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Sony Debuts Smaller HD Camcorder

Sony announced a new 1,080i HD camcorder model, the HDR-HC3.

The unit, shipping in April for an estimated $1,700, is smaller than its predecessor and features an HDMI output and a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens.

The camcorder records video onto MiniDV tape and saves 4-megapixel still images to an optional Memory Stick PRO Duo card. Still images can be simultaneously captured while filming video in two modes. In high-definition mode, the HC3 captures 2.3 megapixel stills in the 16:9 aspect ratio. In standard definition, the camcorder snaps 1.7-megapixel images in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

A smooth slow record function lets users playback three seconds of video in 12 seconds.

The HC3 incorporates the Easy Handcam button found on other Sony camcorders. The button reduces menu options to those required for basic video recording. It also features a user-assignable dial for custom settings.

Additional features include a 2.7-inch touch panel SwivelScreen LCD, Super SteadyShot image stabilization, a built-in microphone, a built-in flash, and a supplied InfoLithium P battery for up to 90 minutes of recording.