Sony's Projecting Camcorders

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With camcorder manufacturers being squeezed by phones, point-and-shoot cameras and DSLRs all shooting video, how does Sony’s Handycam line compete? 

Besides emphasizing advanced lenses, AVC-HD compatibility, large storage capacity and more inputs and outputs, some Handycams contain projectors.

B&H now offers six Sony Handycam/projectors, three built for North American (NTSC) consumers and three for overseas (PAL) users. The projector is built into the exterior side of the flip-out LCD screen. At 10 Lumens, the projector’s LED lamp puts out a level of brightness that is a small fraction of what you’d get from a dedicated home theater projector. The specification, though, is on par with what you can expect from a pocket-size pico projector.

The Handycam PJ video cameras record at Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. But the picture is scaled down to 640 x 360 pixels when projected. According to Sony, screen size can be adjusted from 10- to 60-inches, based on placing the PJ from 20 inches to 10 feet away from the target surface. (As you enlarge the picture, total darkness and a real projection screen help.) With Sony’s supplied battery fully charged, the camcorder should be able to project for about 1.5 hours. The 3-inch touch screen disengages during projection to save energy. Built-in stereo speakers provide the audio, and the camcorders are equipped with an earphone jack and mini HDMI output for use with external speakers.

The PJ’s projector is dedicated to showing content shot and still stored in the Handycam. So, if you were expecting to be able to connect an external source like an iPod or portable DVD player to take advantage of the projector, forget it. Also, you cannot shoot and project at the same time (though as with many camcorders, you can output a live feed to a TV). And you can’t readily transfer content from a computer to the camcorder, so you can’t use it to project edited or archived video.

Still, not having to crowd around the Handycam when more than two people are sharing playback is a real convenience feature that encourages spontaneity, with friends and family unencumbered by cables or the availability of a TV set. (Think of visitors at Thanksgiving, seeing themselves projected on the dining-room wall, just above the turkey.)

The HDR-PJ10 Camcorder contains 16GB of internal flash memory; the HDR-PJ30V, 32GB of flash memory; and the HDR-PJ50V, a 220GB hard disk drive. Storage expansion is available in all models through the inclusion of a Memory Stick Duo/SD Memory Card slot. Each of the three HDR-PJ camcorders for U.S. consumers offers instant savings of $100, through November 12th.


Sony Handycams with Built-In Projectors

HDR-PJ10

HDR-PJ30V

HDR-PJ50V

HDR-PJ0E

HDR-PJ30E

HDR-PJ50E

Built-in Memory

16GB flash

32GB flash

220GB hard drive

16GB flash

32GB flash

220GB hard drive

Video Recording

1920 x 1080

1920 x 1080/24p

1920 x 1080/24p

1920 x 1080 50/25p

1920 x 1080 50/25p

1920 x 1080 50/25p

 Recording System NTSC NTSC NTSC PAL PAL PAL

Still Image Resolution

3.3MP

7.1MP

7.1MP

3.3MP

7.1MP

7.1MP

Optical Zoom

30x

12x

12x

30x

12x

12x

Active Shoe

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Light

None

Flash & Video

Flash

Flash & Video

Flash & Video

Flash

Embedded GPS

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Weight

10.9 oz

12.2 oz

15.9 oz

10.9 oz / 309 g

12.1 oz / 343 g

14.11 oz / 400 g