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Sony unveils ‘best ever’ HD Handycam

64GB Sony CX520VE Handycam debuts shake technology
Sony Handycam CX520VE HD camcorder

Sony has launched two HD camcorders – the Handycam HDR-CX520VE and 505VE – that Sony claims have the world’s first 3-way shake-cancelling Optical SteadyShot feature.

Which? has reviews of over 40 HD camcorders, including nine Sony models.

The two Handycams are identical apart from their memory capacity – the CX520VE has 64GB of built-in storage, whereas the CX505VE has 32GB, although both take Memory Sticks so their recording capacity can be increased. The camcorders’ measurements are also the same at 125x65x62mm, and they weigh 370g. According to Sony’s figures, the 64GB CX520VE can record 25 hours of 1080i Full HD video with 5.1-channel surround sound.

Sony claims that its new Handycams feature Sony’s ‘best-ever’ HD picture quality, thanks to an ‘ultra-high resolution Exmor R CMOS sensor’, and they also have some other notable new features. The CX520VE and 505VE automatically geotag video clips and photos using built-in GPS, and there are both Face Detection and ‘Face Touch’ functions whereby touching a face on the LCD screen optimises focus, exposure, colour balance and Smile Shutter on the chosen person in the frame. 

The latest Handycams can capture still images at 12Mp resolution, and the Optical SteadyShot function has an ‘Active Mode’ that Sony suggests will give clear, wobble-free images even when filming while walking. 

The CX520VE/505VE models are also the first Handycams to automatically upconvert interlaced (1080i) video signals for 50p (progressive) playback on a 1920×1080/50p compatible TV via HDMI connection, which should result in smoother on-screen images.

Which? camcorder expert Richard Parris says, ‘We’re seeing increasingly sophisticated technology in the latest camcorders, often in very compact models. Sony’s latest innovations will definitely be of interest to our testers when we get the chance to put these camcorders through our full lab tests.’

The CX520VE and CX505VE should be available to buy in the UK from August onwards, but prices are yet to be confirmed.

Sony Handycam and portable DVD recorder

Sony portable DVD burners and accessories

For users who want to archive their video to DVD without using a computer, both the HDR-CX520VE and 505VE are compatible with Sony’s new ultra-compact portable DVD recorder. Available as an optional accessory, the VRD-P1 DVDirect Express connects to the camcorders with USB cable, and offers one-touch recording to High Definition AVCHD discs or Standard Definition DVD discs.

The company also debuted its VRD-MC6 DVDirect burner, that can directly connect to both analogue and digital camcorders, digital cameras and VCRs, and allows images to be previewed on its LCD screen. A range of semi-rigid ‘jewel box’ styled Handycam carry cases, available in off-white, black, dark red and lime green, were also revealed.

There’s also an increase in the maximum capacity of Sony’s latest Memory Stick variant. The Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX will be available in 32GB capacity, and Sony claims that the Pro Duo HX 32GB will transfer 225 minutes of Full HD video to a PC in under 26 minutes, which is three-times faster than a Memory Stick PRO Duo card.

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