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Sony DCR SR100: hard man of camcorders

We've seen hard-disk camcorders before, but now Sony are taking the technology seriously this may mean the end of tape forever. Will we one day gaze back on MiniDV tapes in the way we look back on vinyl now?

We fondled this in the flesh at CES in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, and everything about the DCR-SR100 screamed "victory!" Given our experiences with hard-drive-based camcorders, the true success of the SR100 will depend on how easy Sony has made it to edit footage. Efforts from other maufacturers, like JVC's GZ-MC500,  have been blighted by obsfucated editing software and proprietry file formats.

Expected to retail at around £600, the DCR-SR100 records to a 30GB internal hard drive and has a generous 69mm (2.7-inch) screen. Uniquely, the camcorder includes a motion sensor that parks the hard-drive heads when sudden motion is detected -- making it extremely unlikely that the drive heads will scratch the platters if the camcorder is dropped. A Carl Zeiss lens feeds light to a single 3-megapixel CCD, and the company claims that the camcorder is capable of 7 hours of high-quality recording, or 21 hours at medium quality.

Expect to see the DCR-SR100 launched in the UK around March this year. It'll be interesting to see where Sony have taken this emerging format, and whether they've nailed the editing problems of previous generations. Look out for a full review soon. -CS

Update: A full review of the Sony Handycam DCR-SR100 is now available in our Reviews channel.