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Sony releases last SD camcorder?

Sony's latest camcorder, the DSR-PD175P, is an SD model recording to tape and aimed at emerging markets, writes David Fox.

Sony’s latest camcorder, the DSR-PD175P, is an SD model recording to tape and aimed at emerging markets, writes David Fox.

The unit is touted as a direct replacement for the popular PD170.

“From wedding and event videography, through to corporate TV production and right up to broadcast documentary production and newsgathering, the DSR-PD175P is the perfect tool for standard definition production,” claimed Bill Drummond, European product manager, Sony Professional. “There is continuing demand for high quality DVCAM production tools in many of our markets and the DSR-PD175P has been developed specifically to respond to these important customers’ needs.”

The PD170 was renowned for its low-light capability (1 lux), but its successor isn’t quite as effective in the dark, although it isn’t far off it at 1.5 lux. It does have the advantage of being 16:9 native and uses three of the same 1/3-inch Exmor ClearVid CMOS sensors found in the popular Z5.

The camera has a fixed 20x Sony G lens (with a wide angle of 29.5mm), three ND filters (1/4, 1/16, 1/64) and independent focus, zoom and iris rings. It also has an improved high resolution LCD panel and viewfinder. To aid migration from the PD170, the PD175 also uses L series batteries, removing the need to buy new battery systems (unlike most of Sony’s HDV cameras).

It can also record to flash memory, by plugging in the HVR-MRC1K Compact Flash solid state recorder, and adds a 25p progressive scan mode for a filmic look. The 25p image is recorded as an interlaced signal in two fields, for compatibility with editing and monitoring equipment that accept interlaced signals, but maintains the quality of the 25p image.

Its Smooth Slow Record function enables smooth slow-motion playback by capturing images four times faster than normal (200 fields per second). In this mode, quad-speed images are captured for six seconds, stored in the built-in buffer memory, and then recorded to tape (in either DVCAM or DV format) as slow-motion pictures lasting 24 seconds.

It should cost about the same as the PD170, although the HDV-equipped HVR-V1E only costs about 20% more.