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JVC Intros Microdrive-Based 3-CCD Camcorders

JVC brought two new 3-CCD camcorders to the PMA show, here, including it’s first miniDV with 3-CCD and a new model in its Everio line of microdrive-based camcorders.

The GR-X5 will be JVC’s first miniDV model to employ three individual CCD sensors for red, green and blue colors. It is also capable of capturing 5-megapixel still images via pixel-shift technology.

According to JVC, pixel shift allows the camcorder to capture double the 1,228,800 pixel information contained in the sensors in both the horizontal and vertical directions, creating a full color image pixel count multiplied by four for still photographs.

The camcorder also incorporates JVC’s proprietary Megabrid imaging engine. According to the company, the engine separately optimizes image quality for video and digital stills to offer a high signal-to-noise ratio for moving pictures, and higher resolution stills. To further reduce noise, the camcorder uses the company’s 3-Dimension Noise Reduction (3D NR), migrated from JVC’s high-definition digital VCRs. JVC said the technology reduces video noise by up to 30 percent.

Finally, the model sports the company’s Super High-Band Processor which JVC says restores the high-band components of the luminance signal to ensure a clearer picture.

The camcorder is shaped like an SLR still camera with a 2.5-inch LCD at the rear of the model that can be flipped out for various viewing angles. It offers a mode dial for accessing manual focus, exposure and program auto-exposure modes.

The camera is PictBridge-enabled for printing still photographs directly when connected to a printer via USB.

Its data battery system displays remaining battery and recording time on the LCD screen when using the supplied battery pack or other compatible JVC data batteries. An auto-flash is offered to improve low-light photography and includes a red-eye reduction mode.

The camcorder will ship with CyberLink DVD software for creating DVD movies, PowerProducer 2 Gold for authoring video clips in any order to DVD, and PowerDirector 3 for non-linear editing. PowerDirector 3 can also convert movies to a number of file formats including DV-AVI, Windows-AVI, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, Windows Media Video and RealVideo.

The X5 will ship March; pricing had not been determined at press time.

The company also announced a 3-CCD version of its Microdrive-based Everio camcorder, the GZ-MC500. The unit can record up to 60 minutes of MPEG-2 video onto its included 4GB Microdrive.

Like the X5, the MC500 can capture 5-megapixel stills via pixel shift technology with a maximum resolution of 2,560 by 1,920. The X5 also employs JVC’s Megabrid Imaging Engine.

The X5 offers a choice of four recording modes. The highest quality mode records at a fixed data rate of 8.88 Mbps including Dolby Digital audio — 8.5Mbps for the video and 384Kbps for the Dolby Digital Audio.

It uses an10x optical zoom for video and an 8x zoom for stills. The camcorder is capable of recording native 4:3 or 16:9 (squeeze) video.

According to the company, a floating suspension system was employed to dampen vibrations that could impair writing data to the Microdrive. Polymer shock absorbers automatically engage when the disk is writing/reading and disengage to disgorge the disk.

The X5 features manual controls including a manual focus ring on the lens, and a Program AE dial to access shutter and aperture priority, twilight, sports, snow, portrait and auto/manual modes. It displays a real-time histogram on the LCD and offers autobracketing to automatically capture three photos at different exposure setting.

The unit uses the rotating grip design employed on the current Everio MC200.

In addition to microdrives, the unit can work with CompactFlash Type II memory cards, which can fit into the microdrive card slot. There is also a separate slot for SD memory cards.

For transferring still images, the unit offers USB 2.0 connectivity and support for the PictBridge direct printing standard.

The Everio GZ-MC500 will be available in March with the same suite of bundled video software as the aforementioned X5 and an AV/S-video cable.