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Zoom Q3 camcorder puts emphasis on audio

The Zoom Q3 portable video camera distinguishes itself from the competition with high-end stereo microphones.

Photo of the Zoom Q3 handy video camera.
The Zoom Q3 puts a high-end audio twist on a familiar video camera design. Zoom

It used to be all about getting your band's music on the radio, but these days, it's all about YouTube. Producing the ultimate viral music video isn't easy, though. Video cameras like the Flip Mino HD, RCA Small Wonder, and Creative Vado have lowered the cost of entry when it comes to recording high-quality video, but the built-in mics leave plenty to be desired.

To answer the call for a musician-friendly video recorder, the folks at Zoom have unveiled the Zoom Q3--a $249 handheld camcorder with a built-in pair of high-quality stereo condenser mics. The Q3 can record at audio resolutions up to 24-bit/48kHz WAV (or 320Kbps MP3) using a selectable X/Y microphone pattern that can focus on individual instruments or capture the sound of the whole room.

The Q3's video resolution is set at a YouTube-friendly 640x480 resolution at 30fps, falling short of the HD image quality of the latest Flip cams. Other features include a 2.4-inch screen, a built-in USB cable, and support for SDHC memory cards (up to 32GB). Power is supplied by two AA batteries, offering up two hours of recording.

The Zoom Q3 is expected to ship in September of 2009.