Sony launches world's smallest high-def camcorder ... for now

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Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.

CNET.com.au headed down to the Richmond Tigers' training ground, and former home ground, at Punt Road in Melbourne to try out Sony's latest additions to its range of high definition camcorders.

The 60GB AU$2,349 HDR-SR7 in action at Tigerland earlier this week.

Earlier this year Sony added four HD camcorders to their range, two mini-DVD models and two tape models. Now Sony is replacing its popular hard-disk high-def camcorder, the HDR-SR1, with three new models.

The new hard-disk range kicks off with the AU$1,899 40GB HDR-SR5, which like the HDR-UX5 and HDR-HC5, comes equipped with an interpolated 4-megapixel ClearVid CMOS. It misses out on the electronic viewfinder of the interpolated 6.1-megapixel AU$2,349 60GB HDR-SR7 and AU$2,499 100GB HDR-SR8. The SR5 and SR7 should be available now but those hankering for 100GB of vast, hard-disk tundra will have to wait until mid-July. And then, it will only be available through Sony Central and SonyStyle stores.

Following in Panasonic's footsteps, Sony has just announced a flash media high-definition camcorder, the HDR-CX7K. It, however, uses Sony's proprietary Memory Stick format. Sony claims that the CX7K is the world's smallest high-def camcorder -- it bests the previous title-holder, the Panasonic HDC-SD1, by several millimetres in each direction. A 4GB stick comes bundled with the CX7K, which features the same interpolated 6.1-megapixel CMOS as the SR7 and SR8, but misses out on the viewfinder.

All the newly announced models come equipped with a Carl Zeiss 10x zoom lens and 2.7-inch touch-screen LCD. Exclusive to these models, for the moment, are Face Index and Film Roll Index -- attempts to help users find the most interesting parts of the footage they've shot. In Face Index mode, when a user selects a video clip they're shown an index of the faces that appear in that clip. Clicking on a face will bring you to their first appearance in that video. With Film Roll Index, each video is broken up into chapters of equal length -- the length of each chapter is user customisable -- and each chapter given a thumbnail; this should make it easier to find Johnny's first goal among the foul mouthed parental tirades.

Hard-disk
HDR-SR8

  • Price: AU$2,499
  • Available: Mid-July
  • Recording medium: 100GB hard-disk
  • 10x Carl Zeiss T* zoom lens
  • Sensor: CMOS (6-megapixel still)
  • 2.7-inch touch-screen LCD
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • Dual recording (4.6-megapixel still)
  • Smooth slow-mo (up to three seconds)
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • Face Index and Film Roll Index

Read our review here.

HDR-SR7

  • Price: AU$2,349
  • Available: Mid-June
  • Recording medium: 60GB hard-disk
  • 10x Carl Zeiss T* zoom lens
  • Sensor: CMOS (6-megapixel still)
  • 2.7-inch touch-screen LCD
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • Dual recording (4.6-megapixel still)
  • Smooth slow-mo (up to three seconds)
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • Face Index and Film Roll Index

Read our review here.

HDR-SR5

  • Price: AU$1,899
  • Available: Mid-June
  • Recording medium: 40GB hard-disk
  • 10x Carl Zeiss T* zoom lens
  • Sensor: CMOS (4-megapixel still)
  • 2.7-inch touch-screen LCD
  • Dual recording (2.3-megapixel still)
  • Smooth slow-mo (up to three seconds)
  • Face Index and Film Roll Index

Read our hands-on first take here.

Memory Stick
HDR-CX7K

  • Price: AU$2,099
  • Available: Mid-July
  • Recording medium: Memory Stick (4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo included)
  • 10x Carl Zeiss T* zoom lens
  • Sensor: CMOS (6-megapixel still)
  • 2.7-inch touch-screen LCD
  • Smooth slow-mo (up to three seconds)
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • Face Index and Film Roll Index

Read our hands-on first take here.


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