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Christmas Gift Guide
Camcorders

Photos: Hands-on with the Sony HDR-SR11

The Sony HDR-SR11 is a high-definition camcorder with a great tailor. We got our hands on it to find out if this is a case of "never mind the price, feel the quality"

It's clear from the second you get your hands on the Sony HDR-SR11 that this is a camcorder with a good tailor. It's a high-definition, hybrid-memory shooter with spectacular build quality and attention to detail. We put on our best Crave testing suit to see if the clothing maketh the cam.

The SR11 packs a 5.6-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensor, which records 1,920x1,080-pixel video. This is good for stills too, which can be captured with a dedicated photo button. Footage is recorded to a 60GB hard disk drive, or to removable Memory Sticks or Memory Stick Pro Duos. Files can be transferred from hard drive to removable media, so footage can be shunted to your PC or PS3.

Make things bigger with a 12x optical zoom, which can be ramped up to 150x with the digital zoom. This is complemented by a built-in zoom microphone that will keep sound matched to the picture. It also boasts 5.1-channel surround sound audio recording, so you'll get the full benefit of your home cinema setup with your footage.

All of this high-definition, high-quality goodness doesn't come cheap. The Sony HDR-SR11 will set you back £700. We'll give you an idea if it's worth it in our forthcoming review, but in the meantime click the Next Photo link to see what else the SR11 has up its immaculately tailored sleeve. -Rich Trenholm

The SR11 is controlled via a gigantic 81mm (3.2-inch) 16:9 touchscreen. Battery information can be displayed onscreen even when the camcorder is turned off, by hitting the battery info button in the screen well. This is also the home of the Sony Memory Stick slot, and the nightshot button that gives everything Solid Snake-style glowing green night vision.

A second record button and secondary zoom controls sit on the screen's bezel, for lefties. There's also a hinged viewfinder that pops up for waist-level shooting.

The excellent build quality continues with the connections: the SR11 has more doors than an Advent calendar. All of them are neatly hinged or on sliders -- none of that flappy rubber nonsense here. Up top we have a proprietary hot shoe for external lights and microphones, providing power and on/off capability directly from the camcorder. DC in is the little hatch at the bottom, while the sliding door at the back conceals USB and AV socket. The slide-open door at the front hides a microphone input, headphone output and an HDMI connection.

That HDMI socket comes complete with Bravia Sync (CEC) technology. This allows you to hook your high-definition Sony camcorder to your high-definition Sony television, so video and 5.1 channel audio can be zapped across. The camcorder can also be controlled by the TV remote.