updated 02:00 pm EDT, Wed April 25, 2007
Sony CX7 AVCHD Camera
Sony this afternoon launched a full-scale update of its HD-capable Handycams with three new models. By far the most groundbreaking is the HDR-CX7 (pictured), Sony says. The camera is the smallest ever to record video in AVCHD (H.264) format, and weighs just 15 ounces with a battery. It achieves this by relying on Memory Stick Pro instead of larger DVDs, hard drives, or tapes; despite the smaller capacity, the CX7 can still fit as much as three hours of 1080-line HD video on an 8GB card in an economic long-play mode. The sensor can also capture 6-megapixel still shots.
The CX7 and the other cameras released today also support HDMI 1.3 output and the accompanying xvYCC "deep color" format: the combination captures a far wider range of colors than earlier cameras, and will display a live feed at full quality on HDTVs equipped to handle the new standard. A 10X optical zoom is similarly universal for the line.
Beyond the flash-based camera will be two hard disk-based models for videographers who need more footage, Sony notes. At the peak of the range is the HDR-SR7, which shares the same sensor as the CX7 but swaps in a 60GB hard drive for recording up to 22 hours of 1080 HD video. The starter HDR-SR5 model ships with a reduced sensor that captures 2-megapixel video and 4-megapixel for photography.
All three cameras are due to ship in June. Prices start at $1,100 for the SR5 and jump to $1,200 and $1,400 for the CX7 and SR7 respectively.