Sony's PM1 life-cam Flips into action

A bit like a mirror but lower resolution and you need a computer
A bit like a mirror but lower resolution and you need a computer

Sony has finally gotten around to officially launching the Flip-alike MHS-PM1 budget camcorder, at IFA 2009.

The £200 camcorder, which has been on UK shelves for a month or two already, has a 5MP 1/2.5-inch CMOS and can capture video at up to 1080p.

Like the ever-popular Flip cameras, the PM1 connects to PC/Mac computers via USB and has built-in software to edit and upload clips.

High Definition in a low cost body

The PM1 - also known as the Mobile HD Snap Camera - shoots MP4 video at up to 1440x1080-pixel resolution, at 30 frames per second progressive. It can also capture stills at up to 5MP (non-interpolated). Its 270-degree rotating swivel lens - fixed focus and fixed focal length but with 4x digital zoom - flips over so you can see yourself while shooting video and taking photos.

Five scene selection modes – sports, landscape, low light, and backlight – help you capture the best picture possible in various situations, and dedicated record and photo capture buttons means that there is no need to switch between modes. Images are recorded directly to Memory Stick Pro Duo media (not supplied).

After shooting, you can mark your photos or videos using the Sharemark button to pre-select for web upload. Connect the camera to your computer via the supplied USB cable and on-board PMB Portable software transfers content to Picasa, YouTube or Dailymotion video sharing sites. You can also simply drag and drop video and still images files to your personal computer folders.

The PM1 has a 1.8-inch LCD screen, rechargeable battery and weighs 120g ready to shoot. It's available in shops now.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.