Sony announces pro HD camcorder, HVR-V1U

Sony announces pro HD camcorder, HVR-V1U

As has become Sony tradition, the company follows up a consumer camcorder announcement with a pro version of the same model. In this case, the Sony HVR-V1U builds on the $3,500 HDR-FX7. It uses the same trio of 1/4-inch, 1-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensors and 20X zoom lens, housed in a similar chassis about the size of the VX2100.

The biggest feature you pay for with the extra $1,300--the V1U will run $4,800 when it ships in December--is progressive-scan support. That's for 1080 24p recording, however, not 720p or 1080p; like the FX7, the V1U records HDV 1080i footage.

The V1U also offers far more extensive audio controls, plus two XLR inputs and a bundled shotgun microphone. It also allows you to save custom settings to a Memory Stick for transfer to another camcorder; the FX7 can save them only to internal memory.

At its price, the V1U faces some interesting competition: the forthcoming, less expensive Canon XH A1 and the slightly more expensive but 1080p-capable Panasonic Panasonic AG-HVX200. Sony also plans to ship the HVR-DR60, an optional, $1,800 60GB add-on for recording directly to a hard disk.