New 2012 Camcorders Go Wireless, Add Larger Sensors

By Greg Tarr On Jan 10 2012 - 10:24pm




LAS VEGAS — Many of the same features and functions that are helping to drive the digital point-and-shoot camcorder business in 2012 are proving to be just as valuable to people shopping for a dedicated camcorder.

Long-zoom ranges, high-quality still image capture, large image sensors, low-light sensitivity and wireless connectivity are all key selling points among new models slated to debut here at International CES. At the same time, standard-definition models have all but disappeared from most companies’ lines.

The following is a glimpse at what most of the major brands are planning to unveil this week:

Canon is presenting six Vixia HD camcorders, dropping SD models entirely in 2012. The line is split between the HFR and HFM model series.

HFR models include the HFR300 ($350), HFR30 ($450) and HFR32 ($550). Models feature optical zoom magnification to 32x starting at a 32mm wide angle, 51x advanced zoom, a 20 percent reduction in body size, AVCHD or MPEG-4 recording options, new optical image stabilization and touchscreen panel.

The HFR30 and HFR32 models both include Wi-Fi and DLNA connectivity. The R30 has 8GB or internal memory, and the R32 steps up to 32GB of internal memory. The HFR300 has only an SD card slot for memory.

The HFM models include the HFM500 ($550), HFM50 ($650) and HFM52 ($750). All offer HD CMOS Pro imagers with better low-light performance, AVCHD or MP4 recording options, advanced optical and intelligent image stabilization, 15 percent size reduction and 10 percent weight reduction, and have 10x zoom lenses (6.1-61mm). Models M50 and M52 feature built-in Wi-Fi and DLNA connectivity support. The HFM50 includes 8GB of memory while the HFM52 offers 32GB of memory. The HFM500 has only an SD card slot for memory.

DXG USA will introduce two additions to its Pro Gear HD camcorder line. Models DXG-5K1V ($300 suggested retail) and the DXG-B01V ($250) are said to include professional-grade features for expert videographers with easy-to-use touchscreen LCD interfaces for advanced and amateur users alike.

The DXG-5K1V features FullHD 1080/60p recording, 12-megapixel still photo resolution and a 20x optical zoom lens.

The DXG-B01V offers 1080p high-definition video recording and comes with an HDMI cable and support for high-capacity SD cards.

JVC America is presenting seven HD Everio camcorders for 2012.

This year’s models will record in FullHD (AVCHD); feature SD card slots, including one model that adds both an SD card slot and 16GB of internal flash memory; and incorporate back-side illuminated CMOS sensors. Shooting and editing software will be installed on all models, including among some units timelapse recording and editing functionality.

Four of the models will add Wi-Fi connectivity with real-time monitoring of images via PC or smartphone; detecting and sending photo and video files via email; movement detection that emails images to a PC or smartphone; and a smartphone app that allows downloading videos and stills from an Everio to the smartphone.

The GZ-E10 ($200 suggested retail) features a 40x optical zoom lens, F1.8 Konica Minolta lens, face-detection circuitry, 2.7-inch LCD, 1.5-megapixel CMOS image sensor and a choice of black, blue or red body colors.

The GZ-E200 ($250) adds a 3-inch touchscreen LCD, 2-megapixel still image resolution, smile meter/smile shot circuitry that gauges the strength of a subject’s smile, and black, blue and red color options.

The GZ-EX210 ($300) adds Wi-Fi capability in addition to the features of the GZ-E200.

The GZ-EX250 ($400) steps up with the addition of 16GB of built-in flash memory and an SD card slot. It will be available in black only.

The GZ-V500 ($400) omits Wi-Fi but adds a 3.32-megapixel CMOS sensor. It shoots 10 megapixel stills and includes a 10x optical zoom and optical image stabilizer, built-in light, super low-lux shooting, 60 fps continuous still shooting and 300 fps high speed video for slow motion.

The GZ-VX700 ($450) adds built-in Wi-Fi to the features in the GZ-V500.

The GZ-GX1 ($800) adds 1080/60p video recording (AVCHD progressive), a 3.5-inch LCD, 10.6-megapixel sensor and 11-megapixel still image resolution.

Samsung will introduce four digital camcorders highlighted by two models with built-in Wi- Fi connectivity.

The company will offer two upgraded versions of the popular Q10 from 2011, in the Q20 and Q20 Wireless models. Both feature a very small form factor, enhanced zoom range and wireless capability to send off recordings on the fly.

Above those, Samsung will step to a model with an even longer zoom range, higher-quality video and still image performance, and wireless capability.

The company will also show the next generation in its Pocket Cam line in the W300, which will replace the popular W200.

The new Pocket Cam is designed for outdoor use, offering water, shock, cold and dust resistance. Pricing and availability will be announced late.

Sony’s lineup will offer 17 models, including two advanced Bloggie pocket cams, two SDlevel entry camcorders carried over from 2011, four HD entry models, five midrange models in two steps and four high-performance models.

Mixed among them at all levels are four combination Pico projector/camcorders.

The four new HD entry models range in suggested retail from $299 to $439. All offer up to four times the still image resolution of last year using a new Pixel Creation technology, a 25x optical zoom lens, active SteadyShot, iAuto+ function and built-in USB quick-charging system. Step-up units add a touchscreen flip-out LCD, 8GB of internal memory and an HDMI cable.

High-end models include two projector combos — the PJ710V ($1,299) and PJ760V ($1,599) — and the stand-alone CX760V ($1,499). All feature an improved multi-directional balanced SteadyShot system with up to 13 times the stability of last year.

The 2012 flagship is the TD20V ($1,499) dual-lens 3D-capable model that is 34 percent smaller and features a 0.25-inch EXMOR R image sensor, 20.4-megapixel still shot resolution, 2D/3D 3-inch glasses-free flip-out LCD monitor, 64GB of internal memory and 1080/60p HD video resolution.

Meanwhile, two new Bloggies include the Bloggie Live (shipping at CES at a $249 suggested retail) with built-in Wi-Fi for live streaming and feedback, Share It Now (socialnetwork sharing) and Auto Sync networking capability and the water/shock/-and dust- resistant Bloggie Sport (shipping in February at a $179 suggested retail) with a new touchscreen LCD.

Vivitar will unveil its ProSeries X advanced 2012 digital camcorder lineup, including the XVN-J2 ($280) Full HD 1080p projector camcorder combo that packs a mini projector into a 100x-zoom and LCD touchscreen- equipped video camera.

The XVN-J9 ($450) offers 1080p resolution, built-in projector and steps up to an 8x optical, 120x digital zoom and 3-inch LCD touch screen.

Also slated is a pair of dual-stream recording video cameras: the XVN-8 ($400) and the XVN-1 ($300). Both have the ability to simultaneously capture two full-stream videos. The XVN-8 comes with FullHD resolution, 23x optical zoom, and a 3-inch touchscreen LCD. The XVN-1 is a FullHD 1080 model with an ultraslim body.

The XVN-5 ($250), meanwhile, is billed as one of the smallest and lightest video cameras in its class. It features FullHD video recording, 5x optical zoom with a 3-inch LCD touchscreen, MicroSD memory and the ability to attach an external 2.2x telephoto lens and a 0.43x wideangle lens.

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