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It is remarkable how much technology evolved so fast. In about five years most of the existing devices have gotten a serious upgrade becoming more high tech that we could probably expected. However, new gadgets are still not released on the market, most manufacturers waiting for the economic crisis to diminish its proportions, and also most manufacturers wait for 2010 before releasing new products (Apple for example who is still yet undecided when in 2010 will release the Apple tablet, trying to reinstate the success of the iPod in the beginning of 2001).
In a previous article I have presented the Sony’s Webbie HD line which is the entry level line in the camcorder line. However, the Webbie’s are not exactly camcorders, but more a point and shoot video camera.
On the opposite side of Sony’s portfolio you can find the high definition video camcorders, some with normal features, and some with features you couldn’t probably imagine a few years ago. In this line, with a normal design for a camcorder and average specs (although for many, this camera could be considered the high end model) you can find the 120 GB High Definition Handycam camcorder.
In terms of keys features, this Sony camcorder includes high definition video recording in 1920 x 1080 pixels, 120 GB onboard memory, GPS receiver, 12 megapixel photo resolution, and the CMOS sensor: 1 / 2.88 inches Exmor R. in terms of design this 120 GB Handycam sports a solid design. With an all black matte plastic body (which doesn’t feel cheap at all, basically because is a superior plastic), this camcorder looks quite good because of the metallic silver finishes.
The opening panel sports all the necessary logos, “HD”, “Sony”, “Handycam”, and the light grey inserts with “12.0 megapixel” and “HDD” logos. On the case you still get some interesting touches like the metallic look on the top side of the camcorder, the “Sony” logo under the 12 megapixels lenses, and the list could go on. Overall, Sony didn’t try to create the most stylish camcorder on the market, but it did create a nice looking design with an excellent build which not only looks solid, but feels solid also.
You get no flex or weird noises when you press the camcorder more than you should. With a height of 71 mm (or 2 7/8 inches), wide of 75 mm (3 inches), deep of 137 mm (5 Â½ inches), the 120 GB High Definition Handycam camcorder weights about 580 grams (or 1 lb 4 oz) with the battery. Regarding the battery department, Sony included a NP FH60 Lithium Ion battery with Accu Power Meter System.
While using the camcorder the power consumption should only arise at 4.4 Watt. An important feature in any camcorder is the LCD screen. Sony included in this model a 3.2 inches wide screen diagonal LCD, with the Extra Fine technology and an aspect ratio of 16 to 9. This LCD is not only bright under any environment conditions, but it also provides vibrant colors, including excellent image rendering, with almost one megapixel resolution, to be more exact 921000 pixels. Even more, the viewing angles are quite good offering good user experience under any necessary video or photo conditions.
In regarding the inputs and outputs on the 120 GB Sony camcorder, you should probably guessed by now that there are a lot of slots, ports and jack, since this camcorder has to be extremely well featured. Therefore, you get the S Video, Audio and component with the remote option into the same Audio and Video remote terminal. Also, the Audio output and Video output share the same jack, while the digital HDMI port only accepts HDMI connectors.
You get one 2.0 USB slot which will enable the camcorder’s connection to any computer that sports the compatible operating system. Also, added around the camcorders case are the component video outputs, headphone jack, microphone input, S video output, and the active interface Shoe (which basically allows you to connect any compatible accessories, like special microphones, or external lights, which will expand the camcorder’s capabilities).
Other excellent features, which are not lenses or optics related, are the 120 GB embedded hard drive, which can easily provide up to 48 hours of high definition video recording. Also, you can save even more hours depending on the recording format chosen. Therefore, let’s take a closer look to the available recording formats.
Basically all the recorded video can be stored (depending on the recorded format) with the following video encoding, MPEG4 with the H.264 / AVC (for the high definition video format), or the MPEG2 (for the slow definition recording format). The embedded 120 GB memory can store about 870 minutesÂ with the FH (HD), 1770 minutes with the HQ (HD), up to 2150 minutes in SP (HD), 2870 in LP (HD), up to 1770 minutes HQ (in SD), 2620 minutes in SP (SD), and up to 5020 minutes in LP (SD). If the embedded memory is not enough you can always expand the memory with an memory card, Memory Stick PRO Duo Media. Another excellent feature is the built in GPS receiver.
Therefore, you can easily take this camcorder in any travel or trip since it will be more useful than you might think. Also, beside pointing the right direction or showing the current location, this GPS receiver will also tag (if you wish) the photos with not only the date and time, but also with the location. Other excellent features, beside the soon to be mentioned optics, are the face detection feature, the excellent optical image stabilization (Steady Shot), the smile shutter technology, Dynamic range optimizer, the preset scene modes for a better user experience (such as the snow mode, portrait mode, auto mode, candle mode, twilight mode, firework mode, landscape mode, spotlight mode, sunrise mode, and sunset mode). Probably one of the most important features offered by a camcorder is the dual record capture.
Basically this feature only works with the lenses set at 8.3 megapixels, but even so, isn’t it extremely practical to take images while recording videos without pausing anything. Just take pictures with one shooting mode and with the other shooting mode record continuously videos. Another smart move from Sony is the Dolby Digital 5 in 1 channel recording. Therefore, you are not only getting excellent videos but also great digital sound to complete the recording experience, pushing this camcorder beyond any limits from the average amateur camcorder line to almost high line.
If you are only interested in overlooking a recent video recorded, just open the LCD display (the camcorder will power on automatically) and user the great user interface to find the specific video by searching it by selected criteria. In terms of handling and usability you should have no problems in recording or using special controls since they are all well added on the LCD cover.
As a general view of the technical features, this camcorder sports a 1 / 2.88 inches Exmor R CMOS sensor, with the BIONZ image processor. The effective still resolution is about 12 megapixel, with G lens, and in 16 to 9 aspect ratio 43 mm to 516 mm, while in 4 to 3 aspect ratio 52 mm to 624 mm. the aperture included is varying from F1.8 to F3.4, while the total digital zoom reaches 150, with a focal distance starting from 5.5 mm up to 66 mm.
The available optical zoom is about 12x, while the shutter speed can vary depending on the scene selection form 1/8 to 1/800. The maximum video resolution is limited to 1920 x 1080 pixels, with to video aspect ratio, 16 to 9 or 4 to 3.
No need to worry about further editing of all your photos or videos since you get several important features for a good camcorder, such as low light capability, face index, x.v color, fade effect, slide show mode, and even Bravia sync technology (just use the HDMI port and connect your camcorder to your Bravia LCD for a full user experience).
This Sony device is compatible with several operating systems, such as Windows 2000 Professional Service Pack 4, Windows XP 32 bit Service Pack 3, and the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (both 32 bit and 36 bit). However, if you own a Mac computer don’t bother connecting this camcorder to your Leopard operating system or Snow Leopard operating system, since it won’t work. In this case your only solution is to install boot camp and use the Windows operating system when connecting the camcorder to your Mac computer.
Sony added in the shipping box beside the actual camcorder and battery pack, the AC adaptor, the component audio and video cable, the CD software, the audio and video connecting cable, the USB cable, and the remote commander. Overall, the Sony 120 GB High Definition Handycam camcorder is an excellent device packing more than enough features and specs to please anyone who is looking for a good balanced amateur – professional camcorder. However, this device doesn’t come cheap at all, with the $1299.99 price tag, you should really think twice about your budget before purchasing it.
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