NEW YORK – In an effort to offer camcorders that diverge from basic HD video shooting available in mobile devices, several manufacturers geared up for spring by adding interesting new performance twists to the high end of their consumer lines.
JVC and Canon each ushered in new flagship FullHD prosumer-level camcorders, with advanced still and HD video shooting capability while Sony produced a second-generation binocular/camcorder with improved dual electronic viewfinders and high-speed still image capture capability.
Chris Chute, IDC Research director, said manufacturers this year have shifted attention toward point-of-view cameras on the low end, and advanced $800-plus models on the high end, to generate profit opportunities.
“We expect further consolidation of vendor product lines so as to re-align around more profitable, higher price points,” Chute said.
The following models exemplify that strategy:
Sony’s DEV-50V/B ($2,000 suggested retail) offers 2D/3D video recording in an electronic binocular form factor. The product offers a 1/3.91-inch back-illuminated Exmore R CMOS sensor, 2x XGA 3D and 2D resolution OLED Tru-finder, a Bionz image processor, two-channel Dolby Digital sound recording with built-in stereo mic, 20.4-megapixel still image resolution, MPEG-4, AVCHD 2.0 and H.264 video recording in up to FullHD 1080/60p/60i resolution and 1080/60i in 3D.
The video binoculars also offer Optical SteadyShot, G lenses, and are 30 percent lighter than the original model. They are also splash and dust resistant. Sony said users can select the variable zoom to sweep surroundings at low magnification before zooming in seamlessly to pinpoint a subject.
The DEV-50V/B’s XGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinders have improved resolution and contrast for left and right eyes. The Exmor R CMOS sensor, helps boost electronic viewfinder brightness using a new Hyper Gain function.
Canon USA’s Vixia HF G30 (shipping in June at a $1,700 suggested retail) is an advanced enthusiast-level camcorder featuring a 20x f/1.8 Canon HD video lens, MP4 recording, and built-in Wi-Fi capability with dual-band wireless support.
The 26.8mm-536mm (35mm equivalent) lens is based on Canon’s professional-level Hi-UD (Hi Index Ultra Low Dispersion) technology that reduces chromatic aberrations and an eight-blade circular aperture produces natural, smooth out-of-focus backgrounds.
The HD CMOS Pro image sensor was enlarged to accommodate the new lens.
The camcorder includes a Digic DV 4 image processor and SuperRange optical image stabilization and a SuperRange feature with a Dynamic Mode to reduce image distortion while moving.
For the first time in the Gseries lineup, both 1080/60p MP4 (35Mbps) and AVCHD Progressive (28Mbps) recording options are available through a Dual Recording feature. This allows producing both short clips for online posting or more in-depth video.
Two SD card slots are included along with a Relay Recording feature to automatically continue recording while switching to a second SD card.
A 3.5-inch OLED touchpanel display utilizes Electrostatic technology to control focus, exposure, and track shooting subjects with the swipe or touch of the display.
The camcorder includes a 0.24-inch, 1.56-million-dot angle- adjustable color viewfinder.
JVC Americas’ flagship model, the Procision GC-PX100 (shipping now at a $1,000 suggested retail), offers Wi-Fi connectivity and DSLR-like burst shooting, in addition to being optimized to capture high-quality fast-moving FullHD video.
The GC-PX100 offers high-bit-rate progressive recording, plus high-speed recording for super-slow-motion video.
Wi-Fi connectivity to smartphones and tablets is supported with specialized apps.
A free JVC Cam Coach app for iOS and Android is available to help sports coaches make annotations on the playback image. Flaws in an athlete’s form can be noted by drawing on the screen.
Other features include: a Twin View function that enables simultaneous side-by-side playback of two different video clips after they’re transferred to a tablet for comparative viewing; a tagging function that allows scenes to be tagged for easy access at any time; and a scoring function to record a running tally of a game score in progress by tapping on a smartphone.
Resolution is listed at FullHD 1,920 by 1080/60p video at 36Mbps, a bit rate that allows FullHD slow-motion playback, which is useful for motion analysis or special effects.
Low-light and telephoto performance is enhanced using a fast f1.2 lens with 10x optical zoom, 1/2.3-inch 12.8-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and optical image stabilization.
Five shooting speeds range from 120 fps to 600 fps, and still image burst shots can be captured at 9 fps.
Other shooting modes include high-speed digital still recording at up to 60 fps and variable speed time-lapse recording. A Zoom Position Memory feature helps analyze sports plays to provide quick switching among Full Wide, Full Tele, and a user-settable position.
It includes a 3-inch tilting LCD monitor for high- and low-angle recording, and an LCD monitor hood. An optional color viewfinder is also available.