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CES: Sony’s big Handycam haul

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Sony launched seven new Handycam models at CES, unveiling new imaging and processing technologies to enhance video and still images.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, Sony Electronics announced seven new full HD models in its Handycam line of camcorders, ranging from entry level to high end.

Stand-out features include powerful new processing, Balanced Optical SteadyShot for smoother video, brighter built-in projection, advanced audio, simple wireless sharing and remote control via Wi-Fi and NFC.

Heading the 2014 line is Sony’s HDR-CX900 model, one of the first Handycam camcorders equipped with a large image sensor for pro-style performance in a compact body. The new camcorder features a 1.0-type, 14.2 effective megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor with a wide angle 29mm ZEISS Vario Sonnar T Lens to deliver a combination of performance and versatility for shooting in full HD with high quality still images. Far larger than the sensor in conventional consumer camcorders, the 1.0″ type Exmor R CMOS sensor engages to produce high quality images even in low-light situations.

The fixed ZEISS Vario Sonnar T 12x Optical Zoom Lens marries a wide aperture with a seven-bladed iris diaphragm to allow professional-looking videos and photos with smooth, defocused backgrounds. Together with the big image sensor, two built-in ND filters which offer three modes cut light levels entering the camera for movie footage with pro-style ‘bokeh,’ or aesthetic defocus effects without having to change aperture setting even in bright outdoor sunshine.

The CX900 can also record Full HD video at 50 Mbps using a new XAVC S codec, a consumer friendly format based on the XAVC codec developed for 4K/HD and professional use. Similar to pro cameras, this lets ambitious movie-makers reveal the full emotion and detail in every scene, even with fast camera pans. As an extra refinement, high frame rate recording at 120 fps captures each nuance of fast-moving action for beautifully smooth slow-motion replays. A bright, high-contrast OLED electronic viewfinder makes framing shots easier with a wide angle view, and a comfortably-placed lens ring and manual dial enables full control of focus, zoom, exposure, gain/ISO and shutter speed.

‚””The new CX900 camcorder carries on our legacy of balancing compact size and high-performance imaging, and the entire family of Handycam products capture uncompromised Full HD video and detailed stills that other camcorders, cameras, and smartphones just can’t match,”” said Patrick Huang, director of the camcorder business at Sony Electronics.

BIONZ X

Each of the new models in the line uses the new BIONZ X engine for a significant increase in processing speed compared to previous BIONZ predecessors. The processor enhances the sensor’s image quality by applying new detail reproduction technology and area-specific noise reduction for pristine results. It also uses diffraction-reducing technologies at smaller apertures.

The new models are the first Handycam camcorders to offer Clear Image Zoom, which uses By Pixel Super Resolution technology to boost detail on video footage captured at up to 60x magnification (HDR-CX330, PJ340, PJ540). It also powers the camcorders’ Balanced Optical SteadyShot feature for up to 13x more shake stability from wide to tele, Optical SteadyShot with Intelligent Active mode for up to 13x more shake stability at wide angle, and dramatically improves zoom ratio.

Shooters can record movies in top-quality AVCHD Full HD or MP4 simultaneously for easy smartphone transfers or uploads with the camcorders’ built-in NFC/Wi-Fi function.

Sony’s Handycam projector models increase brightness up to 50 lumens (HDR-PJ810). The compact projector built into the flip-out LCD panel of these camcorders can project clear video shot on the camcorder or content from compatible smartphones, tablets or PCs via an external HDMI input. With the new models’ ability to project up to a 200‚”” diagonal image onto any flat surface and electronically keystone correct skewed angles in the high end model, it allows for viewing footage on the go without a PC.

The high-precision Xtra Fine LCD on Sony’s top-of-the-line projector camcorder features WhiteMagic display technology that uses additional white pixels to boost the screen’s brightness, allowing for easy viewing even in bright outdoor conditions. After shooting, 2014 Handycam models can utilise Motion Shot Video to play back a dramatic sequence of superimposed images to trace every split-second of the action, a powerful tool for analyzing a golf swing or tennis serve directly on the LCD.

Another fun tool found on all new models is Picture Effects, which offers seven different effects to make focal points stand out or watercolour to transform images into a painting.

Wi-Fi and NFC for connection and transfers with smartphones or tablets is built into most new models, further simplifying cable-free transfers of movie files and photos. Shooters can even utilize Sony’s free PlayMemories Mobile app for iOS or Android to control the camcorders remotely with compatible devices, ideal for group scenes or solo performances when it’s not convenient to run from the camcorder back into the scene once the recording has started.

Wi-Fi also allows wireless playback of Handycam content on compatible networked TV. With Sony’s PlayMemories Online App, consumers can upload images and videos to Sony’s free cloud-based storage service for access from multiple entertainment devices.

The audio recording in Sony’s Handycam camcorders is upgraded this year to reduce noise and control voice balance. Sony’s new My Voice Cancelling, available on select models, suppresses unwanted vocal frequencies from immediately behind the camera, without affecting the volume of the subject’s voice and other foreground sounds. Premium Closer Voice records clear conversation by balancing voice volume between the camcorder operator and subject even in noisy situations.

* For full details of new products launched at CES by Sony, including pricing, visit http://blog.sony.com/press/ces-2014-sony-product-fact-sheet/

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