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Pro Camcorders Embrace Flash Memory

Las Vegas — Camcorders for pro videographers and aspiring filmmakers made their debut at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show this week.

Among the introductions were new solid-state HD camcorders from Panasonic, Sony and JVC, plus the soft introduction of a “consumer-level” camcorder from Red.

Red’s forthcoming Scarlet boasts a resolution of 3K, which the company says exceeds that of 1,920 by 1080 HD video. The model is based on of an earlier Red camcorder that featured a resolution of 5K. The Scarlet can shoot between 1 and 120 frames per second. Video is recorded to a pair of CompactFlash cards. It features a 4.8-inch LCD, an 8x optical zoom lens, HDMI, HD-SDI, FireWire and USB 2.0 ports. The company plans to release the model in 2009.

JVC’s new GY-HD200UB ProHD camcorder is due this month for $5,995. According to JVC, the camcorder provides selectable live transport stream output capability of 1080 60i and 50i signals or 720 24p, 25p, 30p, 50p and 60p through its IEEE 1394 connection.

The camcorder can work with the new the MR-HD200U camera-mounted media recorder, set to ship in the fourth quarter. The device uses SDHC cards and a built-in hard disk drive (HDD) for saving video in either a native QuickTime (.mov) format, or as MPEG-2 transport stream files (.m2t), JVC said. Pricing was not announced.

Panasonic hit NAB with six new camcorders, including the handheld AG-HMC150 based on the AVCHD format used in its consumer-level HD camcorders. The HMC150 records to SD memory cards and supports 1080/24p, 1080/60i and 720/60p recording with a maximum bit rate of 24MBps. It features a 3.5-inch LCD, and a 13x optical zoom Leica lens (28mm) with a cam-driven manual zoom and optical stabilization. It incorporates an HDMI out, component out (mini D terminal), composite out, remote jacks for zoom, focus iris and start/stop functions. It’s due in the fall for under $4,500.

Sony announced a new addition to its professional XDCAM EX line. The $13,000 PMW-EX3 records 1080i and/or 720p video to the company’s SxS flash memory media. It features Genlock and Time Code connectors, interchangeable lenses and ships in the third quarter.