updated 02:00 am EST, Thu November 15, 2007
Sony's Pro HDV camcorders
Sony Electronics on Wednesday introduced its latest HDV products, including two new camcorders -- the handheld, HDMI-enabled HVR-Z7U and the shoulder-mount HVR-S270U. Due in February of next year, both models feature interchangeable lens systems, 1080/24p/30p native progressive recording, increased sensitivity for low-light conditions, hybrid solid-state recording and a 12x high-quality, multi-purpose Carl Zeiss lens for HD video, with a Vario-Sonnar T coating to reduce reflections. In addition, the company also introduced the HVR-M35U playback and recording deck, expanding Sony’s line-up of HD production technologies, which includes the recently introduced PMW-EX1 XDCAM EX solid-state memory camera and the soon-to-be-available HVR-HD1000U shoulder-mount HDV camcorder.
The new i.LINK-equipped camcorders use Sony’s 1/3-inch "3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor" system enhanced by Exmor technology. With a 45-degree rotated pixel layout, the CMOS system offers sufficient pixel surface area while producing resolutions up to 1080p, Sony claimed. It Exmor technology features a unique column-parallel analog-to-digital conversion technique and dual noise canceling features for high-quality digital signals with extremely low noise -- similar to the imaging technology used in the PMW-EX1 camera. Sony said that the two new technologies combine to allow the new camcorders to perform significantly better in low-light environments with sensitivity of 1.5 lux.
Sony's handheld HVR-Z7U camcorder
The imaging technology is complemented by Sony’s Enhanced Imaging Processor (EIP) system and Sony’s XtraFine LCD and XtraFine electronic viewfinder for high-resolution and high-contrast images.
In addition, users can attach different lenses using the universal standard 1/3-inch bayonet mount mechanism for easier lens changes. A specially designed 8x wide-angle lens is also available as an option. Both the standard and optional lenses offer built-in features such as auto-focus, optical stabilizer, and automatic back-focus adjustment. The company also said that users can also attach the α lens series designed for Sony’s consumer digital SLR still cameras using a special adaptor.
Both the HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U can switch between 1080p, 1080i in the HDV format, DVCAM, and DV recording; they can down-convert material from HD to SD, and output the video signals through either through the i.LINK interface or other SD output connectors. In addition, the HVR-Z7U has an HDMI output, while the HVR-S270U is available with HD-SDI or SD-SDI connectivity; it also supports embedded audio and timecode.
The HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U with remarkable color reproduction. The HVR-S270U features a new LCD/EVF configuration named “Dual Finder,” where the LCD located on the EVF enables multiple styles of operation.
The new camcorders offer the option of hybrid recording when using a supplied memory-recording unit, which attaches directly to the back of the HVR-Z7U or the side of the HVR-S270U. Eliminating the need for cables, the optional unit automatically synchronizes with the recording action of the camcorder and a special shoe connector inputs and outputs an HDV/DV stream as well as supplies power to the unit. It captures the HDV1080i, DVCAM, or DV stream output from the camcorder and can record HDV/DVCAM/DV files to a standard CompactFlash solid-state memory card -- while users are simultaneously recording to tape.
Sony's shoulder-mount HVR-S270U camcorder
The HVR-M35U playback and recording deck
The HVR-Z7U can deliver more than 60 minutes of recording time on miniDV videotapes, and approximate recording times of 63 minutes with Sony’s DigitalMaster cassettes (PHDVM-63DM). The HVR-S270U also accepts standard-size cassettes to provide more than 4.5 hours of continuous recording, with approximate recording times of 4 hours, 36 minutes on Sony PHDV-276DM videotapes.
The new HVR-M35U record and playback deck is compatible with HDV native progressive recording modes and supports HD/SD-SDI output with embedded audio and timecode data. It has a 60i/50i switchable function, and supports HDV1080i (60i/50i/24p/30p/25p) and DVCAM/DV (60i/50i).
According to Sony, the deck supports standard- and mini-size cassette, and accepts standard cassettes shot on the HVR-S270U or other shoulder-mount DVCAM camcorders; it can play back four-channel audio data in HDV1080i format recorded by the HVR-S270U and can also play back four-channel audio data in the DVCAM format. The deck also includes a 2.7-inch wide screen, monaural speaker, edge crop adjust and a Duplicate Plus function for copying video and audio from another VTR.
Sony will ship a range of accessories for the new camcorders, including a Camcorder Support, an AC Adaptor Charger with four-battery slot, an LCD hood and more; however pricing was not specified. The shoulder-mount HVR-S270U camcorder is expected to cost $10,500, while the handheld HVR-Z7U camcorder will cost $6,850, and the HVR-M35U deck will cost $5,540.
Sony's HVR-M35U deck