2007 CES Camcorder Round-Up

Now that we’ve arrived back from the 40th Annual Consumer Electronics Show (held Jan. 8-11, 2007 in Las Vegas, NV), we’ve had a chance to compile all of the camcorder announcements we saw over the course of the show. The trends we’re noticing are:

  • The proliferation of 2.7″ widescreen LCD viewscreens
  • More camcorders that are ready to record from standby with less time needed
  • More inexpensive 3-chip camcorders
  • A significant amount of camcorders adding optical image stabilization

In what might be a sign of future developments, there were not nearly as many new Mini DV camcorders announced at this year’s show as in the past. Those that were announced were at some of the lowest prices we’ve ever seen.

Canon


Canon’s Mini DV line gains the ZR800 ($279) which includes a microphone jack and a 35x optical zoom lens. The Canon ZR830 ($299) and ZR850 ($329) forgo the mic jack, but add a Quick Start mode that allows them to start recording from a standby state in less than one second. The ZR850 also adds a built-in video light and upgrades to a 1.07-megapixel CCD. All include a 2.7″ widescreen LCD viewscreen.

Canon’s DVD-R/-RW camcorder lineup also includes 35x optical zoom lenses, Quick Start and 2.7″ widescreen LCD viewscreens. The DC210 ($399) is the baseline model. The DC220 ($449) adds a miniSD memory card slot for still images, along with a USB 2.0 port. The DC230 ($499) further adds a 1.07-megapixel CCD and a wireless remote.

The DVD-burning DC50 ($799) utilizes a 5.39-megapixel CCD and includes optical image stabilization for its 10x optical zoom lens. It also includes a built-in video light and a widescreen LCD. The camcorder is bundled with a version of Roxio MyDVD as well.

Hitachi


Hitachi’s DZHS300A ($600) is a DVD-R/-RW/ -RAM/+RW camcorder that also includes a 8GB hard drive. Also included: a 25x optical zoom lens and an SD card slot. The DZH500A ($800) upgrades to a 30GB hard drive and a 30x optical zoom lens.

The DZGX5020A DVD-R/-RW/-RAM/+RW camcorder ($350) features a 2.7″ widescreen LCD and a 30x optical zoom. The DZGX5080A ($450) adds a USB 2.0 port and an LED video light.

JVC


JVC’s Mini DV camcorder line includes 680k-pixel CCDs, 34x optical zoom lenses and 2.7″ widescreen LCDs. A video light is present on all models that can automatically activate as needed. The GR-D750 ($250) is the baseline model, while the GR-D770 ($280) adds an SD card slot and the ability to shoot still images while video is being recorded. The GR-D796 ($350) additionally ships with two batteries, each holding enough charge to shoot for a claimed 135 minutes.

JVC’s Everio GZ-HD7 3-CCD camcorder with 60GB hard drive ($1,800) is the first consumer camcorder able to record full 1920x1080i images, and is also the first consumer-level camcorder that utilizes an f/1.8 Fujinon lens with 10x optical zoom. Its 1/5″ 16:9 CCDs operate in the progressive domain, and each have 570k pixels (effective: 530k pixels). The camcorder can record up to five hours of full 1080i MPEG-2 footage at 30Mbps. Footage can be burned directly to Blu-ray Discs with the provided software, or transferred over the camcorder’s USB 2.0, HDMI or FireWire connections.

The remainder of the Everio line includes four models with 30GB hard drives. The GZ-MG130 ($500) features a 1/6″, 680k-pixel CCD and a 34x optical zoom lens. The GZ-MG155 ($600) upgrades to a 1.07-megapixel CCD but utilizes a 32x optical zoom lens. The GZ-MG255 ($700) utilizes a 1/3.9″ 2.18-megapixel CCD but includes a 10x optical zoom. The GZ-MG555 ($900) upgrades to a 1/2.5″, 5.37-megapixel CCD. All models include a 2.7″ widescreen LCD and 16:9 recording.

Panasonic

Panasonic’s Mini DV line for 2007 includes the PV-GS80 ($300), which includes optical image stabilization and a 32x optical zoom lens and a 2.7″ widescreen LCD. The PV-GS85 ($350) adds 3.1-megapixel still image recording. The PV-GS320 ($500) is a 3-CCD camcorder that upgrades to a Leica Dicomar ED lens with 10x optical zoom.

Two hybrid DVD/SD card camcorders, the SDR-H20 ($600) and the SDR-H200 ($800) include 30GB hard drives, optical image stabilization and 2.7″ widescreen LCDs. The SDR-H20 is a single-CCD camcorder with a 32x optical zoom lens, while the SDR-H200 is a 3-CCD camcorder with a 10x optical zoom lens.

Panasonic’s DVD-RAM/-RW/-R/-R DL camcorders include the $450 VDR-D210, the $500 VDR-D230 and the $700 VDR-D310. All include MPEG-2 compression with variable bit rate encoding, along with optical image stabilization, 2.7″ widescreen LCDs and 16:9 recording modes. The VDR-D210 includes a 32x optical zoom lens. The VDR-D230 adds an LED video light and USB 2.0 port, along with some software. The VDR-310 upgrades the optical system to a 3-CCD design with 10x optical zoom Leica lens.

Panasonic showed off its first AVCHD camcorders at CES, the HDC-SD1 ($1,500) and HDC-DX1 ($1,400). Both are 3-CCD designs that include Leica lenses and optical image stabilization. The HDC-SD1 can record for approximately one hour of HD onto a 4GB SDHC card, and the HDC-DX1 can record about 40 minutes of HD onto a dual-layer DVD-R. The camcorders include five discrete microphones for 5.1-channel recording.


Sanyo

Sanyo’s VPC-HD2 records 720p video in MPEG-4 at 9Mbps, and utilizes a 7.21-megapixel CCD and 10x optical zoom lens. It includes some in-camera editing functionality, and its docking station includes an HDMI interface. The camcorder can record to either SD or SDHC cards, and also includes an SD recording mode tailored for use with portable media players. A 2.2″ LCD viewscreen rounds out the list of features.

Sony

Sony showed off the HDR-UX5 ($1,000) and HDR-UX7 ($1,300) AVCHD camcorders, along with the HDR-HC5 ($1,100) and HDR-HC7 ($1,400) HDV camcorders. All four camcorders include Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* optics, Sony’s ClearVid CMOS sensors and utilize Sony’s new x.v.Color technology, based on the new xvYCC color standard. The UX5 and HC5 include 2-megapixel CMOS sensors. The UX7 and HC7 upgrade to 3-megapixel CMOS sensors and optical image stabilization.

All of this year’s DVD camcorders, DCR-DVD108 ($400), DCR-DVD308 ($500), DCR-DVD408 ($700) and DCR-DVD508 ($900) record onto DVD-R/ -RW/+RW/+R DL, include USB 2.0 ports, can record 5.1-channel Dolby Digital sound and can use Sony’s Bluetooth mic for the center channel of audio. The DCR-DVD108 includes a 40x optical zoom lens. The DCR-DVD508 utilizes a 3-megapixel ClearVid CMOS chip and includes optical image stabilization.

Mini DV is not forgotten, with the DCR-HC28 ($280), DCR-HC38 ($330) and DCR-HC48 ($400). The DCR-HC28 is the baseline, but still offers Carl Zeiss optics. Sony is touting the battery life of their new camcorders – with the optional FH100 battery, the HC28 is able to shoot for up to 14 hours. The HC38 includes a 40x optical zoom lens and adds an on-screen usage guide. The HC48 uses a 25x optical zoom lens, adds a wide LCD screen and ships with the Handycam Station, allowing you to maintain a connection with a TV, computer or printer.

Sony completes its offerings with a line of hard drive camcorders, the DCR-SR42 ($600), DCR-SR62 ($650), DCR-SR82 ($750), DCR-SR200 ($850) and DCR-SR300 ($1,000). All ship with DVD authoring software and a Handycam Station which additionally connects to Sony’s DVDirect DVD burner. The DCR-SR42 includes a 40x optical zoom and 30GB hard drive. The DCR-SR62 adds a 2.7″ widescreen touchscreen LCD. The DCR-SR82 upgrades to a 60GB hard drive. The DCR-SR200 backs down to a 40GB hard dive, but adds Dolby Digital 5.1-channel recording with Bluetooth mic support. The SR300 upgrades to 4/6-megapixel stills and adds optical image stabilization and the ability to record up to three seconds of 240fps video for further slow-motion analysis.

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