LAS VEGAS--Sony rolled out three new prosumer/mainstream flash-based AVCHD camcorders here at the show. The top-of-the-line Handycam HDR-CX700V ($1,300) and midrange CX560V ($1,100) incorporate new 16:9 aspect Exmor R CMOS sensors--albeit at different resolutions--and increase the top recording bitrate to 24 megabits per second. As the "V" indicates, they also offer geotagging. Other shared features include a 3-inch LCD touch screen and a 10X zoom lens, plus 5.1-surround audio using the new enhanced mic and speaker system. And in a welcome design update, they have built-in USB cables in addition to mic and … Read more
Sony takes the Noah's Ark approach in its prosumer 3D camcorder, the Handycam HDR-TD10. There's two of everything: two lenses (naturally), two Exmor R sensors, and two image processors.
Though it lacks the ability to remove the dual lens (like Panasonic's approach), you can still opt to shoot in 2D, using only the left lens, and the unit can play back 3D content in 2D by using only the left-side video.
It can do this because Sony uses a proprietary approach called "frame packing." Rather than save a single file with side-by-side left/right frames--which … Read more
LAS VEGAS--It looks like Samsung is creating a nice little family of minicamcorders. The HMX-P300 and HMX-P100 are pretty much higher- and lower-end versions of the same model, but the P100 isn't so crippled that it's not worth checking out.
The P100 has a backside-illuminated 5-megapixel CMOS sensor for better low-light recording, a fixed focal length f2.2 lens, and a 2.3-inch LCD with an 80-degree viewing angle so you have more shooting and viewing flexibility.
The P300 gets a backside-illuminated 8-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 3x f2.8 zoom lens, and a 3-inch touch screen.
Both can … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Samsung's HMX-H300 series looks like a ho-hum update to its H200 models of 2010--but that's in part because Samsung's so stingy with its specs that it's hard to tell what's going on. The series consists of four models--the H300 ($399), H303 ($449), H304 ($499), and H305 ($599)--with the H305 incorporating 32GB of memory. I'll guess that the models differ by amount of memory, starting at 0GB and increasing in price as their predecessors do, but the company hasn't bothered to state what the differences are.
As for "improvements" over … Read more
LAS VEGAS--The Samsung SMX-F50 is the company's entry-level ultracompact standard-definition camcorder for 2011. As such, it doesn't do a whole lot beyond capturing 720x480-pixel-resolution video to SD memory cards.
Key features include a 52x optical zoom lens; the capability to pause while recording, so there's less of a need to join individual clips; and something called Smart Background Music. If you choose to add background music to a movie, the Smart BGM feature automatically lowers the music volume when speech is detected so it doesn't drown out what's being said.
If you want or need … Read more
LAS VEGAS--There's only so much you can do with the design of a point-and-shoot camera, so Casio deserves credit for literally breaking out of the box with the Tryx.
At first glance, it looks like an ultracompact camera/minicamcorder with a bit of flair. Then you flip out the high-resolution 3-inch touch-screen LCD and, well, it's no longer your typical pocket camera. The display can pivot through its frame a full 360 degrees while the screen itself can rotate 270 degrees. And with its built-in orientation sensor you can hold the Tryx in your left or right hand … Read more
LAS VEGAS--CES is usually so crazy that I don't bother doing my full-blown treatment, with tables, when covering the new products. But I had so much trouble trying to spot the differences between last year's and this year's lineups for Panasonic's camcorders that I built tables for my own sanity. And confirmed that there's not a lot different between the new and the old.
One major change is in the top-end TM900/HS900 models, which … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Along with the announcement of a new "prosumer" camcorder, the Vixia HF G10, Canon announced a version of the product targeted at professionals. The XA10 seems to be identical to the G10, but comes with a detachable handle that includes dual XLR inputs, audio switches, an infrared light, tally lamp, removable microphone holder, zoom and record switches, and an accessory shoe (though the G10 has a shoe, it looks like the handle attaches to it, so the handle gives you another shoe).
It's not clear whether at some point you'll be able to upgrade the … Read more
I don't normally cover accessory announcements for products that only work with a single manufacturer, but Canon's WM-V1 microphone sounds kind of neat. Because it doesn't require an accessory shoe it's suitable for use with the compact models that don't have one, which is generally the group that needs better sound the most. It mounts on the camera strap and can record sound up to 164 feet. You'll be able to find it in May for the steepish price of $250.
This year's entry-level Canon camcorders incorporate a higher resolution sensor than last year's--3.28 megapixels--for an effective video resolution of 2.07 megapixels. Canon is actually using enough pixels this go round to hopefully capture decent video. As long as you're not using the Dynamic IS setting. Sigh. The Vixia HF R21, R20, and R200 also seem to be priced a little lower than they're predecessors were at their launch: $499.99, $399.99, and $379.99, respectively for 32GB, 8GB, and 0GB configurations.
The lens remains a 20x optical zoom, and the LCD display size … Read more