June 21, 2007 New benchmarks in portability and storage capacity mark the latest High-Definition (HD) camcorder line-up from Sony. The palm-sized CX7K is the world's lightest and most compact HD Handycam to date and the first to record high definition videos to Memory Stick media. The only slightly bulkier hard disk drive based Handycam SR Series now offers an unprecedented 100GB of storage space – enough to record 38 hours of 1080i HD content. Significant improvements have also been made to navigation via the on-board touch-screen including an impressive “Face Index” search feature that uses facial recognition technology to quickly pinpoint images of people within a scene without having to scroll through the entire recording.
The camcorders record in high-definition using AVCHD compression (link) to achieve a combination of high-definition and long recording time. Market analysis suggests that consumers are keen to get their hands on the highest quality available with Sony reports that HD camcorders now make up two thirds of their camcorder market with sales up 542% in this category since Q1 2006.
The omission of a viewfinder and use of Memory Stick as the recording format for the HDRCX7K enables the compact size of 6.9cm x 6.7cm x 13.1cm and weight 450 grams. Despite its diminutive size the unit is comfortable to hold and use - not getting lost in your hand as you might expect.
The CX7K shoot continuous video for six hours and the 4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo provides a recording time of almost 1.5 hours in HD 1080i footage.
Footage can be directly transfer to PLAYSTATION 3 as well as computers and compatible HD TVs. This provides access to fast editing and playback on the television screen where the best use of the high-definition output can be made.
The camcorders also take 6.1 mega-pixel still photos for dedicated shots and dual-recording capability enabled by the ClearVid CMOS sensor and Enhanced Imaging Processor means that 4.6 mega-pixel stills can be taken while recording movies.
Handycam SR series The 100GB Handycam SR8 records 38 hours of 1080i HD content with up to a massive 100GB of storage space available. There are two smaller capacity models in the SR range - the 60GB Handycam SR7 and the 40GB SR5. These capture approximately 23 hours and 15 hours of HD footage respectively.
The SR Series records high definition footage straight to the hard disk drive and includes a video stream buffer so that you don’t miss anything in the event of a knock or fall.
Weighing 530g (excluding battery), the latest SR Series models are 20% smaller and 17% lighter (SR7E/8) than their predecessor, the SR1.
Search and navigation For the first time ever on a camcorder, ‘Face Index’ uses face detection technology to simplify searches for ‘people pictures’. Scenes containing faces appear as thumbnail images that can be selected on the touchscreen, making it simple to find close-ups of friends and loved ones without watching hours of footage. There’s also a ‘Film Roll Index’ that automatically breaks footage down into chapters accessible as thumbnails. The right scene can then be tracked down quickly via the camcorder’s touch-screen. Film Roll Index searches can also be performed on a PC using supplied Picture Motion Browser software.
Smooth Slow recording for slow-motion capture of objects that are too quick for the human eye to perceive and optical image stabilization technology enhances smooth video capture. The CMOS sensor also delivers exceptional sensitivity (a minimum illumination of 2 lux with the Auto Slow Shutter “ON”) for shooting in twilight or dimly lit interiors.
The AVCHD HDD Handycam range includes direct buttons for playback and simple navigation via the touch screen. The screen – like the CX7K unit itself – is more user friendly than meets the eye. Thumbnails and functions are easily and accurately selected and when shooting the screen can be used for focusing and exposure adjustment. This means that the camera will focus on a foreground object when it is selected on the touch screen or adjust the brightness of a frame in relation to the part of the scene selected.
The addition of the CX7K extends Sony's HD Handycam recording formats to four - tape, disc, hard disk drive and now Memory Stick.
The SR8 100GB Hard Disk Drive costs AUD$2,499 and the HDRCX7K costs AUD$2099 with a 4GB Memory Stick included.