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Video Cameras

Sony Handycam DCR-PC55

Sony is aiming squarely at the hip youth market with its stylish new Handycam, the DCR-PC55.

Upside
Sony's DCR-PC55 MiniDV Handycam is another one for the fashionistas, boasting a clean design and four colours to choose from (red, white, black and silver). With the Handycam closed, there's practically no clutter on the sides of the unit, with most of the control buttons located on the top rear. This makes for an extremely sleek looking device which should mostly appeal to Sony's stated target market for the PC55 (20-30 year olds).

The PC55 has a large three inch colour LCD screen, which can be swiveled completely around and snapped back into place. The large screen certainly makes capturing video and stills easy, and it also acts as a touchscreen to control the camera. In fact, almost all of the Handycam's functions can be controlled through the touchscreen, which makes it handy for those whose fingers may be too big for the small controls located under the LCD panel. Another design plus is that the area beneath the LCD screen, which is usually covered in buttons in similarly shaped camcorders, is button free. This means left handers can easily grip the PC55 without their palms pushing on any controls.

With such a large screen, Sony has opted to utilise it not only as a viewfinder but as a display device. The PC55 has a built-in slide show function, which offers you continuous playback of your recorded still images.

As with all of the new Sony Handycams, the PC55 sports a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens. Other features include 800k pixel resolution, 10x optical zoom (120x digital), an image stabilisation system that includes two built-in sensors, and the ability to take Memory Stick Duo cards. The PC55 is also PictBridge compatible, and can be connected directly to a television for impromptu slide shows.

Downside
We won't know for sure until we get it for a full test, but we're guessing that the PC55's big and bright LCD screen will be a power chewer, and could curtail your shooting times. Sony says that with the screen's backlight off, the PC55 can continuously record for up to 110 minutes on a fully charged battery (125 minutes for playback).

Overall
The DCR-PC55 Handycam scores high on looks, and sports enough features to make its $1499 price tag seemingly worthwhile (especially for those willing to pay a price premium for design). CNET.com.au will bring you a full review soon and hand down the final verdict on this stylish unit.

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