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Sony Handycam DCR-SR45 does entry-level far

Rundown of features for Sony's inexpensive HDD/Memory Stick camcorder

Sony Electronics, Inc.

Announced back in January, Sony's Handycam DCR-SR45 standard-def camcorder is the entry point for the company's hard disk drive-based (HDD) camcorders. As I mentioned Friday we're wrapping up our review of the DCR-SR45, but I wanted to give you a quick rundown of what to expect from this compact camcorder in case you're in the process of picking out a camcorder with a street price around $400 (far be it for me to hold up your summertime video recording).

So far, what I like about this camcorder is its size (3x3x4.4 inches), weight (12.3 oz), easy operation thanks in part to a responsive 2.7-inch touchscreen LCD, and the 40x optical zoom. The fact that it gives you two options for storage--either to the built-in 30GB hard drive or to the Memory Stick PRO Duo cards up to 8GB--is almost secondary, despite it being Sony's main selling point.

Video quality, however, seems almost tertiary. That's being a little too hard on it though, considering the price point and its SD MPEG-2 format. The 0.125-inch Advanced HAD (Hole Accumulation Diode) CCD imager, combined with the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, performs better than most at this level; and again, the DCR-SR45 has other things going for it that make it worthy of checking out.

If you're still on the fence, a full review from us is on the way.