San Diego - Sony formally unveiled Tuesday a pair of FullHD 1080p Handycam camcorders with up to 12-megapixel still image capability.
Models HDR-CX520V ($1,300 suggested retail) and HDR-CX500V ($1,100) offer essentially the same feature sets, with the exception of onboard flash-storage capacity. The HDR-CX520V includes 64GB of storage space while the HDR-CX500V includes 32GB of internal flash memory with up to 25 hours of HD video storage time in LP mode.
Both models are scheduled to ship to dealers in September.
The camcorders feature 60p output, which automatically converts content to 60 progressive fps when connected to a compatible high-definition television.
The camcorders are also equipped with Optical SteadyShot with Active mode, which allows a moveable lens element to shift with greater range of motion during camera shake. The system has been improved with what Sony calls "3-Way Shake Canceling," which reduces hand shake in three directions - vertical and horizontal shake corrected by optical image stabilization, and the third uses electronic image stabilization to correct for lateral roll.
The shake-correction system reduces blur caused by rolling wrist movements.
Sony's Bionz imaging processor in both units adds a Face Touch function that can prioritize focus and exposure on a particular individual's face by touching a detected face on the camcorder's viewscreen before shooting.
The camcorders prioritize and optimize focus, skin color and brightness for the selected individual, even if they leave the scene, for the entire recording session.
The feature enhances the former face-detection feature, which also incorporates Smile Shutter technology to capture candid smiling photos while simultaneously recording video.
When Face Touch is activated, the Smile Shutter feature only activates automatically in response to the smiles of the selected person, Sony said.
"These models combine the best in digital imaging technology, strengthening Sony's industry leadership and meeting demand for both quality camcorders and HD video," stated Kelly Davis, camcorder business director for Sony Electronics. "Expanding our lineup to include Handycam camcorders with large-capacity embedded flash memory allows us to offer consumers flexible recording solutions concentrated in a very portable, compact body."
In addition to built-in flash memory, the models will record content to optional Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX media, which will be available in capacities up to 32GB.
The removable memory format will enable the transfer of almost two hours of FullHD video to a PC in approximately 13 minutes (using the supplied adapter).
The camcorders also include a back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor to enhance low-light performance with approximately twice the sensitivity of Sony's existing front-illuminated CMOS sensor at F2.0, Sony said.
The G lens uses low-dispersion aspheric glass elements for accurate color reproduction and sharp detail. A six-blade aperture produces circular "bokeh" defocus effects.
Also included is a built-in GPS antenna and Navteq digital maps geo-tagging function to record on a map where particular videos and photos were taken. Geo-tagged content is marked by a virtual push pin at each shot location and can be played back on the camcorder map index display on the 3-inch (measured diagonally) touchpanel LCD.
New down-conversion technology enables converting the AVCHD formatted recordings to MPEG2, eliminating the need for a PC when simple DVD creation of recordings is desired using an optional DVDirect Express (VRD-P1) DVD writer.
When the camcorders are connected to the add-on DVDirect Express ($150) via a USB cable, they will instantly burn HD video footage onto a DVD, Sony said.
The camcorder will also down-convert content and burn DVDs in standard-definition picture quality.
Other features include a built-in zoom microphone with Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound and an instant power-on feature when the LCD is opened.
The camcorders' advanced user interface features a new operation bar, which allows scroll searching for all menu items, and a customizable shortcut menu.
Improving upon the Highlight Playback feature that personalizes video footage by generating a video slideshow with theme transitions and background music, Sony introduces Highlight Scenario, which saves up to eight highlight scenes for viewing again later.
Picture Motion Browser software is included with both camcorders to view, edit, organize and upload images to many major video- and photo-sharing Web sites.