Buyer's Guide 2008: Hi-Def Camcorders
Record your life in pro resolution at a comsumer price
Sony HDR-CX7 AVCHD
Sony is known for its innovation in the past with the likes of Walkman and Trinitron technology, so it's no surprise that it dominates the camcorder market with multiple models in a number of formats. One of Sony's top models is the HDR-CX7, an HD camcorder that uses Memory Stick PRO Duo memory cards. According to Sony, each 8 GB card will hold three hours of video when recorded in LP mode.
The palm-sized camera uses Sony's ClearVid CMOS sensor technology and features built-in Dolby Digital surround-sound recording, Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar optics and Super SteadyShot optical image stabilization. A 10x optical/20x digital zoom will also get you close to the action when you need it.
A 6-megapixel still-image mode and 2.7-inch-wide LCD screen are also provided, but the best feature is the camera's Easy Handicam button that locks off the advanced features to leave only the essential buttons for recording-less intimidating as you learn how to use the manual controls. A glossy, all-black body is also an attractive feature on this elegantly designed camcorder. Estimated Street Price: $1,299.
JVC Everio GZ-HD3
The latest camcorder from JVC offers high-definition recording on 60 GBs of hard-disk memory, capable of recording seven hours of HD footage. The GZ-HD3 uses a new 10x Konica Minolta-branded lens with low-dispersion glass.
The palm-sized Everio GZ-HD3 features a lightweight, compact body 27-percent smaller than its previous incarnation, the GZ-HD7. It also includes many useful functions, such as focus assist, a built-in video light that automatically illuminates in low light, Digital Image Stabilization (DIS) for handheld shooting and a widescreen 2.8-inch LCD monitor for bright, high-contrast images while shooting.
This is an attractive camcorder that offers point-and-shoot simplicity. A compact body with simple controls offers direct access to desired scenes, easy scene deletion and basic, in-camera editing.
A slot is also offered in addition to the 60 GB hard drive to allow storage of stills on commonly available memory cards. Transfer to computers or viewing on an HDTV is a breeze with the camcorder's multiple interfaces, including HDMI and USB 2.0 connectors. Estimated Street Price: $1,299. PC