Sony has announced a pair of entry-level ultra-zoom standard definition HandyCam camcorders, which boast a whopping 67x extended zoom range.
While the DCR-SX21E and DCR-SR21E may look very different, the only functional difference between the two models is the presence of an in-built 80GB hard drive in the SR21E model, while the SX21E records footage onto a Memory Stick Pro Duo or an SDHC card (which is not supplied).
The standout feature of these new models is the high-power 57x optical zoom lens from Sony, which is supplemented by the Extended Zoom that boosts maximum magnification to 67x with “virtually” no visible degradation. The SX21E and SR21E both have flip-out 2.7in Clear Photo LCD screens with the on-screen menus controlled by a joystick located next to the screen. Another button next to the screen allows you to easily switch on the built-in LED video light to illuminate indoor scenes or night-time shots.
Also included are SteadyShot and Face Detection modes and, for the first time at this level, Intelligent Auto mode, which recognises up to 18 different scene combinations – from portraits and landscapes to night views. Focus, exposure, colour and other settings are then adjusted automatically for best results.
Built-in Picture Motion Browser (PMB) Portable software simplifies uploads to sites like YouTube from almost any PC. Both models feature the Direct Copy function, which means you can transfer footage directly to Sony's new 500GB HD-PG5 external hard drive without the need for a PC.
The DCR-SX21E and DCR-SR21E will both be available in mid-September and we are waiting to hear back from Sony regarding pricing for these models.