Digital still photography has leapt from digital cameras to be a premiere step-up feature for cellular phones, PDAs and camcorders. Sony's first mass market MiniDV camcorder to offer still image capture to its Memory Stick flash memory cards, the DCR-TRV22, rode a rising tide of consumer fascination with digital photography to land atop the NPD Group's dollar-sales-leader chart from June 2003 through May 2004.
"This camcorder was our first significant compact unit with still capture capability in our entry-level MiniDV offerings," said Linda Vuolo, director of camcorder products, Sony.
The unit snapped VGA-quality (640 by 480) photos that, while small next to the galloping megapixel standards inherited from the digital still camera market, resonated with video consumers interested in value-added features.
"The success of the TRV22 can be attributed mostly to its feature set," Vuolo noted.
The TRV22, which carried a suggested retail price of $699, featured an MPEG Movie EX mode, which allows users to capture MPEG1 format video directly to a Memory Stick to the capacity of the card. It also included several of Sony's proprietary video features, including Super SteadyShot image stabilization, analog-to-digital conversion, Super NightShot infrared shooting, and an InfoLithium battery with the AccuPower Meter System, which displays remaining battery life in minutes.
Boosting the TRV22 was Sony's ability to pack the aforementioned features into a smaller and lighter form factor than its predecessors.
"The TRV22 was 28 percent smaller and 22 percent lighter compared to similar models from the prior year," Vuolo said.
Top 10 Camcorders
Dollar sales at retail, June 2003 – May 2004