CES 2007: Sony unveils 16 new camcorders

Sony launched 16 new camcorders at CES, lead by four key additions to its lineup of high-definition Handycams - the HDR-UX7 and HDR-UX5 AVCHD DVD models and the HDR-HC7 and HDR-HC5 HDV tape camcorders.

The flagship HDR-UX7 and HDR-HC7 models both incorporate Sony's three-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensor, which is capable of recording in 1080i, as well as snapping six-megapixel digital stills.

The lower-spec HDR-UX5 and HDR-HC7 models are also capable of high-def filming, but only boast two-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensors. This gives the HDR-UX5 and HDR-HC7 a maximum digital photo resolution of four-megapixels.

All four new models feature Sony's smooth slow record and dual record modes. Smooth slow record enables users to create slow motion video by playing back short video clips at 240 fps. The dual record mode allows the new camcorders to shoot video and capture still images simultaneously.

The HDR-HC7 and HDR-HC5 camcorders will be available in the US in February for about $1,400 and $1,100, respectively. The HDR-UX7 and HDR-UX5 models, meanwhile, will go on sale in March for about $1,300 and $1,000, respectively.

And now the other 12...

Lower down the evolutionary scale, Sony also took the wraps off of four new DVD camcorders (the DCR-DVD108, DCR-DVD308, DCR-DVD408 and DCR-DVD508) and three new mini DV models (the DCR-HC28, DCR-HC38 and DCR-HC48).

The DCR-DVD508 leads the line. It's designed, says Sony, "to appeal to those who prefer the convenience of having one imaging device". This DCR-DVD508 features a three-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensor and Enhanced Imaging Processor. It can also take six-megapixel digital still photos and features the same smooth slow record and dual record functionality as the high-def models.

The DCR-DVD408 features a 2.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, 80x digital zoom and is capable of snapping 4MP stills. The DCR-DVD308 below it has a 1 megapixel CCD with a 2000x digital zoom, while the entry-level DCR-DVD108 incoporates a 680K pixel CCD.

As far as the mini DV cameras go, the top-of-the-line DCR-HC48 model features one-megapixel digital still photo capture, a 25x optical zoom, a wide 16:9 aspect ratio LCD screen, and a supplied Handycam Station for a quick, one-time connection to a TV, PC or printer. The alternative DCR-HC38 has a powerful 40x optical zoom and wide viewing angle, plus Sony's idiot-proof on-screen usage guide.

Finally, Sony has added five new hard disk drive camcorders to the Handycam line-up - the DCR-SR200, DCR-SR300, DCR-SR42, DCR-SR62 and DCR-SR82 models. You can find more information about all of these camcorders online by visiting Sony's CES page .