By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Orlando, FLA.— Thin is in for the camcorders at this week's PMA show, here. Following their ever-diminishing digital still counterparts, the new mini DV camcorders introduced by Canon, Panasonic, and Sony are being touted for their diminutive dimensions.
Canon hit the floor with three new DV camcorders. The ZR 40, ZR 45MC and ZR50 MC will serve as replacements for the ZR20, 25 and 30 models respectively. According to Yukiaki Hasimoto, Canon Photographic Products Group VP said the company's goal was to add more features in less space, for less money.
All three camcorders share a number of features including 18x/22x optical zoom lens, 2.5-inch flexible view screen, a new night mode, Image Stabilization and lower power consumption. Additionally the camcorders feature an analog to digital converter which allows users to transfer VHS footage directly to a DV-ready computer by using the ZR camcorders as a "pass-through" for the signal.
The three units also offer programmed auto exposure for different shooting conditions, including sports, sand and snow, low light, portrait and spotlight, and a night mode. Digital effects include vertical and horizontal wipes, mosaic fades, black-and-white and sepia modes. The camcorders feature IEEE1394/Firewire DV terminals, manual controls, A/V insert and audio dubbing.
Step up features for the ZR45 MC and ZR50 MC include an SD/MMC flash memory slot for capturing digital still photos, and a USB terminal for image transfers.
Exclusive to the ZR50 MC are illuminated control buttons which are positioned above the LCD screen and can be customized by the user by choosing among six colors: blue, green, orange, yellow, turquoise or purple. An extended recording function lets users choose among Long Play, 2x and 3x.
The ZR50 MC is now shipping with a suggested retail price of $899, the ZR45 MC in March for a suggested $799, and the ZR40 also in March for a suggested $699.
Panasonic introduced its "Ultra-Compact" line of mini DV camcorders, touting the two horizontal units as the smallest mini DV camcorders currently on the market.
Both camcorders will ship in March and feature a 10x optical/700x digital zoom lens, color view finder and IEEE 1394 connectivity, a 2.5-inch LCD screen, a zoom microphone, an infra-red remote control and Magic Pic feature which improves shooting video in low light situations.
The PV-DC 152 will ship in March for a suggested retail price of $899. The PV-DC 252 will also ship in March but will feature an SD slot and USB connectivity for still image capture. It will carry a $999 suggested retail price.
Sony debuted four mini DV camcorders: the DCR-TRV18, DCR-TRV25, DCR-TRV27, and DCR-TRV50. All four models feature USB streaming, Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lenses and a Memory Photo REC feature which lets users shooting video in camera mode take a digital still while filming by pressing the "photo" button.
All units will also come bundled with an 8MB Memory Stick media card and Pixela software.
The DCR-TRV18 will be available in April for a suggested retail price of $899. It features digital still mode, MPEG Movie EX, a 2.5-inch swivel LCD screen, progressive shutter, 120x digital (10x optical) zoom lens, analog inputs, i.Link, intelligent accessory shoe, and Sony's Super Steadyshot feature.
The DCR-TRV25 features a megapixel CCD, digital still mode, MPEG Movie EC, a progressive shutter system, 120X digital (10x optical) zoom, analog inputs, i.Link (DV In/Out), Sony's Super Steadyshot feature, and a super night shot/color mode. The unit ships in April for a suggested retail price of $999.
The DCR-TRV27 also sports a megapixel CCD, digital still mode, MPEG Movie EX, a color viewfinder, a 3.5-inch swivel LCD screen, analog inputs, progressive shutter system, Sony's Super Steadyshot and i.Link (DV In/Out). It ships in April with a suggested retail of $1099.
Finally, the DCR-TRV50 offers a 1.5 megapixel CCD and a new network capability with touch panel on the 3.5-inch LCD screen. The touch panel feature lets users access menu functions with the included stylus. The touch panel also features spot focus, which lets users bring a particular area on the LCD into focus automatically by touching the out-of-focus subject on the LCD.
Also unique to the TRV50 is a precision color viewfinder and an intelligent pop-up flash. This model ships in April for a suggested $1,599.
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