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Samsung updates HD camcorders with backside-illuminated CMOS

For 2010, Samsung updates its midrange H100 series with the significantly different H200 series, and rolls out backside-illuminated sensors throughout its HD products.

LAS VEGAS--The highlight of Samsung's 2010 midrange HD camcorder announcement is the adoption of backside-illuminated CMOS sensors, one of the big trends in camcorders this year. The company bumps its H100 series up to H200 with four completely overhauled models at as-yet unspecified prices.

The members of the lineup, all of which have SDHC slots, differ only by internal memory capacity: HMX-H200 (none), HMX-203 (8GB), HMX-H204 (16GB), and HMX-H205 (32GB). (Samsung makes a big deal of saying it uses SSD, but flash by any other name will still record as sweet. In other words, it's meaningless to everyone but Samsung, which makes SSD.) While the new sensor technology offers potential for better low-light video and the sensor itself is also a tiny bit larger, the the higher resolution may offset potential quality gains: it's a 1/4.1-inch 3.3-megapixel version compared with the older 1/4.5-inch 2.2-megapixel one.

The lens also goes from a 10x zoom to 20x zoom, starting at a relatively wide angle for a camcorder--37mm equivalent--and still optically stabilized. Samsung eschews the licensing fun of AVCHD in favor of more generic H.264 MPEG-4 recording. Other relevancies include a 2.7-inch touch-screen LCD and a new, interesting-sounding 720p time-lapse recording mode.

The H series models are slated to ship in March.