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Sony announces new solid-state camcorders for EX lineup

Sony‚ continuing on a dual path of offering optical disc and solid-state recording across its camera lines, has added two new HD camcorders designed for solid-state digital production. The new cameras include Sony’s first 2/3in CMOS memory camcorder, a shoulder-mount model (PMW-350), and the PMW-EX1R, which provides simultaneous DVCAM recording capability as well as several new enhancements.

The PMW-350 camcorder has three 2/3in Exmor full HD 1920 x 1080 CMOS imagers, and a sensitivity of F12. It is studio-configurable, with time code in/out, genlock in, and HD-SDI and HDMI out. The camcorder also features a DVCAM recording option. It offers shooters a low center of gravity and light weight to ensure stability, while maintaining a familiar, conventional operational user interface layout.

With the lens-packaged model, PMW-350K, users can easily switch between auto and manual focus with a Fujinon 16x zoom 2/3in bayonet mount lens. It also offers automatic lens aberration compensation (ALAC); independent focus, zoom, iris rings; auto focus mode, manual focus assist and focal length of 8~128mm (31.5 ~ 503mm on 35mm lens).

With the PMW-EX1 now discontinued, the new PMW-EX1R, adds DVCAM recording capability, as well as an HDMI output, a higher-resolution viewfinder, cache recording, and one-push auto iris. Additional features of the EX1R include: smooth handle zoom start/stop, and an image inversion feature that reverses an image upside down and left/right for a depth of field adaptor.

Both new cameras also include a range of ergonomic enhancements, including an improved hand grip for better balance, one-click S&Q mode and easy-to-access switches, and both feature 1440 x 1080 HD recording mode at 35Mb/s.

Sony also announced new solid-state memory choices to complement these new camcorders. A lower-cost series of Sony’s SxS memory cards, SxS-1‚ (model SBS-32G1, 32 GB) offers 800Mb/s transfer speed and supports a wide range of motion.

With an available adapter, Sony’s Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX series media can also be used in the PMW-350 and PMW-EX1R as an “emergency” recording option, however, it does not support slow motion of S&Q mode. Compatible media include: MS-HX32G (32GB), MS-HX16G (16GB), and MS-HX8G (8GB). The company’s current camcorder models, PMW-EX1 and PMW-EX3, as well as the PMW-EX30 deck, are also planned to be compatible with the new SxS-1 and Memory Stick media, through a software version upgrade available in early 2010.

A new hard-disk recording unit (model PHU-120K) offers a recording capacity of 120GB, while the new PXU-MS240 mobile storage unit can be used to transfer data from SxS memory cards to the unit for nearly continuous backup or off-load of video clips. The unit stores content on a removable hard disk drive (HDD) cartridge, model PXU-HC240, which can store up to 240GB of data or up to 17 hours of content in SP mode.

The software supplied with the new camcorders, Clip Browser, is also being updated to version 2.6. It features a range of new functions, including: support for new recording formats 1440 x 1080 (HQ), DV-AVI, and four-channel audio. Because the XDCAM EX camcorders record acquisition parameters such as zoom, focus and iris, the new version of Clip Browser enables users to browse metadata while viewing clips. The software now offers a feature that automatically detects and corrects “flash bands‚” which can occur in frames, and a manual mode allows users to select the frames to correct by using a preview function.