Videomaker goes to Consumer Electronics Show 2003
CES 2003 Camcorder Roundup

The 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show, held January 9-12, 2003 in Las Vegas, Nevada, covered 1.2 million square feet of floor space, spanning all three halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Here are just a few of the video products that were announced at the 36th annual show.

  • Canon unveiled their new line of ZR camcorders, the ZR60 ($599), the ZR65MC ($699) and the ZR70MC ($799). All include electronic image stabilization, a 2.5" LCD, a Color Night Mode feature and a 680,000 pixel CCD. The ZR60 features an 18X optical zoom lens, while the ZR65MC increases the optical zoom to 20X, adds an SD Card slot for still shooting and includes a USB port. The ZR70MC has a 22X optical zoom lens and is bundled with a wide-angle conversion lens.

    Also from Canon: a new Hi8 camcorder, the ES8600. Retailing for $299, it features a 22X optical zoom lens, an electronic image stabilizer and a 2.5-inch LCD.

  • Hitachi introduced the DZ-MV350A ($1,000) and DZ-MV380A ($1,100) DVD camcorders, which are half the size of their previous models. Both utilize 2.5-inch LCDs, electronic image stabilization and include SD Card slots. They can encode video in either CBR or VBR formats and can burn to 8cm DVD-R and DVD-RAM media. The order that scenes playback can be altered on rewritable DVD-RAM media for simple in-camera editing including transition effects. The DZ-MV350A features a 680,000 pixel CCD while the DZ-MV380A ups the ante to a one megapixel CCD and adds a hot shoe for a flash.

  • JVC introduced their GR-HD1, the first high-definition consumer camcorder (available in May for $3,500). It uses a 1/3-inch 1,180,000 pixel CCD behind a 10X optical zoom lens to record in 4:3 480i (standard DV) as well as 16:9 480/60p and 16:9 720/30p, using MPEG-2 compression instead of DV.

    JVC’s Compact Series of Mini DV camcorders feature 680,000 pixel CCDs. The GR-D30 ($500) features a 2.5-inch LCD and a 16X optical zoom lens, the GR-D70 ($600) adds an SD card slot and the GR-D90 uses a 3.5-inch color view screen. The GR-DV500 ($800) and the GR-DV800 ($900), use a 1/4-inch 1.33 megapixel CCD behind a 10X optical zoom lens and add a 3.5-inch LCD. The Pocket Series is a family of upright camcorders, featuring 16X optical zoom lenses and SD card slots. The GR-DX75 ($800) has a 2.5-inch LCD, the GR-DX95 ($900) has a 3-inch LCD and the GR-DX300 ($1,000) utilizes the 1/4-inch 1.33 megapixel CCD.

    The GR-AX880 VHS-C ($300), GR-SXM250 S-VHS-C ($350) and GR-SXM750 S-VHS-C ($400) camcorders feature 16X optical zoom lenses and flying erase heads.

  • Panasonic announced a new DVD camcorder, the VDR-M30 ($900). It features a 2.5" LCD and a 10X optical zoom, and can record VBR-compressed video onto 8cm DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs or it can capture still images onto SD cards.

    The PV-GS50 ($700) offers a Webcam mode and can also record MPEG-4 video, in addition to stills, onto SD cards. The unit also has a 2.5-inch LCD and a 10X optical zoom lens.

    Panasonic also announced the affordable PV-DV53 ($400). It features electronic image stabilization, a 10X optical zoom lens and a 2.5-inch LCD. Its big brother, the PV-DV73 ($800) features a 1.3 megapixel CCD.

    Panasonic’s new lineup is rounded out by the PV-DV103 ($500), which features a 10X optical zoom lens, and the PV-DV203 ($600), which adds an SD card slot for still image capture.

  • Samsung brought out the first consumer hard disk-based camcorder, the ITCAM-7, based around a built-in 1.5GB hard drive, which can hold one hour of compressed video. Thanks to its USB 2.0 port, the contents of the entire drive can be transferred to your computer in less than five minutes. The unit features a 2-inch LCD and can also function as an MP3 player.

  • Sharp introduced their new "Z" line of Viewcams, a series of camcorders that can be used one-handed (as opposed to Sharp’s previous two-hand Viewcams). The new line features a pivoting optical section and Sharp’s new 2.5-inch CG Silicon LCD, which are claimed to actually perform better in bright sunlight. The VL-Z1U ($600) is the base model. The VL-Z3U ($700) adds an SD card slot and a USB port. The VL-Z5U includes a remote control and the VL-Z7U utilizes a 1.3 Megapixel CCD and a built-in flash.

  • Sony announced fourteen new cameras at CES. Their new DVD Handycam camcorders start at $1,000: the DCR-DVD100, the DCR-DVD200 and the DCR-DVD300. All three models feature a 10X optical zoom lens and USB 2.0 connectivity. The DCR-DVD200 and DCR-DVD300 will have a one megapixel CCD. The DCR-DVD100 and DCR-DVD200 will have a 2.5-inch LCD, while the DCR-DVD300 will have a 3.5-inch LCD.

    A slate of seven new Mini DV camcorders is at the heart of Sony’s new lineup. The DCR-TRV19 ($600) has a 10X optical zoom lens. The DCR-TRV22 ($700) adds a Memory Stick slot. The DCR-TRV33 ($800) features a one megapixel CCD. The DCR-TRV38 ($900) upgrades to a 3.5-inch LCD and the DCR-TRV39 ($1,000) adds networking capabilities. The DCR-TRV70 ($1,300) goes back down to a 2.5-inch LCD, but has a two megapixel CCD. The DCR-TRV80 ($1,500) returns to the 3.5-inch LCD and adds Bluetooth to round out the package.

    Sony also introduced two Digital8 models; both the DCR-TRV250 ($400) and DCR-TRV350 ($500) include USB streaming capability. The DCR-TRV350 adds digital still image capture and a Memory Stick slot.

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