Sony evolves its AVCHD hard-disk camcorders

The HDR-XR200V has significant updates from its predecessor, the S10D; the XV100 not so much.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
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Lori Grunin

Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V
The XR200V offers some interesting enhancements over the SR10D it replaces. Sony Electronics

The annual evolutionary step from the Handycam HDR-S10 and HDR-S10D to the HDR-XR100 and HDR-XR200V is a bigger step for one than the other. While both camcorders are based on the same 1/5-inch 2.3-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensors as their predecessors and have the same 10x and 15x zoom lenses, respectively, the XR200V at least offers a couple of enhancements that might be worth the extra cost over the now-cheaper older models.

Most notably, the XR200V adds GPS for geotagging like its higher end siblings, the XR500V and XR520V. Keep in mind though that video isn't quite ready for geotagging; unlike photos, there's no metadata standard for storing the information with the file. As a result, Sony has to store it in a sidecar file with data that most applications won't know how to parse.

Both models are about 20 percent smaller than last year's models and incorporate the optical stabilizer coverage area enhancements for better compensation while walking, Active Mode, that are found in the XR500 series. It's optional because the larger coverage area results in some resolution degradation around the edges of the images. They also incorporate Sony's latest Smile Shutter and face detection technologies.

The XR200V uses the same 120GB capacity hard disk as the SR10D it replaces; it's slated to ship in February for about $1,000. The SR100 doubles the storage over the SR10 for 80GB. It'll be out in March for about $750.