Sony announced its new 2011 camcorder lineup today at CES in Las Vegas. In addition to updating most of its 2010 models, Sony also unveiled a new "video enthusiast" camcorder called the HDR-CX700V. You can expect Sony's new HD Handycams to hit the stores in March. You can read about Sony's new 3D camcorder, the HDR-TD10, here. Coverage of Sony's new Bloggie ultracompact models can be found here, and Sony's new Handycams with built-in projectors are covered here.
Sony didn't change much in terms of sensor size or pixel counts with its new Handycams, but it did add a few new features. A new 24p and 60p record mode is available on the flagship HDR-CX700V, as well as the HDR-CX560V (replaces HDR-CX550V) and the HDR-CX360V (replaces HDR CX350V and HDR-CX300). All three of these models also feature 3-inch LCDs, which is actually somewhat of a downsize for certain Sony Handycams. Last year's HDR-CX550V featured a 3.5-inch screen.
In updating its entry-level HD Handycams, Sony released the HDR-XR160, HDR-CX160, and HDR-CX130 (replacements for the XR150, CX150, and CX110 camcorders). These new camcorders feature 30x optical zooms (up from 25x), built-in USB connectors, optical image stabilization, and 60p recording. An external microphone input is available on the HDR-CX160 and HDR-XR160.
Sony also unveiled a new tracking focus feature that will be found on all HD Handycams. The feature is similar to the AF/AE tracking option found on Panasonic camcorders as well as the tracking feature that Canon included on select Vixia camcorders in 2010.
New standard definition models from Sony include the DCR-SX85, DCR-SX65, and DCR-SX45, which are all updates on last year's SX83, SX63, and SX44 respectively. The DCR-SX85 includes 16GB of internal memory and will sell for $279. The DCR-SX65 contains 4GB of internal memory and has a price tag of $249. The card-only DRCR-SX45 will sell for $229. All three of these new standard definition camcorders will be available in February.
The flagship HDR-CX700V comes with 96GB of internal memory and has a suggested retail price of $1299. The step-down model, HDR-CX560V, has 64GB of internal memory and a $1099 price tag, while the HDR-CX360V includes 32GB of internal memory and will sell for $799.
The HDR-XR160 is the only new hard drive camcorder from Sony in 2011 and it includes a 160GB internal hard drive ($599 MSRP). The entry-level HD models are the HDR-CX160 (16GB internal memory, $499 retail) and the HDR-CX130 (no internal memory and a $449 price tag). All of these HD Handycams are set for a March, 2011 release date.