Sony Expands HDV Camcorder Line

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.