Last year Sony introduced the, a pocket-sized camcorder that captures video at up to 640x480-pixels and 30 frames per second. Now, they've introduced a high-end version called the Handycam HDR-TG1 that can capture full 1920x1080-pixel high-definition video in AVCHD format, which it records onto MemoryStick Pro Duo flash memory cards. Its $900 price tag left my jaw on the floor, but there are some nifty features included for a camcorder this size and it does include a 4GB Pro Duo Mark2 memory card in that price.
Though it measures 1.3 x 4.7 x 2.5 inches, the camcorder includes a 10x optical zoom lens and uses a 2-megapixel ClearVid CMOS Exmor sensor to capture images. Sony interpolates the stills up to 4MP. The company includes its BIONZ processing engine to crunch the bits and to power noise reduction and dynamic range optimization. Sony says that the camera can record sound in Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround, though the amount of channel separation you'll realistically get from any built-in camcorder microphone can't even remotely match a cinematic surround sound experience. It is a zoom mic, though, so that's definitely a plus. The TG1 also includes face detection, so it can find up to 8 faces in a scene and adjust focus, exposure, and color controls based on those faces. In still mode, face detection can also automatically adjust flash output. Video geeks might want to note that the HDR-TG1 doesn't do progressive-scan recording, only interlaced.
Sony will begin shipping the Handycam HDR-TG1 in May. They're also going to offer a custom-fit case for $50 and an optional travel kit, which will cost $100 and includes an extra battery, travel charger, and a pouch to hold it all.