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Sony's cavalcade of DVD camcorders

Sony's cavalcade of DVD camcorders

As we've come to expect, Sony is updating its entire DVD camcorder line this year, as well as consolidating some of its MiniDV models. On the DVD front, the most exciting news is, unsurprisingly, the highest-end model in its DVD line. The Handycam DCR-DVD505 improves upon the DVD403 with a 2-megapixel CMOS sensor that Sony finagles into taking 4-megapixel stills, a built-in center-channel microphone to complement its Dolby 5.1 audio capabilities, some design tweaks, and a slow-motion video mode. The company plans to ship it in March for $1,100.

In the DVD405, the center channel mic is optional, and it uses a 3-megapixel CCD. It will ship in February for $900. The DVD305 essentially takes the spec spot in the lineup now held by this year's DVD403 and is slated to ship next month for $700.

We don't expect much from the two least-expensive models, the DVD205 and DVD105, because (as we've seen in the past) their 1-megapixel and 680,000-pixel sensors are too low-resolution to deliver the data necessary for decent compressed MPEG-2 footage. But if you want to give 'em a shot, they'll be $600 and $700 when they ship next month.