Sony brings swathes of innovation to new line of handycams

From top to bottom, there are upgrades and improvements

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Just in time for CES 2013, Sony has updated its venerable handycam line. A number of key features, unique to its HD cameras, have all been upgraded. Though a few new tricks have also been added to the mix as well.

First, we have a host of improvements relating to picture quality, including Sony's proprietary Balanced Optical SteadyShot. While the system is not new, it's now available across more models than ever before.

Designed for people with shaky hands, the image stabilization system cuts down on the "wobbies" as Sony calls them, and in "virtually any shooting situation."

As for what's new, you have the TRILUMINOS Color system, which produces richer and more natural colors, for starters.

Though it would appear that one needs a TRILUMINOS-compatible display to truly experience the promised expanded palette. Sony recommends one of its Bravia TVs, with support for TRILUMINOS Display.

Getting a clearer picture

As for low light conditions, there's the Exmor R CMOS sensor, which claims clearer and more detailed images, for both video and still shots.

And to make ensure that everything is included, no matter how large the vista or crowd, every model now sports a wide-angle lens with less than 30mm minimal focal length.

The audio capabilities of the handycam line also took several steps forward, via Sony's Advanced Sound System and the high-quality external mic on select models. Even options for sharing photos have seen significant strides, such as increased light output and resolution for projector models.

Handy HDMI

Also, most projector models now offer HDMI input. By hooking up a smartphone, tablet, or PC, the handycam can be used to project videos, still images, web content, even games. And for the first time ever, the handycams will now offer the option of recording HD video in either MP4 or AVCHD formats.

The former should be familiar to most, whereas the latter (which is short for Advanced Video Coding High Definition) is a relatively newer format that Sony co-founded that boasts HD quality, perfect for Full HD TV viewing or burning onto Blu-ray.

A number of new accessories have been announced, by far the most interesting is the ADP-WL1M , a compact Wi-Fi adapter that gives wireless connectivity to the handycam.

With the module, one can wirelessly transfer MP4 files and still shots directly to a smartphone or tablet, along with cable-free backups onto a PC.

There are seven new models in total:

The Handycam PJ780VE includes the Exmor R CMOS sensor, Full HD 25p/50p, Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens with 17x extended zoom / 10x optical zoom / 26mm wide angle, Balanced Optical Steady Shot, 35 lumen projector and stereo speakers, HDMI external projector input, advanced sound processor, a high-quality external microphone, electronic viewfinder, manual dial, multi interface shoe, AVCHD/MP4 recording, and is Wi-Fi compatible.

The Handycam PJ650VE includes the Exmor R CMOS; Full HD 25p/50p, Sony G Lens with 20x extended zoom / 12x optical zoom / 26.8mm wide angle, Balanced Optical Steady Shot, 20 lumen projector and stereo speakers, HDMI external projector input, advanced sound processor, electronic viewfinder, manual dial, multi interface shoe, AVCHD/MP4 recording, and is Wi-Fi compatible.

The Handycam PJ420VE includes the Exmor R CMOS, Full HD 25p/50p, Sony G Lens with 55x extended zoom / 30x optical zoom / 26.8mm wide angle, Balanced Optical Steady Shot, 13 lumen projector and stereo speakers, HDMI external projector input, advanced sound processor, multi interface shoe, AVCHD/MP4 recording, and is Wi-Fi compatible.

The Handycam PJ320E includes the Exmor R CMOS, Full HD 50p, Sony G Lens with 55x extended zoom / 30x optical zoom / 26.8mm wide angle, Optical Steady Shot Active Mode, 13 lumen projector and stereo speakers, HDMI external projector input, multi interface shoe, and AVCHD/MP4 recording.

The Handycam CX410VE includes the Exmor R CMOS, Full HD 25p/50p, Sony G Lens with 55x extended zoom / 30x optical zoom / 26.8mm wide angle, Balanced Optical Steady Shot, multi interface shoe, AVCHD/MP4 recording, and is Wi-Fi compatible.

The Handycam CX280E includes the Exmor R CMOS, Full HD 50p, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with 50x extended zoom / 27x optical zoom / 29.8mm wide angle, Optical Steady Shot, and AVCHD/MP4 recording.

The Handycam CX220E includes the Exmor R CMOS, Full HD 50p, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with 32x extended zoom / 27x optical zoom / 29.8mm wide angle, Electronic Steady Shot, and AVCHD/MP4 recording.

The new line will be available in the UK starting February 2013.