Sony has announced their 2013 lineup of Handycam camcorders. These are consumer and enthusiast-level cameras with a host of new features, many of which have trickled down from Sony’s prosumer models. The new Handycams range from the entry-level HDR-CX220 to the HDR-TD30V, a 3D camcorder for advanced enthusiasts. This article will highlight some of the more notable upgrades and help you determine which Handycam is the right one for you.
The HDR-CX220 and HDR-CX230 are the entry-level models. Both camcorders offer a 1080/60p recording mode, SteadyShot image stabilization and 32x extended zoom. However, the CX230 adds 8GB of built-in Flash Memory, which provides enough space for 3 hours and 10 minutes of recording time. They each feature a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with 27x optical zoom ratio and a 35mm equivalent focal length of approximately 29.8-953.6mm.
At the heart of these cameras is an 8.9MP Exmor R CMOS sensor, which maximizes the light-gathering area per pixel for improved performance in low light. In addition to Full HD 1920x1080 resolution video, the CX220 and CX230 are also capable of capturing 8.9MP still photographs. Photos and videos can be monitored and played back on a 2.7” Clear Photo LCD with 230K resolution.
Another handy feature is a built-in USB 2.0 cable that stows away in the hand strap and provides for convenient charging and data transfer without having to juggle a separate cable. While the CX230 is black only, the CX220 will be available in black, blue, red and silver.
The HDR-PJ230 is the next step up from the HDR-CX230. It is a nearly identical camera with the addition of a built-in projector. Nestled in the articulated LCD panel, the projector has a brightness rating of 13 lumens, which is suitable for projecting images up to 100” diagonally.
The HDR-CX290 is a very similar camcorder that offers improved Optical SteadyShot image stabilization and 50x Extended Zoom. In addition, the CX290’s Intelligent Auto mode improves upon traditional auto modes by automatically selecting from among 90 different combinations of preset scene modes, including Portrait, Baby Walk, Tripod, Backlight, Landscape, Spotlight, Twilight, Macro and Low light.
The HDR-CX380 features several significant advantages over the cameras above. On paper, the 8.9MP Exmor R CMOS sensor and video-recording formats look identical, but the CX380 uses a completely different lens. The built-in Sony G lens has a 35mm equivalent of 26.8-804mm and a 30x optical zoom ratio.
At 3” diagonally, the CX380’s LCD screen is slightly larger and is now a touch screen, which can be used to select faces or other subjects that you want to keep in focus. The amount of built-in memory has also been doubled. 16GB of embedded Flash Memory can store up to 6 hours and 25 minutes of high-definition video in the HD LP recording mode. Moreover, the HDR-CX380’s Intelligent Auto mode is capable of 180 different scene combinations.
A slight upgrade, the HDR-PJ380 adds a built-in projector. Much like the projector in the PJ230, brightness is rated at 13 lumens, for projecting images up to 100” diagonally. However, the PJ380 also features an HDMI multi-terminal, which allows you to input content from external devices like a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
The CX380 is available only in black, but the PJ380 will be available in black, white and red.
You may have picked up on Sony’s CX/PJ formula. Like the CX380 and the PJ380, the HDR-CX430 and HDR-PJ430 are practically identical to each other, with the exception of the PJ430’s built-in projector. Both of these cameras take a firm step into the mid-range of their category; Balanced Optical SteadyShot, 24p recording, 32GB of built-in Flash Memory, CinemaTone presets and Wi-Fi connectivity are among their notable advantages.
Balanced Optical SteadyShot with Active Mode offers significantly better results than standard SteadyShot schemes. The entire optical block is isolated from the body of the camera and moves independently to reduce the effects of camera movement while maintaining the integrity of the optical path. This is a feature we first saw implemented—with considerable success—in the HXR-NX30, a prosumer camcorder that Sony released in 2012.
Wi-Fi connectivity will require an optional accessory, the ADP-WL1M1, which is not included. This module will mount upon the camcorder’s Multi-Interface shoe, which also provides an interface for a range of optional accessories like video lights and microphones.
With a 20.4MP Exmore R CMOS sensor, HDR-PJ650V is the first of two new, high-end Handycams. It features similar ergonomics to the other Handycams, but the control layout has been tweaked to accommodate a manual control dial for adjusting iris, shutter, exposure and white balance. This comprehensive set of manual controls should appeal to advanced shooters.
PJ650V features a projector with 20 lumens brightness, an HDMI input terminal, Balanced Optical SteadyShot, 32GB of embedded Flash Memory and a Multi-Interface shoe. It also adds a 5.1 surround sound microphone, wind-noise reduction and a feature Sony calls “Closer Voice” for much improved sound recordings.
The HDR-PJ790V is Sony’s top-of-the-line consumer camcorder. The Exmor R CMOS sensor has 24.1MP, there is 96GB of internal memory, and the 10x Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar Sonar lens has a 35mm equivalent of approximately 26-260mm. Like the PJ650V, the PJ790V has a 5.1 surround-sound microphone. However, the PJ790V’s mic is isolated from the camcorder itself, which reduces the amount of background noise. A windscreen is also provided. In addition to comprehensive manual controls, the PJ790V’s advanced controls include expanded focus, zebra and peaking.
Double your fun: the HDR-TD30V is a stereoscopic Handycam. This camcorder features two 20.4MP Exmor R CMOS sensors and dual wide angle Sony G lenses, a configuration which allows the TD30V to capture true 1920 x1080 3D video. Most other cameras in this class achieve the 3D effect by splitting a single 1920 x 1080 signal. Of course, these and many of the other features that we’ve already discussed in this article make the TD30V one of Sony’s most advanced Handycams.
For more information on Sony’s new Handycam camcorders, please visit the B&H NYC SuperStore, call us at 1-800-606-6969 or contact our sales professionals via Live Chat.