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Sony Improves MicroMV Camcorder, Intros Two New Models

New MicroMV Handycams to be available in October 2002 for about $1,500 and $2,000 By Charlie White
Sony announced two new MicroMV Handycam camcorders with new designs optimized for one-handed operation. The DCR-IP220 model uses a 2.1-megapixel imager for higher quality video and still images (1600 x 1200) in a compact, barrel-shaped design. Another new model, the new DCR-IP55, features a fold-down handgrip.

Sony DCR-IP220 MicroMV HandycamWorld's First 2-Megapixel Camcorder
The DCR-IP220 model (pictured at right) is the world's first 2.1-megapixel CCD camcorder and offers 530 lines of horizontal video resolution to produce high video clarity and definition of even the subtlest colors.

Sony DCR-IP55 MicroMV HandycamThe DCR-IP55 model (pictured at left) features a 1.0-megapixel CCD, which offers 520 lines of horizontal video resolution and still image resolution of 1152 x 864. Its design allows users to grasp the camcorder by a new sure-grip, fold-out handle that is ideal for shooting video on an angle, above a crowd or following fast-paced action.

Both models also feature 10X optical/120X precision digital zoom, super SteadyShot picture stabilization and, new to MicroMV Handycam camcorders, super NightShot infrared system for recording in total darkness.

In addition, both the new models offer enhanced digital still image features, including intelligent pop-up flash and Hologram AF -- an auto-focus feature designed to achieve accurate subject focus with minimal contrast in dark conditions.

Both models also feature high-quality Carl Zeiss optics. And, with the DCR-IP220 model, users benefit from the advanced multi-layer coating of a Carl Zeiss T* lens, resulting in more vivid, true-to-life color saturation.


"Because of the MicroMV tape's miniature size, Sony has been able to develop innovative, one-of-a-kind camcorder designs," said Linda Vuolo, director of camcorder product management for Sony Electronics Digital Imaging Products Division.

It's In The Tape: Multi-Picture Search and Titling
The MicroMV tape is 70 percent smaller than a MiniDV tape and provides up to 60 minutes of high-quality digital video footage. It also has a 64K memory chip that allows for a multi-search function to access different recorded sections of the tape as one would a DVD, creating a thumbnail image of each recorded scene on the tape. Thumbnail images are created from the start of every recorded scene and, by engaging the multi-search function, users can instantly access the scene of their choice. In addition, an index titling function helps identify each thumbnail image with either a pre-set caption or a customized scene title.

Also, each time a MicroMV cassette is inserted into the camcorder or the VCR mode is used, cassette information is automatically displayed on the LCD showing the first and last date of use, how much recording space remains, and titling capability so the user can title the videotape.

Additional Features
* i.LINK Interface -- The i.LINK (IEEE-1394) MicroMV interface allows for high-speed, bi-directional digital communication between two MICROMV Handycam camcorders or with compatible Microsoft Windows ME/2000 and later PCs loaded with compatible software.

* NightFraming -- The DCR-IP220 offers NightFraming capability that allows users to compose still images in low-light situations and produce bright, full color results.

* 2.5" Precision SwivelScreen Hybrid Touch Panel LCD Display -- The LCD provides excellent viewing clarity with 211,000 pixels and touch screen technology transforms the LCD into a convenient control pad with the supplied stylus. The hybrid system allows for increased visibility in challenging lighting situations such as bright sunlight.

* MPEG Movie AD Mode -- Through the MPEG Movie AD Mode, the DCR-IP55 and DCR-IP220 allow users to capture MPEG1 compressed video and audio for up to 60 seconds directly to the Memory Stick media in four different quality modes: light, standard, fine and super fine.

USB Streaming and Networking Capability
Both of these MicroMV models offer the ability to stream live and recorded video via a USB connection and video conferencing software such as the Microsoft Windows NetMeeting application. They also provide access to the Internet through Bluetooth wireless technology. Like all Network Handycam camcorders, these new models can connect to the Internet without a PC when used in conjunction with an optional Bluetooth adaptor or a compatible Bluetooth cell phone.

Thanks to the networking function, these new camcorders allow users to send and receive e-mail messages with MPEG1 movie and JPEG images attached or upload still images and MPEG1 video directly to Sony's online photo sharing service, ImageStation.com. The camcorders can also be used for Web browsing using the LCD display. The DCR-IP220 is the first Network Handycam camcorder to provide connectivity through the America Online (AOL) service and will allow AOL members to enjoy all of the networking features with the exception of receiving e-mail messages. All Network Handycam camcorders can also be used with Sony's So-netSM Internet access service or a compatible ISP. Both Sony's So-net service and AOL are designed for easy set-up and connection between a Network Handycam camcorder and the Internet.

The DCR-IP55 and the DCR-IP220 will be available in October 2002 for about $1,500 and $2,000, respectively.

Editing Made 'EZ'
In addition to the MovieShaker video editing software bundled with all MicroMV Handycam camcorders, Sony is launching a new EZ Editor home editing kit for MICROMV footage. This versatile home editing software comes equipped with everything needed to edit home movies on a current Windows PC, including Pinnacle System's Studio version 8SE software, i.LINK (IEEE-1394) card, i.LINK cables and two blank cassettes. The kit also includes one blank Sony CD-R disc and will sell for about $100.

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Related Keywords:Sony, MICROMV Handycam camcorders, DCR-IP220, 2.1-megapixel imager, higher quality video, still images, 1600 x 1200, DCR-IP55, fold-down handgrip

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