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Sony Unveils Its 2nd Consumer HD Camera

Sony introduced its second consumer-level, high-definition camcorder, offering 1,080i resolution and a compact form factor.

The HDR-HC1 will ship in July and retail for approximately $2,000. Unlike its predecessor, the FX1, the HC1 is more compact and lightweight.

It uses a CMOS image sensor and a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with a 10x optical/120x digital zoom. Due to its CMOS technology, Sony said it was able to prolong battery life on the HC1, allowing the supplied InfoLithium M battery to record 90 minutes of continuous video, depending on recording mode.

The unit can snap 2.8-megapixel still images and save them to a memory stick PRO Duo card. It records video to a miniDV or HDV tape. It features PictBridge compatibility for direct printing and an IEEE-1394 interface.

The model weighs in at 1.5 pounds and features a 2.7-inch wide touch-panel LCD screen. Video can be recorded and viewed in either 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratios (in DV mode). The HC1 offers fully automatic and manual controls, a built-in microphone, an intelligent pop-up flash, and Super SteadyShot image stabilization.

Sony packed several shooting modes into the new camcorder, such as cinematic mode which gives video a “film like” appearance. It can also record video in low or no-light settings with Super NightShot Plus.

The FX1 will stay on the market as it’s more of a prosumer model, a Sony spokesperson said.