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: Models : Camcorder Formats : Media : Camcorder Features
Camcorders : How to choose

How to Choose a Camcorder –– page 4 of 9


Solid State - Flash Memory card camcorders:

In 2003, Panasonic unveiled the SV-AV100, a tiny camcorder that records video onto Secure Digital (SD) solid-state memory cards. The supplied 512MB cards are postage stamp sized and hold around 10 minutes of MPEG2 DVD quality video recorded at a relatively high 6 Mbps (megabits per second) transfer rate. Be aware that Digital Video is recorded at 12 Mbps, so the quality is not quite the same. More affordable 1GB cards let you record 20 minutes of highest-quality video. 

The SV-AV100 has options for lesser video performance and if you use the MPEG4 setting at 1 Mbps, you can record an hour of video on a 512MB card. By using a card instead of tape, Panasonic engineers created a camcorder that weighs .34 pounds and is truly pocket sized. (MPEG stands for Moving Picture Experts Group and MPEG4 is designed to deliver DVD MPEG2 at lower data rates and smaller file sizes.) 

Late in 2004, JVC joined this group with a pair of Everio camcorders that record in the MPEG2 format using Microdrives, Compact Flash or SD cards as media. JVC broke new ground in 2005 by introducing the first camcorders that use hard disk drives as recording media (the Everio G series). They use the MPEG2 format. 

SONY Memory card camcorders:

The 2007 Sony Handycam HDR-CX7 model is the world’s smallest and lightest AVCHD high-definition camcorder. It can record nearly three hours of full HD 1080 video on an 8-GB Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media card (LP mode). Weighing just 15 ounces with the supplied battery, it provides ultra-portability as well as a virtually crash-proof recording system, instant archiving to Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media and effortless connection to a PC via USB for editing and back-up.

Capture high-definition video with this compact, lightweight camcorder from Sony. The HDR-CX7 records home movies in sharp 1080i resolution and stores them on Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. This Sony cam's small size and tiny recording media make it great for traveling as there are no bulky tapes or discs to carry with you. If you run out of storage space, simply insert another tiny memory card.

  • records high-definition AVCHD video (at 1080i resolution) and standard-definition video to Memory Stick PRO Duo cards
  • one 4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo card (not included) holds approximately
    • 30 to 85 minutes of high-definition video, depending on the video setting
    • 55 to 160 minutes of standard-definition video, depending on the video setting
  • 3.2-megapixel ClearVid CMOS image sensor (2.28 effective)
  • x.v.Color technology
  • digital photo mode
  • top photo resolution: 2848 x 2136
  • Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel audio
  • 2-11/16" widescreen touchpanel LCD
  • variable-speed 10X Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar® T* optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 20X)
  • optical Super SteadyShot®
  • Super NightShot®
  • 16:9 widescreen mode for video and digital photos
  • auto and manual focus
  • white balance settings
  • shutter speed: 1/2 - 1/500 seconds
  • 8 Program AE (Auto Exposure) settings, including Portrait, Sports Lesson, Beach and Candle
  • digital picture effects
  • high-speed USB port (on included Handycam Station)
  • HDMI output on camcorder (HDMI cable not included)
  • analog audio/video output (on camcorder and included Handycam Station)
  • Active Interface Shoe for powering an optional accessory
  • 2-13/16"W x 2-9/16"H x 5-1/4"D
  • weight: 15 oz. with battery
  • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
Supplied Accessories:
  • Handycam Station
  • AC adapter/charger
  • rechargeable InfoLithium® battery (NP-FH60)
  • wireless remote
  • audio/video and USB cables
  • software CD-ROMs (Windows®)

The 2008 Sony HDR-TG1

The Sony HDR-TG1 Handycam® camcorder records Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution video from a lightweight, slim body crafted from pure titanium. It's tough enough for everyday HD video shooting and perfect for travel with its compact size. The stylish design incorporates a Premium Hard Coating for superior resistance to even the smallest scratches. It records to convenient Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media, and Sony's ClearVid™ CMOS Sensor and BIONZ™ image processor provide spectacular video and stunning 4.0 megapixel still images. Face Detection technology is also included, which automatically finds and enhances faces for beautiful results. Retail price is around $900 US.

1920x1080 High Definition Recording
Record stunning, incredibly detailed video footage in the clarity of 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution.

Made possible by the BIONZ™ image processing engine, Face Detection technology recognizes up to 8 faces anywhere in the frame and automatically controls focus, exposure, and color to help capture smiling faces brightly and clearly. Face Detection technology also helps make skin tones look natural without affecting other colors in the image.

Sony's newly designed CMOS image sensor delivers bright, vivid, and spectacularly detailed 2.3 megapixel (effective) video footage, as well as 4.0 megapixel still images -- all with prolonged battery life. Exmor™ technology captures images with high resolution and high sensitivity. In addition, the advanced Sony BIONZ™ image processor improves camera response time and screens out noise so the signal from each pixel is as pure as possible.

Sony has created a camcorder with the ability to fit in a shirt pocket, yet still capture stunning Full HD resolution video and 4.0 megapixel still images. Whether for personal or business use, around town or on vacation, the HDR-TG1 is the ideal travel companion for capturing those special memories.

2.7" Wide (16:9) Hybrid Touch Panel Clear Photo LCD Plus™ Display (211K Pixels)
The 2.7" Wide (16:9) LCD screen provides exceptional viewing clarity with improved resolution (211K pixels). The display rotates up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles, as well as provides sharp, detailed images for monitoring or playback. The widescreen format makes shooting in 16:9 mode and composing shots even easier.

Super SteadyShot® Image Stabilization System
An advanced version of Super Steadyshot® Picture Stabilization from Sony controls an even higher range of shake and vibration frequencies, to achieve an even higher level of smoothness without degradation of video like some other image stabilization systems.

Professional Quality Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar® Lens
Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar® lenses use highly advanced optics to deliver vivid image brilliance, true-to-life color saturation, and perfect renditions of subtle tones.

10x Optical/20x Digital Zoom
The optical zoom helps to bring the action close up from far away. In addition, Digital Zoom Interpolation means that extreme digital zooming is clearer, with less distortion than previous types of digital zoom.

Built-in zoom microphone with 5.1ch recording
Featuring Dolby® Digital 5.1 Creator, the built-in zoom microphone focuses audio recording on your subjects in sync with the camera’s zoom lens, helping memories ring true with clear dialogue and crisp, discrete sounds.

Picture Motion Browser Software
Supplied software makes it easier to upload, organize, search, and edit video and still images on your PC. With the included Handycam® Station, Picture Motion Browser software also provides one-touch operation to create a disc of your video or digital photos.

Dynamic Range Optimizer
Powered by Sony’s exclusive BIONZ™ high-speed processing engine, D-Range Optimization preserves image data in bright highlights, such as suppressing “whiteout” in skies. When shooting in backlit settings, D-Range Optimization reveals more detail in shadows, preventing “blackout.” As a result, the captured image appears as natural as the original scene.

Dolby® Digital 5.1ch Recording
Record in Dolby Digital 5.1ch surround sound with the camcorder’s built-in microphone. Recording in 5.1 channel surround sound allows you to experience your home movies with active sounds coming from all directions, so you can enjoy your personal home movies the way you experienced them while recording.

Smooth Slow Recording
By increasing the record rate from 60 fields per second (fps) to 240 fps for 3 seconds allowing you to capture 3 seconds of fast motion and play the video back in 12 seconds. This is great for analyzing a golf swing or a viewing a bird in flight. In addition, record an audio track to narrate what is being seen during the video.

x.v. Color™ Technology
x.v.Color™ technology can capture or display nearly twice as many (1.8x) viewable colors than the standard RGB color range. This provides a more accurate and vivid color range, for a more natural, lifelike overall experience.

Dual Record
While recording video in High Definition you have the ability to capture still images directly to Memory Stick Duo™ media (4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media included).

Quick On
Missing an important scene can be frustrating, especially if the reason is because your camcorder is turned off. With the Quick On feature, the touch of a single button places that camcorder in Sleep mode. Another push instantly wakes the camcorder, so you'll always be ready to capture special moments.

PhotoTV HD Viewing with HDMI™ Output
With direct HDMI™ output to your BRAVIA® HDTV and other compatible HDTV screens, so you can view and share photos in breathtaking clarity and detail. You can choose between standard 4:3 and widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio -- and with select BRAVIA® HDTV models, your photos are automatically optimized in sharpness, gradation, and color reproduction.

Face Index
Face Index makes it easier than ever to find and play back the right video scene. Using Face Detection technology, Face Index indexes your video footage according to the faces detected in each scene. When it's time to play back video, simply search for what you want by selecting from among the detected faces displayed in the index.

Film Roll Index
Like chapters in a book, Film Roll Index helps you easily find desired scenes in video footage. When using this feature, the camcorder previews the beginning of scenes and can create scene indexes set at specified display intervals (3, 6, or 12 seconds and 1 or 5 minutes).

Handycam® Station
Simply placing the camcorder on the supplied Handycam Station provides quick connections to a TV for viewing or a PC for editing and sharing, all while charging the battery so your camcorder is always ready to go.

One Touch Disc Burn
Easily burn a DVD copy of your footage using the supplied software. Simply connect the camcorder to your PC via a USB cable and press the One Touch Disc Burn Button.

InfoLITHIUM® Battery with AccuPower™ Meter System
Unlike NiCad (Nickel Cadmium) batteries, Sony's rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries are not subjected to a life shortening "Memory Effect," so you’re free to charge the battery at any time. Additionally, Sony's exclusive AccuPower™ meter displays the battery time remaining in minutes, in either the viewfinder or on the LCD screen.

Stamina® Battery Power Management System
When using the Sony InfoLITHIUM® Battery, the Stamina® Battery Power Management System helps the camcorder prolong battery life for extra long continuous recording times from a single charge.

Battery Information
At the touch of a button, battery information is displayed on the LCD screen when charging and when the camcorder is turned off. When using the LCD screen or viewfinder, the display will show how much the battery is charged -- in 10% increments -- and the recordable time left.

HDMI™ Connection with BRAVIA® Sync™ (CEC) Technology
HDMI™ connectivity provides a simple, high-quality video and audio connection, with the ability to transmit HD video and 5.1 channel audio directly from the camcorder to compatible HDTVs via a single cable. With BRAVIA® Sync™ (CEC) technology, the HDMI connection also delivers the ability to control both the camcorder and HDTV using a single BRAVIA TV remote.

Built-in Intelligent Flash
For added clarity and detail when taking pictures in low-light situations, the built-in flash improves pictures and reduces shadows.

BIONZ™ Image Processor
The advanced Sony BIONZ™ Image Processor uses hardware-based Large Scale Integrated (LSI) circuitry that improves camera response time, screens out noise before RAW data conversion, handles Dynamic Range Optimization processing, and prolongs battery life.

Exmor™ Imaging Sensor
Exmor™ technology captures video and still photo images with high resolution, high sensitivity, and exceptional detail. Advanced on-sensor A/D conversion yields rich tonal reproduction with high signal-to-noise ratio.

Tele Macro Function
Images shot in the Tele Macro Mode help your subject stand out by properly focusing the subject while leaving the background unfocussed. The Tele Macro Mode is useful for shooting close-up shots, especially when you need to prevent the camcorder from casting a shadow on the subject.

Date Index Function
Search recorded content by shooting date to quickly and easily find a specific scene.

Switchable HD/SD Format Recording
Record and play back both High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) video.

USB 2.0 Interface
The USB 2.0 interface provides an easy way to connect your camcorder to a PC for fast transfer of video and still images for editing.

Manual Focus
Manually adjust the focus of the camcorder using the touch panel. Manual focusing also allows the user to control the focus in difficult situations where either the environment or the subject does not allow the camcorder's auto focus to perform optimally, such as when shooting through a window or in a crowded environment.

Memory Stick PRO Duo™ Media Slot
Capture video and still images directly onto Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media for easy transfer to PCs for emailing, printing, or sharing with other compatible Memory Stick® devices (sold separately).

Fader Effects
Enhance your personal videos by adding professional looking fader effects. Choose from Black and White.

Picture Effects
Get creative when recording or playing back your videos with Sony's Picture Effect Modes. Effects available in Camera mode: Monotone, Pastel and Sepia. Effects available in Playback mode: Monotone, Pastel and Sepia.

Scene Selection Modes
Scene Selection modes make recording easy even when filming in challenging situations. Choose from Beach, Candle, Fireworks, Landscape, Portrait, Sports Lesson, Spotlight, and Sunrise & Sunset.

Multi-Language Menu
Change the menu display from English to English (Simplified), Canadian French, Latin American Spanish, or Brazilian.

The HDR-TG1 Handycam checks in at just 1.3- x 4.7- x 2.5-inches and weighs ten ounces.

2009 SONY Memory-Card Camcorders:

For 2009, Sony has enhanced their small, titanium body HD camcorder with a GPS feature and renamed it the HDR-TG5V. In addition, Sony offers a $300 standard definition model which has 8GB internal memory plus optional memorystick pro duo cards and for $70 more a 16GB model.


Sony's $1000 HDR-TG5V, an extremely sleek and small 1920 x 1080 HD camcorder with 4 megapixel photo resolution, 16 GB of internal flash memory, embedded GPS, minimal buttons and a touch-panel LCD display. The HDR-TG5V device is designed for single-hand use, and can take photos while recording video. The camera records in excess of six hours of HD video footage in LP mode with its built-in 16 GB memory. Additional storage can be added with Sony's Memory Stick PRO Duo media, increasing recording time or to transfer data to another Sony device.

It has a built-in GPS and uses NAVTEQ digital maps to digitally geo-tag your photos and present them wherever you were when you took them. The 2.7 inch LCD touch panel allows this type of photo-album to be presented by map and date, with extensions to the more usable Sony Picture Motion Browser software on a PC.

It contains Smile Shutter technology allowing photos of up to 4 Megapixel to be snapped even while recording video at the same time whenever somebody smiles. When in this mode, its Face Detection system tracks the subject and recognizes their face gestures, automatically adjusting for lighting, focus, and other feature which could reduce the photo quality.

An internal BIONZ Image Processor is augmented with an Exmor CMOS sensor, producing high quality images. It also has a 10x Carl Zeiss optical zoom using the Vaio-Tessar camera lens. It has a built-in flash and digitally reduces shadows in low-light conditions.

While the unit itself sells for about $1,000, it comes with an optional travel kit with battery and pouch for an additional $100. There is also a wide-angle lens accessory that will also be about $100 extra.

Sony HDR-TG5V Camcorder for 2009

April, 2009 – Designed for travelers who pack lightly, Sony unveiled a new high-definition camcorder that combines powerful performance and simple operation into a sleek, portable body. The HDR-TG5V Handycam® camcorder captures 1920x1080 high-definition video and four-megapixel photos. With a compact design, the model includes 16GB of flash memory (a portion of which is used for data management), embedded GPS, minimal buttons and a new intuitive user interface for the touch-panel LCD.

This new model has a titanium body with a premium hard coating enhancing durability and it’s packed with high-performance features—like GPS and Smile Shutter™ technology. The camcorder’s built-in GPS antenna and NAVTEQ® digital maps geo-tag your videos and photos so you can document your destinations on a map. Geo-tagged content is marked by a push pin at each shot location and can be played back on the camcorder map index display on the 2.7-inch (measured diagonally) wide LCD touch panel. You can also enjoy this feature on the PC using the included Picture Motion Browser software.

With 16GB of embedded memory, the HDR-TG5V camcorder holds more than six hours of high definition video footage (LP mode) so it is virtually ready for capture right out of the box. You can also capture content onto Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media (sold separately) for additional recording time. Ideal for the active explorer, a new graphical user interface helps personalize menus for easy operation and quickly sort through captured content.

Smile Shutter technology automatically snaps quality photos of traveling companions when they smile, even while recording video at the same time. To make sure your subject stays in focus, Face Detection technology recognizes and enhances faces by automatically correcting focus, exposure and color control. In addition to a BIONZ™ Image Processor that works with an Exmor™ CMOS sensor for pristine imaging, the camera features a professional-quality Carl Zeiss® Vaio-Tessar® lens with 10X optical zoom designed specifically for compact camcorders. For added clarity and detail, a built-in flash reduces shadows and improves still images in low-light situations.

Pricing and Availability

The HDR-TG5V camcorder ships May 2009 for about $1,000. An optional travel kit (Sony ACC-TCH5) with a battery, travel charger and pouch will be available for about $100. There is also a wide angle conversion lens (Sony VCL-HGE07TB) accessory for about $100.

Sony's DCR-SX41 for 2009

Camcorder features a Carl Zeiss® lens for clear images and accurate colors, and a powerful 60X optical zoom. You can store nearly 6 hours of footage on this cam's built-in 8-gigabyte flash memory, or pop in an optional Memory Stick® PRO Duo™ card for longer recording times. Retail price is $299.99


* records video to 8GB flash memory or optional Memory Stick® PRO Duo™ cards
* 8GB flash memory holds approximately 2 to 6 hours of footage, depending on the video settings
* 680,000-pixel CCD image sensor (410k effective pixels in 16:9 mode; 340k effective pixels in 4:3 mode)
* 60X Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar® optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 2000X)
* 16:9 widescreen mode for video and digital photos
* top jpeg resolution: 340,000-pixels (effective)
* shutter speed: 1/4 - 1/4000 seconds
* Dolby® Digital 2-channel audio from built-in zoom microphone
* SteadyShot® image stabilization
* 2-11/16" widescreen touchpanel LCD
* easy power on by opening the display
* Film Roll creates an easy-to-search index that shows you previews of your scenes
* Face Index organizes your footage by which face(s) appears in each scene for easy searching
* 10 Program AE (Auto Exposure) settings, including Beach, Candle, Snow, Sports, Spotlight, Sunrise Sunset, and Twilight
* auto and manual focus
* white balance settings
* high-speed USB port for transferring video to a compatible computer
* audio/video output
* 2-3/8"W x 2-3/8"H x 4-1/2"D
* weight: 8 oz. with battery
* warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor

Supplied Accessories:

* AC adapter/charger
* rechargeable InfoLithium® battery (NP-FH30)
* audio/video and USB cables
* Picture Motion Browser software for transferring and copying videos (Windows® only)

NOTE: For $70.00 more, the Sony DCR-SX60 features 16-gigabytes of built-in flash memory for 4 to 12 hours of video, depending on the settings and it has a 60X optical zoom.

Sony DCR-SX41

The Sony HDR-CX100 for 2009

Price: $499.99
Sony Handycam HDR-CX100 High Definition Camcorder
Shoot HD quality video with the Sony Handycam HDRCX100 High Definition Camcorder. This compact and lightweight Memory Stick Duo™ media camcorder offers 1920x1080 Full HD video recording and 4.0 megapixel still image capture. Packed with a healthy feature set including a 1/5-inch Exmor CMOS sensor, BIONZ™ image processor, Face Detection, Smile Shutter™ technology and 8GB of embedded flash memory, its most differentiating characteristic is its ultra-compact design (4 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches). Choose from three colors including black, red and silver.

x.v. Color™ technology for superior color:
x.v. Color™ technology enables the HDR-CX100 to capture nearly twice (1.8x) as many viewable colors as the standard RGB color range, resulting in more natural, life-like images. You can even experience this expanded color range on the big screen when you connect your camcorder to x.v. Color capable displays, including a wide range of Sony® BRAVIA® HDTVs.

Sony Bravia HDTVs

HDMI™ connection output:
The High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is a compact audio/video connector interface for transmitting uncompressed digital streams. HDMI connects digital audio/video sources such as a compatible camcorder, Blu-ray Disc™ player, a personal computer, a video game console, or an AV receiver to a compatible digital audio device and/or video monitor such as a digital television (DTV). HDMI began to appear in 2006 on consumer HDTV, camcorders and high-end digital still cameras.

USB 2.0 interface:
A USB 2.0 interface provides an easy way to connect your camcorder to a compatible PC for fast transfer of video and still images for editing.

1920x1080 high definition video recording:
1920 x1080 high definition resolution lets you record your memories in exceptional Sony® Full High Definition quality.

4 megapixel still image capture:
4 megapixel still image capture lets you take high resolution digital photos.

8GB embedded memory:
8GB of embedded memory can record and store up to 3 hours of high definition video footage (HD LP mode), or up to almost 6 hours of standard definition footage (SD LP mode). Additional Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo external cards can be inserted for even more storage of video and still images.

Ultra-compact, lightweight design:
The ultra-compact, lightweight HDR-CX100 is designed for maximum portability. Measuring just 2 1/4 x 2 3/8 x 4 1/2 inches and weighing just 11 ounces, the HDR-CX100 makes an ideal travel companion.

Analog video, Component video and HDMI output.

All can be purchased at Sony Style® retail stores, direct at, at authorized dealers and military exchange bases nationwide.

For additional information about Sony products, call toll-free at (888) 222-SONY, or visit Sony's web site at Press releases at

MicroMV is another digital tape format introduced by Sony in 2002, but it is not compatible with Mini DV. The MicroMV cassettes are 70 percent smaller than Mini DV tapes and are the reason for the camcorders' tiny size. The MicroMV cassette provides up to 60 minutes of digital video footage and adds a 64-kb memory chip, offering 16 times the memory storage available on Mini DV cassettes. The memory chip allows for a multi-search function that lets you access different sections of the tape just like a DVD by creating thumbnail images of all of the recorded scenes on the tape. The thumbnails are created at the start of every recorded scene. Be warned though: for all its pluses, MicroMV is not compatible with the Mini DV format. Sony has discontinued the MicroMV format.

MicroMV and MiniDV cassettes
Tiny Sony MicroMV Camcorder

NEXT >> DVD Cams

Introduction and Analog Camcorders
Digital Camcorders - Digital8
Digital Camcorders - MiniDV
MicroMV, solid state memory cards
Digital Camcorders - DVD
High-Definition Camcorders
Digital Camcorders - Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
Camcorder Connections and Accessories