This week a number of new HD acquisition options have become available, giving everyone from the average consumer to the high-end broadcaster new ways to shoot high-quality images. Topping the list is Panasonic’s AJ-HDX900 DVCPRO HD camcorder. The $26,500 unit has three 2/3-inch CCDs and a FireWire output to make it easier for broadcasters to transfer signals to record decks. The camera can record in 11 different HD resolutions and frame rates, including 100 Mbps. Other features include 14-bit A/D conversion and recording modes that can replicate a film look. The camera also bucks the tapeless trend by using DVCPRO medium-size cassettes that can record 33 minutes of video with digital audio on four channels.
Canon, meanwhile, is introducing two HD camcorders, the XH A1 and XH G1, that are designed for shoots that don’t require top-of-the-line broadcast features. While the XH A1, priced at $3,999, won’t be attractive to high-level producers, the XH G1, at $6,999, has an HD-SDI output with embedded audio and timecode that make it suitable for broadcasters. While the cameras lack in some high-end features the low price point makes them an attractive option for reality TV series or local commercial production.
Sony, meanwhile, introduced two 1080i Handycam camcorders for the consumer market: the HDR-UX1 and the HDR-SR1. The HDR-UX1 will ship in September and is capable of recording an hour of HD video onto standard dual-layer 8cm DVD discs. The HDR-SR1 can record up to four hours of HD video on its 30GB hard disk drive.
Expect both to set consumers back approximately $1,500. Sony says the UX1 DVDs will be able to be played back on a Blu-Ray player or Playstation 3 (due in November). As for the SR1, it can store up to 10 hours of video on the hard drive or four hours of higher- quality HD video.