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Sony Hangs Tight with Mini DV

Sony has intorduced three new Mini DV camcorders at CES 2007

Sony's new Handycam DCR-SR48

Despite the emergence of DVD, hard-drive, and flash-based camcorders, Mini DV models still sell like hotcakes. That probably has to do with the fact that they offer so much for the money. Sony announced three new Mini DV camcorders at CES this year: the DCR-HC28, DCR- HC38, and DCR- HC48.

The Handycam DCR-HC28 has a 680,000-pixel sensor, 20x optical zoom lens, 2.5-inch, 123,000-pixel touchscreen LCD, and a 123,000-pixel viewfinder. As the entry-level model in the line, it doesn't sport many of the fancy features it's pricier siblings offer, but it does include Sony's Super Steady Shot digital image stabilization, and is compatible with Sony's high capacity H-type batteries, as well as the normal P-type batteries, one of which ships with the unit. Sony plans to ship the DCR- HC28 in February. It's expected to sell for about $280.

Sony's Handycam DCR-SR38

Stepping up to the Handycam DCR-SR38 gets you a 40x optical zoom lens, a built-in user guide that explain certain functions right on the LCD, the larger capacity H-type battery, and a built-in, manually operated lens cover. The SR38 also adds Sony's ever-popular NightShot plus monochrome low-light shooting mode. The imaging sensor, LCD, and viewfinder are the same as the ones found in the HC28. The DCR-HC38 should hit stores in February with a price of about $330.

Moving on up to the Handycam DCR-SR48, Sony moves to a 1.1 megapixel sensor, 25x optical zoom lens, 123,000-pixel widescreen viewfinder, 2.7-inch widescreen, touchscreen LCD, and includes a Handycam docking station with the camcorder. Also, unlike it's HC siblings, the HC48 has a Memory Stick Duo slot, so you can store still images (up to 1152x864-pixels) to a card. The other two Mini DV models can't capture still images. Night shooters will appreciate the HC48's Super NightShot Plus Infrared System, which Sony says will capture "natural looking" video instead of the monochrome look it's regular NightShot Plus provides. Sony plans to ship the DCR-HC48 in February with a price of about $400.

Fans of the Handycam DCR-SR96 rejoice! Sony has decided to keep that camcorder, complete with its 3 megapixel CCD, 10x optical zoom, and 2.7-inch touchscreen LCD, in the line. That means the global consumer electronics behemoth will have a total of four MiniDV camcorders by the time the shortest month of 2007 comes to a close.