Canon Goes DV
Ever wondered, before going on vacation, whether you were going to bring your still camera or your camcorder? Canons new Optura, a clever combination of a single-chip MiniDV camcorder and a high-quality digital still camera, offers a solution thats somewhere between both worlds. With a host of manual controls, a two-inch LCD viewfinder, a flash mount for stills, and a progressive-scan CCD that records images in full RGB color, the Optura may well represent the future of digital imaging. Other features include a choice between 12-bit and 16-bit audio recording, optical image stabilization, Flexizone Autofocus, IEEE 1394 FireWire interface and a 14:1 optical zoom lens (35:1 digital). (800) 828-4040.
Suggested retail price: $2499
New Panasonic Digital A/V Mixer
Panasonic Broadcast and Digital Systems Company has announced its WJ-MX20 A/V digital mixer, successor to the popular WJ-MX30, but with improved functionality and a dramatically lower price. The mixer can create up to 298 wipe patterns from a combination of 23 basic patterns. Digital special effects include strobe, still, paint, mosaic, negative and chroma. Performance specifications include a 13.5 MHz sampling frequency, 460 horizontal lines of resolution and a signal-to-noise ratio of 50dB. Other features include chroma and luma keying, a still-frame grabber and an external editing control input with GPI trigger and RS-422 controls. (800) 524-0864.
Suggested retail price: $1795
The Latest DV from Sony
The new DCR-TRV7 is the latest in Sonys HandyCam Vision series of camcorders, each of which incorporates a swivel-screen LCD monitor for easy viewing of images while recording. The most striking difference between this and earlier HandyCam Vision camcorders is the tape format: DV. This new compact digital format provides superior images to previous analog formats. Features include LaserLink wireless audio/video connection, Super SteadyShot image stabilization, lithium-ion battery, 10:1 optical/120:1 digital zoom and IEEE 1394-based digital audio/video interface. (800) 222-7669.
Suggested retail price: $2699
Above the Crowd
If youve ever attempted to shoot a wedding or stage play from the back of a crowded room, youll know that the first obstacles you encounter are the heads of everyone in the audience. Stage risers are one solution, but they often dont provide the stability needed for quality videography. Kendallizer Corporation offers a solution with their Spider Pod, a portable 24-inch tripod mount and step-stool combination that fits any standard tripod and folds up easily into a briefcase-sized package. (703) 212-8200.
Suggested retail price: $1595
Send it Overseas
Many home videographers have family members who live in other parts of the world–places where tapes recorded under our video standard, NTSC, wont play in home VCRs. What to do when Granny in Palermo wants a copy of the wedding video? One possible solution to this problem is TenLabs TR-11 Multisystem Digital Video Convertor, which will convert most of the worlds video standards to NTSC or PAL output (SECAM output optional). Features include a built-in TBC, comb filter and both Y/C and composite input and output connectors. (310) 474-6909.
Suggested retail price: $745
Power in the Field
The Far Outlet Personal Power Station from Galaxy Audio is a fully self-contained source of 110-volt, 60Hz household current. About the size of a lunchbox and light enough to carry in one hand, the Far Outlet provides up to 250 watts continuous and 400 watts peak power. An exclusive DigiScrub digital filtering circuit provides extremely low-noise AC power that wont introduce discernible distortion into computers or audio/video devices. (316) 263-2852.
Suggested retail price: $299
Videotape Yourself While you Water Ski
Ever wonder what your water-skiing style looks like to others? With the Trakker ISM, you can safely and easily capture videotape of yourself swooshing back and forth across the wake. If youve ever tried videotaping a water skier from a moving boat, youll know what a difficult task it can be. The Trakker ISM simplifies the task by attaching a tracking arm to the ski rope, which causes the camera to pan back and forth as the skier crosses the wake. Also included is the Isolator mount, which is designed to isolate the camcorder from the vibration of the boat and motor as you bounce across the waves. (800) 754-7761.
Suggested retail price: $149
Pocket-sized Signal Insurance
Kramer Electronics introduces the Video Tester, a pocket-sized video signal tester that makes field signal testing easier and more convenient. The Video Tester eliminates the need to carry an oscilloscope, vectorscope or waveform monitor to trace and rectify bad video connections, cable breaks or faulty video-signal sources. The Tester has the ability to trace missing signals, distinguish between acceptable and jittery signals, and identify good signals by pressing a single switch. It can also check for sync and odd/even data in the signal. (888) 303-5600.
Suggested retail price: $199
Which Came First?
Now entering the desktop video camera market is Panasonic Computer Peripheral Companys EggCam, a low-cost solution for video e-mail and teleconferencing solutions. Looking more like an egg than a camera, the EggCam is capable of producing high-resolution (542×496) video images in 24-bit color. Designed to sit on top of a PC monitor on a tilt-and-swivel base, the tiny EggCam can deliver 330 lines of horizontal resolution together with mono audio from a built-in omnidirectional microphone. (800) 742-8086.
Suggested retail price: $199
PC Video Performance from Matrox
The latest in Matrox Graphics Inc.s line of graphics accelerators is the Matrox Mystique 220, a high-performance video card that incorporates a high-speed 220MHz processor for quality 2D and 3D graphics and video applications. Sold in two separate bundles–geared for either home- or business-PC applications–the Matrox Mystique 220 is available with 2MB, 4MB or 8MB of SGRAM. Included is full 32-bit implementation of Microsofts DirectDraw for direct frame-buffer access; maximum resolution is 1600×1200 pixels in 24-bit mode. (514) 969-6300.
Suggested retail price: 2MB, $159; 4MB, $199; 8MB, $449