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Sony's shoulder-mounted HD model for the cash-strapped pro

The Sony HVR-HD1000U provides commercial videographers a budget single-chip solution.

It may look a little scary to someone who's never held anything bigger than an HC7, but Sony's new HVR-HD1000U shares more in common with that model than the rest of its higher-end brethren. It uses the same single 3-megapixel, 1/2.9-inch ClearVid CMOS sensor and records 1080i HDV video. Even its price, slated to be $1,900 when it ships in December, fits right into the affluent consumer market segment. If that seems a bit steep, remember that its step-up sibling, the 3-chip HVR-V1U, will run you a minimum of $3,500.

Sony HVR-HD1000U
Even on the pro models Sony plays specball. Note the 6-megapixel claim--with Still Image Recording in the fine print--underneath the declaration of CMOS. Sony Electronics

Though it's unclear as to whether it uses the same lens as the HC7, the HD1000U nevertheless uses Zeiss T*-coated optics in its 10X zoom. A multipurpose ring on the barrel allows you to manually focus or zoom, as well as adjust shutter speed, iris or white balance. That, plus the shoulder mount and simultaneously visible eye-level viewfinder and LCD are the most obvious attractions for the commercial videographer.