Sony camcorders

Sony camcorders

Sony produces a number of prosumer camcorders.

=Standard Definition Models=

Sony DCR-VX1000

The VX1000, introduced in 1995, was the first digital prosumer MiniDV camcorder.

Sony DCR-TRV900/DSRPD100

Sony DCR-VX2000 & Sony DSR-PD150

The VX2000/PD150 sister models improved on the VX1000 in low light sensitivity and added LCD screen. Both models have 1/3" CCD sensors while the PD150 has XLR audio inputs and independent iris and gain controls. The VX2000/PD150 gained popularity amongst wedding and event video producers.

Sony DCR-TRV950/Sony DSR-PDX10

Sony DCR-VX2100 & Sony DSR-PD170

The VX2100/PD170 improved on the VX2000/PD150 models with low light sensitivy of 1 lux, improved LCD screen, and 24 iris increments from 12.

=High Definition Models=

Sony HDR-HC1

The Sony HDR-HC1, introduced in Mid-2005 (MSRP 1999$ US), was the first HDV CMOS camcorder to support 1080i. The CMOS sensor has a resolution of 1920x1440 for digital still pictures and captures video at 1440x1080 interlaced, which is the resolution defined for HDV 1080i. The camera may also use the extra pixels for digital image stabilization.

The camcorder can also convert the captured HDV data to DV data for editing the video using non-linear editing systems which do not support HDV or for creating edits which are viewable on non-HDTV television sets.

The HVR-A1 is the prosumer version of the HDR-HC1, having a few more manual controls, as well as XLR ports.

Sony HDR-HC5

The Sony HDR-HC5, introduced in May 2007 (MSRP 1099$ US), was the third DV tape HDV CMOS camcorder to support 1080i. The 1/3 CMOS sensor has a resolution of 2MP and interlaced 4MP for digital still pictures and captures video at 1440x1080 interlaced, which is the resolution defined for HDV 1080i. The camera may also use the extra pixels for digital image stabilization. Digital photos can be stored on Memory Stick. Minimum Light to operate on is 2Lux.

The camcorder can also convert the captured HDV data to DV data for editing the video using non-linear editing systems which do not support HDV or for creating edits which are viewable on non-HDTV television sets.

Sony HDR-HC7

The Sony HDR-HC7, introduced in May 2007 (MSRP 1399$ US), was the another DV tape HDV CMOS camcorder to support 1080i. The 1/2.9 CMOS sensor has a resolution of 3MP and interlaced 6MP for digital still pictures and captures video at 1440x1080 interlaced, which is the resolution defined for HDV 1080i. The camera differs from the HC5 by including a manual focus wheel, mic and headphone jacks, and a slightly larger imaging sensor, producing 3200K gross pixels versus the 2100K gross pixels of the HC5. The HC7 also sports Sony's Super SteadyShot Optical Image Stabilization System. Digital photos can be stored on Memory Stick. Minimum Light to operate on is 2Lux.

The camcorder can also convert the captured HDV data to DV data for editing the video using non-linear editing systems which do not support HDV or for creating edits which are viewable on non-HDTV television sets.

In December 2007, Sony released the HD1000, the shouldermount version of the HC7. Advantages of the HD1000 (over HC7) include (1) much more stable off-tripod footage with the shouldermount (2) fullsize zoom control while shouldermount (3) custom ring to manually control the focusing, exposure (iris and gain), zoom, or shutter speed (4) ability to mount a large video light on its front coldshoe (5) ability to mount wireless audio on its rear coldshoe, and more.

Sony HDR-FX1

The Sony HDR-FX1, introduced in late 2004, was the first HDV 3CCD camcorder which supported 1080i (1440 X 1080 resolution with color sampling). The Sony HVR-Z1U is the "professional" version of this camera with additional features such as balanced XLR audio inputs, DVCAM recording, and extended DSP capabilities (i.e. cine/gamma controls).

In September 2006, Sony announced FX1's successor - Sony HDR-FX7. The notable differences include a change from a three-CCD sensor to a three-CMOS design. The CMOS sensors are smaller, however, at 1/4 inch, leading to lower sensitivity at low light.

Cineframe

The FX1 offers Cineframe shooting modes at 30 and 24 frames per second. The camera is still using an interlaced image but extracts progressive images from individual fields by doubling them. The 30fps and 24fps do not offer the same resolution as true progressive scanning but may nonetheless be useful for recording progressive images without interlacing. Furthermore, the 24fps Cineframe shooting mode does not offer the same resolution, or motion cadence as true 24fps progressive scanning.

Specifications

The HDR-FX1 includes three 1/3-inch 16:9 1.12 Megapixel gross CCDs. Each CCD measures 960 x 1080 pixels. The HDR-FX1 also includes a 12x optical Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, a 3.5-inch LCD screen, a zoom ring, focus ring, and an iris / aperture ring.

Known Flaws

When the audio mode of HDR-FX1/HDR-FX1E camcorder is switched to the 16-bit setting (in DV mode), and the unit is then turned off, a software used in the camcorder causes the unit to reset to the default 12-bit setting, though the LCD indicator of the unit continues to display the 16-bit audio setting.

Sony HDR-FX7

The Sony HDR-FX7, was introduced in September 2006, almost two years after the introduction of Sony's first HDV camcorder, Sony HDR-FX1. The new camcorder is the first camcorder below $3,000 to offer full 1080 HD resolution with a three-chip sensor.

* Resolution: Sony claims "full" 1080 HD
* Sensor: changed to 3 x 1/4” ClearVid CMOS
* Light sensitivity: worse by 33% (4lux)
* Zoom: increased to 20x optical zoom
* Lens/filter: decreased to 62mm
* Video out: included HDMI
* Weight: reduced to 1.6 kg (3.52 lb.)

The company line (as expressed by Harry Haruna, Manager of Camcorder Product Planning for Sony USA) is that the new Sony HDR-FX7 will have a much improved resolution (full 1080 HD) when the lighting is good. In low-light situations, Sony FX1 will still produce better results.

Sony HDR-SR1

The Sony HDR-SR1, introduced in late 2006, was the first high definition hard disk drive based camcorder from Sony. It launched with a 30 gigabyte internal drive and - along with the Sony HDR-UX1 - is the first camcorder that records high definition video in AVCHD format. In June 2007, Sony released two new AVCHD format HD Hard Disk camcorders, a 40GB (HDR-SR5) and 60GB model (HDR-SR7), both of which add the ability to record in Dolby Digital 5.1. Like most HDV camcorders, all current AVCHD models capture video in 1440x1080i resolution.

Sony HDR-CX7

In June 2007, Sony released the HDR-CX7, the first AVCHD format HD camcorder to record video to a memory card. As with most Sony products, the HDR-CX7 records to Sony's own Memory Stick. The product comes bundled with a 4GB Memory Stick Duo which Sony states will hold 30 mins of HD video.

Sony HDR-CX12

In August 2008, Sony released the successor to the HDR-CX7, the HDR-CX12.Retail Price: $899.99

1920x1080i Recording1/3" ClearVid CMOS sensor Dolby Digital 5.1 audio

10.2MP still image captureFace Detection and Smile Shutter technology

ony HVR-Z7U/HVR-S270

The Sony HVR-Z7 and HVR-S270 video cameras, introduced in early 2008, were the first 3 CMOS sensor HDV camcorder that records on tape and/or CF card. In previous prosumer models, Sony released model pairs that shared the same optics and sensors, such as the VX2000/PD150, VX2100/PD170, Z1/FX1, and V1/FX7; where the VX/FX was the consumer version and the PD/Z was the professional or prosumer version. What differentiated the models was that the consumer models lacked professional features such as XLR inputs and some manual controls. The HVR-Z7 breaks this pattern as it has all professional features of previous prosumer models, and has no consumer equivalent, although it has a larger shoulder-mounted sister camera, the HVR-S270.

Both video cameras feature interchangeable lenses, attain low light sensitivity similar to the SD low light leader, the Sony DSR-PD170, and offer 60/50i, 30P, and 24P recording in HDV, DVCAM, and MiniDV. Compact Flash recording is achieved by a supplied CF card recorder that is removable and connects via a proprietary firewire connection or 6 pin firewire.

ony HDR-FX1000/HVR-Z5U

The first true sucessors to the HDR-FX1 and the HVR-Z1U, the HDR-FX100 and HVR-Z5U were released in fall 2008. They employ the same Exmor 1/3" 3CMOS design as the Z7U/S270, and the Z5U is bundled with the same CF card recorder as the Z7U, but the physical designs more closely ressemble that of the FX1 and Z1U. As with all new Sony prosumer camcorders, both models support 30p and 24p, albeit with a 2:3 pulldown, and both models have the 1-megapixel XtraFine LCD screen included in the EX1, Z7U, and SR11/12. A new feature introduced with these camcorders are the introduction of Sony G Lenses to their camcorder lineup. The zoom range extends 20x, 29.5-590 35mm equivalent, and has a wider angle of view than most fixed lenses in this price range.

External links

* [http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sony-HDR-SR1-First-Impressions-Camcorder-Review.htm Sony HDR-SR1 review]
* [http://www.filmdailies.com/archives/sony-hdr-fx7/ Sony HDR-FX7 review]
* [http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sony-HCR-HC1-Review.htm Sony HDR-HC1 review]
* [http://www.docs.sony.com/release/hdrhc1.pdf Sony HDR-HC1 manual]
* [http://www.adamwilt.com/HDV/cineframe.html Examination of Cineframe modes]
* [http://www.filmdailies.com/archives/sony-fx1/ Sony FX1 review]
* [http://www.filmdailies.com/archives/sony-hdr-fx7/ Sony HDR-FX7 review]
* [http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=41396 Sony HVR-Z7U review]


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