Sony intros two new HDV camcorders

Sony Electronics this week rolled out two new HDV camcorders that feature interchangeable lens systems, native progressive recording, increased sensitivity for low-light conditions, hybrid solid-state recording and other features designed for video production professionals and pro-sumers.

The new models are the HVR-Z7U (handheld) and HVR-S270U (shoulder-mount) camcorders. Sony is also introducing the HVR-M35U playback and recording deck. These new products expand Sony’s line-up of HD production technologies, which includes the recently introduced PMW-EX1 XDCAM EX solid-state memory camera and the soon-to-be-available HVR-HD1000U shoulder-mount HDV camcorder.

“These new tools enhance the versatility of our professional HDV lineup, and open up a world of possibilities for HD digital video production,” said Bob Ott, vice president of professional video and audio products for Sony Electronics. “Sony’s new HDV camcorders and decks are ideal for documentaries, electronic newsgathering, independent production, music videos, web streaming, and more.”

The HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U can switch between 1080p, 1080i in the HDV format, DVCAM, and DV recording, and both can down-convert material from HD to SD, and output the video signals through its i.LINK interface and other SD output connectors. The HVR-Z7U has an HDMI output. The HVR-S270U is available with HD-SDI or SD-SDI connectivity, and also supports embedded audio and timecode.

The new camcorders use Sony’s 1/3-inch 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system enhanced by Exmor technology. With a 45-degree rotated pixel layout, the 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system offers sufficient pixel surface area while maintaining high resolution. The Exmor technology features a unique column-parallel analog-to-digital conversion technique and dual noise canceling, resulting in high-quality digital signals with extremely low noise, similar to the imaging technology used in the PMW-EX1 camera. The two new technologies combine to allow the new camcorders to perform significantly better in low-light environments with sensitivity of 1.5 lux.

This imaging technology is complemented by Sony’s Enhanced Imaging Processor (EIP) system to achieve high resolution, high sensitivity, wide dynamic range, and excellent color reproduction.

Users can attach different lenses for extra flexibility, and both models have a universal standard 1/3-inch bayonet mount mechanism for easier lens changes.

Each camcorder comes standard with a 12x high-quality, multi-purpose Carl Zeiss lens for HD video, with a Vario-Sonnar T* coating to reduce reflections. A specially designed 8x wide-angle lens is also available as an option.

These new lenses give the camcorders the same functionality as Sony’s popular fixed-lens camcorders like the HVR-Z1U and HVR-V1U, thanks to built-in features such as auto-focus, optical stabilizer, and automatic back-focus adjustment.

Using a special adaptor, users can also attach the α lens series designed for Sony’s consumer digital SLR still cameras.

The camcorders offer 1080, 24p and 30p native progressive recording. The 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system and EIP technology create true 1080p images, which can then be recorded as progressive signals by the HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U camcorders in the HDV format. The progressive HDV streams can be output from an i.LINK interface and used for progressive editing with compatible NLE software.

The HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U use Sony’s XtraFine™ LCD and XtraFine electronic viewfinder for high-resolution and high-contrast images with remarkable color reproduction. The HVR-S270U features a new LCD/EVF configuration named “Dual Finder,” where the LCD located on the EVF enables multiple styles of operation.

The new camcorders offer the option of hybrid recording when using a supplied memory-recording unit, which attaches directly to the back of the HVR-Z7U or the side of the HVR-S270U and eliminates the need for cables. The unit automatically synchronizes with the recording action of the camcorder and a special shoe connector inputs and outputs an HDV/DV stream and supplies power to the unit.

This unit captures the HDV1080i, DVCAM, or DV stream output from the camcorder and can record HDV/DVCAM/DV files to a standard CompactFlash solid-state memory card, while users are simultaneously recording to tape.

It will be compatible with Sony’s Professional 306x CompactFlash card as well as standard CompactFlash cards (2GB minimum capacity, 133x minimum speed). The recording times on an 8 and 16 GB CompactFlash card in HDV, DVCAM and DV format are approximately 36 and 72 minutes**, respectively.

The HVR-Z7U can deliver more than 60 minutes of recording time on miniDV videotapes, and approximate recording times of 63 minutes with Sony’s DigitalMaster cassettes (PHDVM-63DM). The HVR-S270U also accepts standard-size cassettes to provide more than 4.5 hours of continuous recording, with approximate recording times of 4 hours, 36 minutes** on Sony PHDV-276DM videotapes.

The HVR-M35U record and playback deck is compatible with HDV native progressive recording modes and supports HD/SD-SDI output with embedded audio and timecode data. It has a 60i/50i switchable function, and supports HDV1080i (60i/50i/24p/30p/25p) and DVCAM/DV (60i/50i).

The deck supports standard- and mini-size cassette, and accepts standard cassettes shot on the HVR-S270U or other shoulder-mount DVCAM camcorders. It can play back four-channel audio data in HDV1080i format recorded by the HVR-S270U, and it can also play back four-channel audio data in the DVCAM format. It also includes a 2.7-inch wide Clear Photo LCD plus™ screen, monaural speaker, edge crop adjust and a Duplicate Plus function for copying video and audio from another VTR.

A range of accessories is available for the new camcorders, including a Camcorder Support, an AC Adaptor Charger with four-battery slot, an LCD hood and more.

The new products are each planned to be available in February, at the following suggested list prices:
HVR-S270U camcorder, $10,500
HVR-Z7U camcorder, $6,850
HVR-M35U deck, $5,540

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters


The Latest in Sports Video Production & Technology
in Your Inbox for FREE

Daily Email Newsletters Monday - Friday