CAMCORDERS

The beginning of the calendar year means taking down the holiday decorations, making goals and resolutions, and the annual pilgrimage to the Consumer Electronics Show. We just got back from the 2008 show, held January 7-10 in Las Vegas, Nevada and offer you a look at a few products that caught our eye.

Canon


Canon was on the show floor with both standard- and high-definition camcorders. Many of the models include Canon’s Advanced Zoom function that utilizes the camcorder’s image processor to achieve a long effective zoom ratio with near-optical zoom quality.

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The FS100 ($399) is an SDHC camcorder available in silver, blue and red that includes 48x Advanced Zoom, a 1.07-megapixel CCD and a mic jack. The FS10 ($499) adds 8GB of internal flash memory and the FS11 ($599) upgrades that to 16GB. Each of these camcorders weigh only 9.2 ounces.

The DC310 ($349) DVD camcorder utilizes a 41x Advanced Zoom, 680k-pixel CCD and a 2.7″ wide LCD. The DC320 ($369) upgrades to a 48x Advanced Zoom and 1.07-megapixel CCD. The DC330 ($379) adds a USB port and comes with a remote control.


The ZR900 ($249) Mini DV camcorder includes 41x Advanced Zoom, a 680k-pixel CCD and a mic jack. The ZR930 ($269) upgrades to a 48x Advanced Zoom and 1.07-megapixel CCD; while the ZR950 ($279) adds a USB port and SDHC card slot for still images.


Canon has brought the previously-released HG10 and HR10 into its new Vixia family of camcorders, all of which include Canon HD Video Lenses, Canon Full HD CMOS image sensors, Canon’s DIGIC DV II image processors, Instant AutoFocus and optical image stabilization. New to this family are the HF100 ($899) SDHC camcorder, featuring 12x optical zoom, 3.3-megapixel CMOS, full 1920×1080 resolution for capture, record and output; 30p and 24p modes, 2.7″ widescreen LCD and a mic jack. The HF10 ($1,099) adds 16GB of onboard flash memory.

The HV30 ($999) HDV camcorder includes a 10x optical zoom lens, 2.96-megapixel CMOS, 30p and 24p, and a 2.7″ widescreen LCD.

JVC

JVC’s new camcorders include a new graphical user interface and Konica Minolta lenses. The line starts with the $450 GZ-MG330, which includes a 30GB 1.8″ hard drive, a 1/6″ 680k-pixel CCD and 35x optical zoom. It is available in silver, blue and red. The silver GZ-MG335 ($500) adds an Everio Dock. The GZ-MG360 ($550, does not include dock) and GZ-MG365 ($600, includes dock) both upgrade to a 60GB hard drive.

The GZ-MG730 ($800) uses a 30GB 1.3 hard drive and upgrades to a 1/2.5″ 7.38-megapixel CCD with 10x optical zoom. This camcorder also ships with the Everio Dock.

Panasonic

Panasonic has entered the waterproof camcorder fray with the SDR-SW20 ($400), which can operate in water as deep as 5 feet and can survive drops from as high as 4 feet. The SDHC camcorder includes a 10x optical zoom and 2.7″ widescreen LCD, and can be connected directly to Panasonic’s optional DVD burner for one-button burns. The SDR-S7 forgoes the water- and shock-resistance, but can be had for $300.

The HDC-SD9 ($800) is a full-HD SDHC 3CCD AVCHD camcorder with optical image stabilization, Leica Dicomar glass, face detection, and a shooting guide that alerts the user when the camcorder is tilted, when the user’s hand is tilted or swinging, when the camcorder is being panned too quickly, or when the subject is backlit or the lighting is too low. The HDC-HS9 ($1,100) adds a 60GB hard drive.

Samsung

Samsung’s SC-HMX20C (price not available at press time) SDHC camcorder with 8GB internal flash memory records in full HD and in 1080p at 30fps. The camcorder includes a 6.4-megapixel CMOS sensor and can record at 300fps for up to 10 seconds.

Sanyo

Sanyo’s HD700 ($600) 720p SDHC camcorder includes a 7.1-megapixel CCD and is available in silver, red and brown. It includes face detection, 5x optical zoom, a 2.7″ widescreen LCD, ships with Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 for Windows and works with iMovie 08. The HD1000 ($800) upgrades to full HD and a 10x optical zoom, and is bundled with Nero 7 Essentials and Ulead DVD MovieFactory 5 SE.

Sony

Sony’s DCR-SR45 ($500) utilizes an 1/8″ 680k-pixel CCD, 40x optical zoom, Memory Stick Pro Duo card slot and 30GB hard drive. The DCR-SR65 ($600) downgrades to a 25x optical zoom, but upgrades to a 40GB drive and 1-megapixel CCD. The DCR-SR85 ($700) further upgrades to a 60GB hard drive. The line is capped with the DCR-SR220 ($850), which utilizes a 15x optical zoom and 2.3-megapixel CMOS image sensor, and adds face detection and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround recording.

DVD camcorders for 2008 include the DCR-DVD610 ($350), which uses a 40x optical zoom and 680k-pixel CCD. The DCR-DVD710 ($400) trades to a 1-megapixel CCD and 25x optical zoom. The DCR-DVD810 ($480) adds 8GB of internal flash memory. The DCR-DVD910 ($650) trades to a 2.3-megapixel CMOS imager and 15x optical zoom, adds face detection but forgoes the internal flash memory.

Mini DV isn’t forgotten, with the DCR-HC52 ($250) and DCR-HC62 ($300). The venerable DCR-VX2100 will remain available. The DCR-HC52 utilizes a 40x optical zoom and 680k-pixel CCD, while the DCR-HC62’s imager block utilizes a 25x optical zoom and 1-megapixel CCD.

Sony is adding six new HD camcorders to their line. The HDR-HC9 ($1,100) is the lone new HDV camcorder, utilizing a 3.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and plenty of manual controls. The remaining five models are AVCHD: The DVD-based HDR-UX10 ($800) and HDR-UX20 ($1,000); and the hard drive-based HDR-SR10 ($1,000), HDR-SR11 ($1,200) and HDR-SR12 ($1,400). All of the AVCHD models include Memory Stick Pro Duo slots. The HDR-UX20 also includes 8GB of internal flash memory. The HDR-SR10 uses a 40GB hard drive, while the HDR-SR11 upgrades to a 60GB hard drive and 5.7-megapixel CMOS image sensor. The HDR-SR11 doubles the SR11’s hard drive capacity.


Other Gear That Caught our Eyes
Sennheiser

Sennheiser announced the MX W1 set of fully wireless headphones, available in May 2008. Using a wireless technology developed by Kleer Corporation allows the full audio bandwidth that you would get in a wired headphone set. The transmitter is about the size of a matchbox, and there are two bud style ear-pieces that can be recharged up to three times from the battery in the carrying case so you don’t have to scramble to find a plug in the field. Another useful feature is the ability two use two sets of ear pieces with the same transmitter simultaneously, allowing the director and the soundman to both hear the camera audio at the same time.

Casio

Casio wowed the crowds with its new still photo camera the EX-F1 (price unavailable). Aside from the digital camera aspects, it appears to be a highly capable high definition video camera as well. The video taken from one of the prototypes proved very impressive. This model incorporates a high speed CMOS sensor and a high speed LSI processor. With this model, Casio has achieved an ultra-high speed 60 frames per second (fps) burst rate for still images, together with 1,200 fps high speed movie recording that captures movement faster than the eye can see for ultra-slow motion replay. Moreover, the new model can record movies at full High-Definition. Users can record movies at a screen size of 1920 x 1080 pixels, at a rate of 60 fields per second. To be released this spring.

Western Digital

Western Digital managed to pack a whopping 320 Gigabytes of storage into it’s new Passport Portable Drive 320 ($229.99). The same pocket sized form factor, bus powered, and simple USB connectivity as before but this sharp increase in storage capacity puts almost a third of a terabyte of digital storage in the palm of your hand.

A trade show like CES is a fun yet tiring event to attend: so much to see, so little time to see it all!

We met with HP, Netgear, and a host of other companies, including Pinnacle, who showed off the new free download “VideoSpin”; and Nero, with its latest Nero Ultra 8 edition.

Both softwares combine multiple uses, and you can see all of our video reviews at videomaker.com/video-news/category/ces/ for video stories from the show floor, and watch for reviews on some of these products coming as soon as we can wrangle them from the manufacturers hands!

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.