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Camcorders Embrace Flash Memory

1/06/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — At International CES, camcorder
vendors will attempt to dazzle
showgoers with a 2011
smorgasbord of largely
flash-memory-based models
with extensive 1080 HD image
capture, new 3D recording
and integrated projector
capabilities.

While the overall camcorder
market grew 36 percent
in 2010, according to
IDC, the growth was powered
by pocket camcorders.
Traditional camcorders unit
shipments declined 14 percent
vs. 2009 to 2.3 million
units. The average selling price experienced a modest
2 percent decline to $440.

At the high end of the market, prices haven’t
dropped as rapidly as manufacturers have added
memory capacity and
features to keep them
steady, observed Ross
Rubin, industry analysis
director, The NPD Group.
Instead, the low end of
the traditional form factor
camcorder is being
cannibalized by pocket
camcorders, whereas traditional
models are being
geared toward enthusiasts,
he said.

The following are some
of the hotter new offerings
planned for the show:
Canon will use its professional 2-megapixel HD CMOS PRO sensor in select high-end camcorders offering
a 25 percent low-light improvement.

Using the sensor is the top-of-the-line Vixia HFG10,
which features 32GB of internal flash memory
and dual SDXC slots, 10x optical zoom lens with powered
optical image stabilization (POIS) and a 3.5-inch
touchscreen LCD.

The HF-S30 features 32GB internal flash memory,
dual SDXC card slots, 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD,
color viewfinder, 10x optical zoom lens, POIS and an
8.6-megapixel CMOS sensor.

The HF-M41 offers 10x zoom, 32GBs of flash memory,
dual SDXC slots, 10x zoom, POIS, 3-inch touchscreen,
HD CMOS Pro sensor and Eye Fi wireless
memory card compatibility.

The HF-M40 shares those but steps down to 16GB
of onboard flash memory. The HF-M400 offers most
of the same features but records directly to the SDXC
slots.

The mid-range R-series includes the HF-R21, R20
and R200 models.

The highlight HF-R21 offers 32GB of internal memory
with two card slots, a 28x advanced zoom lens,
a 3.28-megapixel CMOS sensor, Eye-Fi compatibility
and a 3-inch touchscreen display with touch-and-track
face detection.

On the entry side, two new standard-definition camcorders
are planned as well at prices to be announced.

DXG will update its stylish Luxe camcorder line by
introducing a pistol-grip series and boosting recording
resolutions to 1080p/30 fps. All Luxe models will offer
a 3-inch touchscreen LCD, 5-megapixel sensors and
SDHC card compatibility to 32GB. One model due in
January will offer a 5x optical zoom before the others
($199 each) arrive in the third quarter.

Six lines available this month offer design themes,
including Zanzibar, Maui, Ipanema, Monaco, Riviera
and Classic. Each of those $149 Luxe editions comes
with matching cases.

The QuickShots line includes the Twist 588V
($169), with a 3.5-inch swivel LCD, 1080p/30 fps video,
5-megapixel sensor, SDHC slot and HDMI output
(cable included).

Also due in January is the QuickShot -5F3 ($119)
720p traditional grip model, and the 5B9V ($129)
1080p pistol grip model.

JVC will introduce 10 new HD Everio camcorders,
one of which uses hard-drive storage while the others
are flash-memory-based. The company will expand the
number of Bluetooth-enabled camcorders from one to
two. All models now offer image stabilization, Intelligent
Auto mode, time-lapse recording and a “dynamic
zoom” that boosts the optical zoom range without degrading
video quality.

The GZ-HM30 ($229 suggested retail) will offer
720p video recording in the AVCHD Lite format,
SDXC slot, 1.5-megapixel CMOS sensor, 2.7-inch
LCD, 40x optical zoom lens, face detection and four
color options. The GZ-HM50 ($269) adds 8GB of internal
flash.

The $299 GZ-HM440 features 1080p/24 fps
AVCHD recording two SDXC card slots, 40x optical
zoom, face recognition, 2.7-inch touchscreen with
touch autofocus and auto-exposure, face detection
and high-fidelity audio playback.

The HM450 ($349) adds to that HM440 package
8GB of internal memory and a single SDXC card slot.

The GZ-HM650 ($399) offers 1080p AVCHD recording
to 8GB of internal flash memory and an SDXC
card slot, a 40x optical zoom, 2.7-inch touchscreen
and a 3.3-megapixel, back-illuminated CMOS sensor.
The GZ-HM670 ($499) adds 32GBs of flash memory,
while the GZ-HM690 ($599) steps to 64GB. The lone
120GB hard-drive-enabled HM690 ($549) offers a
2.7-inch laser touch-control display.

The GZ-HM860 Bluetooth model will offer a smartphone
app to let the phone act as a remote and to
sync GPS data to video recordings. Video can also be
transferred to iPhone and Android smartphones.

Panasonic is showing three standard-def camcorders
in the SDR-H100, the SDR-T70 and the SDR-S70,
all slated for March at pricing to be announced. The
compact models feature a 78x Optical Zoom with a
33mm wide-angle and optical image stabilization.

The models are differentiated through media storage:
All three feature SD/SDXC card slots, but the
SDR-H100 also records onto an 80GB hard disk
while the SDR-T70 has 4GB of built-in memory.

Samsung’s HMX Q10 features 1080/60i recording,
a 10x optical zoom and a backside-illuminated CMOS
sensor. A “smart access” user interface creates “application-
like” icons for the drag-and-drop menu.

The HMX-H300 also offers 1080/60i recording plus
a 30x optical zoom with dual optical stabilization and
a 3-inch touchscreen display. The SMX-F50 features
a 52x optical zoom lens and the ability to add background
music to videos on playback with automatic
volume control.

Sony is showing a range of 11 new Handycams,
including its first threee models with built-in Pico projectors.
The Mobile Theater Handycams are capable
projecting of up to 60-inch images on any surface.

Vivitar is featuring 13 models, five with a vertical
“pocket cam” body design and the rest with a more
conventional horizontal style, plus flip-out side-mounted
LCD screens. Two of the pocket-cam versions include
twistable screens, similar to those in the ViviCam
line, enabling self-portrait composition and shooting
from a variety of angles.

Among the highlights are the DVR 480 helmetmounted
720p sports video cam with SD card slot
and the DVR 538HD with 1080p HD capture, a 2.4-
inch display, SD slot and 4x digital.

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