updated 01:35 pm EDT, Tue July 7, 2009
Sony CX520V and CX500V
Sony today significantly ramped up the quality of its HD Handycams with two new models that promise fundamental changes. The HDR-CX500V and HDR-CX520V both have significantly upgraded visuals with a new backlit CMOS sensor. Moving the illumination away from the front gives either camera about twice as much light sensitivity, improving shooting in darker scenes. Both sensors are also upgraded to 12 megapixels and can shoot still photos at the high resolution in addition to 1080i widescreen video.
The two variants also have built-in GPS that can geotag not only photos but videos for those apps that recognize positioning. Visuals have received several tangible updates with new three-way image stabilization that catches unusual movements, a touch-based face detection system that lets users prioritize shots by tapping a given subject, and a six-blade aperture that can deliberately invoke bokeh (shallow depth of field).
Either camera records in AVCHD (H.264) and works natively with Macs in apps like iMovie; their only difference is storage, with the CX500V carrying 32GB of flash memory and the CX520V holding 64GB, or enough for 25 hours of low-bitrate 1080i. Sony ships the two cameras in September at prices of $1,100 for the lower capacity and $1,300 for the longest-running model.