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2009 Camcorders To Add GPS, iPod Transfer

Hot new camcorder offerings slated for 2009 International CES will include a range of next-generation features including models that incorporate GPS tagging, those with one-button video transferral to video iPods, and an expansion of high-def models that employ the space-efficient H.264 format.

Sony will debut its first camcorders to incorporate built-in GPS for geo-tagging videos as well as new HD pocket camcorders.

The company’s flagship HDR-XR520V HD camcorder will be the company’s first with a built-in GPS receiver and Navteq maps, allowing consumers to plot out where video clips were recorded on mapping programs that support geo-tagging, and on the camcorder’s menu interface.

Available in March for $1,500 the unit also sports a 240GB hard disk drive (HDD), records 1,920 by 1,080 video and takes 12-megapixel still images. The flagship will incorporate Sony’s Exmor-R sensor, optical image stabilization, face detection and smile shutter — which snaps a still image when a subject smiles during video recording. The unit will also include a Sony G-branded lens, the first time the company has used its own brand on a camcorder lens.

Also due in March, the XR500V shares many of the features of the XR520V with a 120GB HDD and a $1,300 suggested retail.

The $1,000 XR200V is another HD model featuring a 120GB HDD, 1,920 by 1,080 recording, 4-megapixel still capture and built-in GPS. It includes face digital, optical stabilization, smile shutter, face detection and a 15x optical zoom Carl Zeiss T* lens.

Rounding out the hard disk-based HD lineup is the XR100 with an 80GB HDD, optical stabilization, a 10x Carl Zeiss T* lens, face detection and Dolby digital 5.1 recording via a built-in zoom microphone. It will ship in March for $750.

Samsung will show a pair of flash-memory-based HD camcorders based on the H.264 format at International CES.

The units, which will ship in April, include the HMX-H104 ($699), which features 16GB of internal memory, and the H105 ($799), which offers 32GB of internal flash.

Both offer 1,920 by 1,080 recording, a 10x optical zoom lens with optical stabilization, 2.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 2.7-inch touch-screen LCD and 4-megapixel still capture.

Canon pulled back the curtain on 12 new camcorders for 2009, half of which will be high-definition, AVCHD format models. Price and availability were not available at press time.

All of the company’s flash-memory-based models will incorporate a new quick-charge feature, which gives the unit three minutes of recording time for every minute of battery charging.

In the company’s Vixia line of HD camcorders, the new flash-memory-based models will all include a new video snapshot mode, which captures video in four-second clips. Bundled software lets users add music to the clips to create slideshows.

All of Canon’s HD models will record at a maximum bit rate of 24MBps, the highest supported by the AVCHD format, and feature a new menu interface.

JVC will jump on the flash-memory camcorder bandwagon with its own twist — new models will offer dual memory card slots for added capacity.

All of JVC’s new camcorders will include a Video iPod button that instantly transfers video files to iTunes, and an “upload” button that sends files to YouTube. They will also include a new Gigabrid processor, an automatic lens cover, LED lighting and a new digest playback function which automatically plays a short highlight from recorded video.

The AVCHD-based HD Everios will record 1,920 by 1,080 video. In Super XP mode, the units will record at 24MBps, the highest bit rate supported in the AVCHD format. They will all incorporate a 20x optical zoom lens, a new Gigabred processor with a 30 percent signal-to-noise ratio improvement vs. 2008 models, a 2.8-megapixel CMOS sensor and face detection.

The GZ-HM200 is JVC’s first SD-based HD camcorder. It features dual memory card slots with continuous recording from one to the other. It will ship in March in black, red and blue for $579. The HD300 (February, $699) features a 60GB hard drive while the HD320 sports a 120GB HDD for $799.

The hard-disk-based GZ-MG630 features a 60GB HDD, a 40x optical zoom and a choice of blue, red or silver body colors. It ships this month for $429.

The MG670 is a high-definition model (1,920 by 1,080, MPEG-2) and packs an 80GB HDD, HDMI output, 40x optical zoom and ships this month for $479. The MG680 adds a 120GB HDD and will ship in February for $549.