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Sony touts 'thrills'n'stills' HD camcorder

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Sony today unveiled the compact HD camcorder it hopes will bring high definition video mainstream when it goes on sale across the world in April. That's thanks to the machine's compact size, picture resolution and ability to take stills while shooting video, Sony claimed.

The HDR-HC3E contains a two megapixel, 1.3in image sensor, but the camcorder digitally increases the resolution to 2.3 megapixels when widescreen stills are grabbed during filming HD and two four megapixels in still-only mode. It also grabs 1.7 megapixel stills when shooting in 4:3 standard definition mode. The machine also has a 10x optical zoom extended with an 80x digital zoom. Its lens is a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T*. There's a built-in flash.

The camcorder has an HDMI connector ready to send uncompressed HD video and sound to an HD Ready TV or recording device. It can capture HD video at up to 1080i, and can convert down to other resolutions. Sony also touted the camcorder's "smooth slow" recording mode just waiting for beginners to over-use slo-mo effects in their movies.

The fold-out viewfinder has a 2.7in, 211,000-colour LCD with a new anti-reflective coating for better viewing in strong sunlight, Sony claimed.

The HDR-HC3E has a Memory Stick Pro Duo slot for photo storage. Sony claimed the unit's battery provides up to four hours' continuous recording time. The whole lot weighs 500g - more than a quarter less than the 680g HDR-HC1E Sony launched last Summer. The new model supports the MDV/DV format.

In the US, the camcorder will ship as the HDR-H3C for around $1,700 (£975/€1,423), Sony said. The company didn't provide European pricing. ®

sony hdr-3ce hd camcorder

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