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Hitachi video cameras double up DVD and HDD

The cardinal truism of electronics shopping is that just when you think it's safe to open your wallet and buy that gadget you've been lusting after, it's a sure thing that something better will come along. Hitachi must be hoping that buyers of any of its recently refreshed line of Wooo camcorders understand that well, because it has seen fit to release three even better additions over the next few weeks.

Setting aside the ridiculous Wooo name, the new camcorders are appealing for non HD units, each offering a combination of DVD recording and a hard drive. The new cameras also have increased drive-to-disc dubbing speed, copying footage to 8cm DVD-R/RW/RAM discs in half of real time.

Glamorous cameras

The top end DZ-HS503 model has a 3.3-megapixel sensor and a 30GB hard drive for JPY140,000 (£584), the mid-ranking HS403 has the same resolution but an 8GB drive for JPY120,000 (£500), while the entry-level HS401 offers 8GB and a 1.3-megapixel CCD for JPY100,000 (£417).

Each of the new camcorders weighs just over 500g, takes SD cards and has a battery life rated at a respectable two hours. The HS401 even comes in a glamorous colour Hitachi describes as "princess pink".