strolling down one of the two most perfect electronic department stores in the whole wide World – ‘Yodobashi Akiba’ in Tokyo and ‘Yodobashi Umeda’ in Osaka both in Japan – you touch last year’s hit of a wonder in the World’s smallest Full-HD camcorder TG1 . (small and light pistol-grip camcorders were dominated by Sanyo until last year) an Otaku’s (Japanese Geek and Nerd put into one) father-figure in the form of a sales clerk approaches informing you the next newer model will ship in next week ! such kindness is not shown in all parts of the World especially when merchandise pile-up in the warehouse in time of recession .
so now selling in Japan since April 20th for a whopping Y118,000 at discount mega-stores and shipping from this week in South Korea for W1,598,000 where early adopters have reserved a weeks in advance . oh and now-you-see-it .. now-you-don’t act here : models sold in Japan adds a ‘V’ at the of the model number just as their telescope-grip camcorder HDR-XR520V for it contains GPS ability but taken out in Korean models for incompatibility .
basically this new model is only a tad smaller AND lighter than the previous TG1 but doubles resolution in still photo as well as video, plus a wide array of fun stuff such as ‘smile’ recognition 😉
- Premium Hard Coating on the surface for scratch resistance,
- 3.6 mm 1/5 ‘Exmor’ CMOS Sensor,
- 270 degrees turning LCD touch screen,
- opening the LCD starts recording within 1 seconds flat,
- Carl-Zeiss lens with 10x zoom equivalent to 43 ~ 507 mm in 35 mm film (could use more wide-angle instead of overtly strong longer zoom),
- optional wide angle lens widens scene by 0.7 times (Sony accessories don’t come cheap though),
- F1.8 ~ 2.3 lens brightness !
- back-light ‘D-Range’ optimiser,
- 5 Lux luminous : clear dim-light recording even in candle-light,
- continuous recording until you reach full memory capacity !
- can take still snapshots while recording video !
- automatically focus AND light exposure best for the face,
- automatically takes snapshots when a subject smile while recording video (very cute, Sony),
- sound recording zooms along with lens,
- and I can atest Sony has THE best image stability,
- again with full touch-screen ability including pin-pointing of zoom and exposure areas,
- automatically searches for your best shots in “High Light PlayBack” ? hmmm ..
- records HD video in mpeg4 AVC/h.264 and SD video in mpeg2 codecs
- 16GB internal memory plus Memory Stick slot,
- medium NP-FH50 battery last more-or-less 2 hours in medium resolution recording,
- dimension : 30 x 117 x 62 mm, weight : 220 g.
because this is a compact device AND of the high price you should handle and operate it first for yourself at one of the few Sony Style ShowRooms in South Korea mostly in the Capital of Seoul, where if you have membership they’ll add 10% points on purchase . prices are almost the same in On-Line Shopping Malls (where normally it is much cheaper) but some bundle with USB video editing hardware, 8 or 16GB Memory and cleaning sets for free .
I shoud add that we are now entering an age where it is NOT necessary to carry a digital camera AND camcorder for now a few models are beginning to do the other as well intact – especially when you are traveling for it really is a burden to carry TWO, and more so in under-developed countries in view of theft . I believe Sony is leading the way on both grounds (digital camera recording videos and camcorder taking still shots) in this model in camcorders taking still shots, while DSC-T900 digital camera does an adequate job of taking HD videos but more improvements needed . now this is in ‘compact’ category only for there are full-sized DSLR digital cameras and bulky camcorders containing Hard Disk that take much more crisp images either way .
[ mid-June price update ]
oh what retail price wars and international currency exchange play a teasing role to the buying consumer .
official retail price at Sony Korea’s dozen showrooms in larger cities AND their on-line shopping mall Sony Style W1,598,000 . members get a 10% point which you can use on later purchases except laptops,
lowest discount offered at independent on-line shopping malls in South Korea W1,313,000,
larger discount stores in the States offer about USD $968.- and in Korean Won aproximately W1,211,000,
general price at mammoth discount chains in Japan Y84,800 where Korean currency adjusts to W 1,080,000 . local members usually get 10% points towards future purchases but some like Yodobashi Camera offering 20% on this model ! but if you are from abroad you would want to purchase at the stores’ “Export” section where you wouldn’t get a point-back but a sales tax exemption of 5% . you would want to choose the latter for domestic models are supported for warranty only within Japan,
– Korea Tech BLog, April 2009 –