Expanding upon its lineup of HDV products for professionals that prompted more than its share of interest at the recent NAB show, Sony has now released its HVR-A1U, based on a one-third-inch, 3-megapixel CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) imager. The CMOS device is accompanied by Sony's Enhanced Imaging Processor (EIP), which enables high-speed processing necessary for capturing HD video images. EIP allows an HDV camcorder to record and playback high-quality still images. (EIP technology is also present in a new Sony product for consumers, the HDR-HC1 Handycam.)
The pro HVR-A1U camcorder is designed to complement Sony's first entry into the professional HDV market, the HVR-Z1U. The new model offers many of the same features as the HVR-Z1U, such as balanced audio, XLR inputs, SMPTE time code, and a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T Lens. Yet its smaller footprint makes the new HD camcorder more suited for applications where space is at a premium and/or mobility is required.
To achieve wide dynamic range, Sony says its EIP technology employs an algorithm that separates image data into its texture patterns and brightness components. CMOS-based technology helps eliminate "smear" created by vertical bands of bright light stretching from top to bottom of an image's bright areas when something extremely bright is shot. The HVR-A1U HDV is expected to be available by early fall at a suggested list price less than $3,500.
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