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Sony Intros First DVD Handycams

New York – Sony formally unveiled its first DVD-based Handycam camcorders today, while also introducing what it called the smallest and lightest tape-based camcorder in the world, and its first single CCD 3-megapixel MiniDV camcorder.

The three MiniDVD camcorders, which were announced at CES without pricing or release date, will hit store shelves in October. They write to 3-inch -R/-RW disks, which can store an hour of video at the standard resolution setting (and 20 minutes at the highest quality setting) on a single sided disk.

Sony will sell a 3-inch single-sided DVD-R disk for $8 and a single-sided DVD-RW for $12. Double sided –R disks will retail for $15 and double-sided –RW will sell for $23.

The top of the line DCR-DVD300 will retail for approximately $1,100 and features a 3.5-inch LCD screen, Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar optics, a 1-megapixel CCD and USB2.0 connectivity, along with other core Sony Handycam features.

Stepping down is the DVD200 with a 2.5-inch LCD and 1-megapixel CCD for approximately $1000. Finally, the entry-level, $900 DVD100 will offer a 2.5-inch LCD.

Sony also introduced the DCR-IP1 MicroMV Handycam, hailing it as the world’s smallest and lightest tape-based camcorder in the world. It weighs in at 8 ounces and features Carl Zeiss optics, a 10x optical/120x digital zoom, 1-megapixel CCD, still image capture, Sony’s Super SteadyShot, and captures video at 520 lines of horizontal resolution.

It is the first Sony camcorder to incorporate an automatic retractable lens cover that opens and closes when the camcorder is powered on or off. The IP1 will ship with a Handycam Station – a cradle that charges the battery and connects to a TV via S-video and A/V terminal and to the PC via USB 1.1 and IEEE-1394.

The DCR-IP1 will ship in November for approximately $1,200.

Finally, the new DCR-PC330 Handycam is the company’s first single CCD 3.31-megapixel camcorder. It sports a Carl Zeiss lens and a new advanced primary color filter. It will ship in October for a suggested $1,700.

It features a 2.5-inch LCD screen with a hybrid touch panel for menu access, an intelligent pop-up flash, and Sony’s Hologram AF focus system for still pictures in dim-lighting.