Sony adds new pro-level HDV camcorder

The camcorder features a new fixed 'G Lens' system, native progressive recording capabilities, increased sensitivity for low-light conditions and an array of other features.

Sony Thursday announced its HDV compact camcorder for professional creatives, the HVR-Z5E, as well as the memory recording unit, the HVR-MRC1K. The camcorder features a new fixed 'G Lens' system, native progressive recording capabilities, increased sensitivity for low-light conditions and an array of other features that the company says are designed for general TV production, videographers, budget movie-makers and corporate video production professionals.

The memory recording unit offers a CompactFlash recording option, not only for the new camcorder, but for all existing Sony professional HDV camcorders.

Sony describes the HVR-Z5E as "a natural upgrade for DSR-PD170P owners."

The new camcorder uses Sony's new 1/3-inch 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system enhanced by the technology of Exmor. The company says that with its 45-degree rotated pixel layout, the 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system offers sufficient pixel surface area while it keeps high resolution. The technology of Exmor features a column-parallel analogue-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 camcorder. Sony says that the integration of the two new technologies allows the new camcorder to perform significantly better in low-light environments with sensitivity of 1.5 lux.

The 'G Lens' incorporates Sony's unique optical design and quality control and has been optimized to complement the camcorder's advanced image sensor and image-processing technology. This lens offers a wide 29.5mm angle lens and brand new 20x optical zoom, as well as three ND filters (1/4, 1/16, 1/64) and independent focus, zoom and iris rings.

The HVR-Z5E also offers 1080/25p Native progressive recording along with the flexibility to switch between HDV/DVCAM and DV recording (1080/50i, 576/50i). 60Hz operation will also be available via an optional service upgrade. The camcorder can down-convert material from HD to SD, and output the video signals through its i.LINK interface and other SD output connectors. HDMI output is also available.

The HVR-Z5E is equipped with the same new XtraFine LCD and XtraFine EVF as seen on the HVR-Z7E and HVR-S270E. It 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-Z5E will be available to buy in December, and will be shown for the first time at this year's IBC trade show in Amsterdam, which kicks off this weekend. In addition at this year's IBC, Sony will also launch the new HYBRID memory recorder, the HVR-MRC1K. Previously, it was supplied as an accessory with the HVR-Z7E and HVR-S270E, but strong customer feedback sees it launch as a product in its own right.

This unit captures the HDV1080i, DVCAM, or DV stream output from the camcorder and allows users to record HDV/DVCAM/DV files to a standard CompactFlash solid-state memory card, while users are simultaneously recording to tape. 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-MRC1K docked at the rear of the HVR-Z5E. The new HVR-Z5E has been designed specially for the HVR-MRC1K memory recording unit offering direct attachment to the rear of the camcorder, eliminating 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/DVCAM/DV stream and supplies power to the unit. For all other existing professional HDV and DVCAM users, the HVR-MRC1K comes supplied with a mounting bracket to mount the unit on the cold shoe of the camcorder.

The new HVR-MRC1K is planned to be available in October.

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