos and comes with a Memory Stick Duo slot as well as a USB 2.0 port. Expected US release in February for about US$300.

Still, the question on everyone's minds is whether Sony originally had plans to launch camcorders with Blu-ray recording capabilities. When asked why Sony decided not to release any HD Handycam camcorders with Blu-ray recording capability, Ihara-san explained that the company feels that releasing a BD-based camcorder is too early compared to say, a HDD- or DVD-based camcorder. "The penetration of BD players in a country like USA is still small compared to DVD-based players. But yes, there will come a point when we will change to a new disc format."