Sony intros flash-based HD camcorder

The CX12 delivers the SR11's features, recording to flash memory instead of a hard disk.

Sony Handycam HDR-CX12
Sony Handycam HDR-CX12 Sony Electronics

As it inevitably had to do, Sony today announced the flash-memory version of its HDR-SR11 hard-disk-based HD camcorder, replacing the older CX7. A tad smaller than the CX7 by one or two tenths of an inch in every dimension, it uses the same 12x zoom lens and 5.6-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensor that drives the SR11 (and its line mates, the SR10 and SR12). Since it's smaller than the SR models, it uses the same 2.7-inch LCD as its predecessor.

Going head-to-head with Canon's HF10, the HF10 still looks like a slightly better deal based on specs alone. It's very similar--both are SD-based models which produce 1920x1080 AVCHD video from approximately 1/3-inch sensors, though the HF10's is lower 3.3-megapixel resolution, and sport 12x zoom lenses. But for the same $900 Sony plans to charge for the CX12, Canon includes 16GB built-in memory for the HF10 while Sony plans to bundle a smaller 4GB Memory Stick Duo Pro Mark2. The actual street price may be cheaper, of course.

According to Sony, the CX12 will be able to record 25 minutes of highest-quality HD video (16 megabits per second) on the 4GB card. Unfortunately, it will still come with the inadequate (and horribly named) Picture Motion Browser software rather than a real video-editing application, like Sony's own Vegas Video Movie Studio. You can have a party trying to find your own real editing application for the AVCHD files .

Though it doesn't sound like there's much new in its video capabilities, Sony has added its Smile Shutter technology, which pauses shooting until it detects the appropriate rictus, and child- and adult-prioritization from its Cyber-shot models, to the camcorder's still photo features.

Sony expects to start preorders on June 20 and to ship the camcorder in the beginning of August for $900.

About the author

Lori Grunin is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. She's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 1988.


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