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Sony Unveils New Floating-Lens Stabilization and Projector-Camcorders

Three of Sony's new Handycams feature an innovative optical stabilization system, five offer built-in projectors & nine offer in-camera GPS

Sony today announced several new additions to its Handycam and Bloggie camcorder lines, including a new dual-1080p 3D camcorder that replaces last year's Handycam TD10, five new camcorders with built-in projectors for displaying video on a wall, and three new models that feature the company's new "Balanced Optical Steady Shot" technology, which allows for the entire lens barrel to visibly "float" in order to correct extreme hand shake.

All the new camcorders--13 in all--record 1080p AVCHD video at 24Mbps. Other than the four new entry-level models announced by Sony today, all of the new camcorders also feature a built-in GPS antenna for geotagging video and photos, as well as in-camcorder mapping software from Navteq.

The highest-end new models are the Sony Handycam HDR-PJ760V ($1600), Handycam HDR-CX760V ($1500), and Handycam HDR-PJ710V ($1300), each of which feature the floating-lens stabilization system.

When viewing the camcorders head-on during a product demo, the lens appeared to stay in the same horizontal and vertical position even as the camcorder was moving around; it truly looked like a human eyeball retaining focus on a subject as the "head" was moving around. Sony says that the new stabilization system compensates for 13 times more shake than their previous high-end optical stabilization system.

Many of the new camcorders also offer the "By Pixel Super Resolution" digital-zoom technology first unveiled in Sony's Cyber-shot TX55 point-and-shoot camera last year. The digital-zoom technology uses an in-camera database to match pixel contrast and color instead of cropping and enlarging an image, which usually has a very noticeable impact on overall image quality and sharpness. According to the company, the new digital-zoom technology simulates the image and video fidelity seen at four times the actual resolution of the image.

The dual-lens Sony Handycam HDR-TD20V will replace last year's Handycam TD10 3D camcorder, adding GPS functionality and in-camera mapping software to the mix. Like its predecessor, it captures simultaneous streams of full 1080p video and offers a glasses-free 3D display, but it has a new streamlined form factor that Sony says is 33 percent smaller than the TD10. The latest 3D camcorder's lenses are also closer together, translating to a more-effective 3D macro mode that's able to capture 3D effects when recording subjects within a few inches of the lens.

Several of the new camcorders also have 20-lumen projectors built into the back side of their flip-out LCD viewfinders for sharing movies in person, including the highest-end Sony Handycam HDR-PJ760V and HDR-PJ710V, mid-range Handycam HDR-PJ580V ($900), lower-end Handycam HDR-PJ260V ($650), and entry-level Handycam HDR-PJ200 ($440).

[For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld's complete coverage of CES 2012.]

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