Original Source Press Release:
Sony launches ClearVid CMOS sensors|
(Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - 01:07 EST)
Consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. has quietly introduced a new type of imager in one of its latest digital camcorders that seems rather reminiscent of Fujifilm's Super CCD sensor tech.
Launched a few weeks back at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Sony DCR-DVD505 camcorder is based around what Sony are calling a "ClearVid" 1/3" CMOS sensor, with a resolution of two megapixels. Readers familiar with Fujifilm's Super CCD design will immediately notice the similarity with Sony's ClearVid.
The Fujifilm Super CCD, first announced back in October 1999, is based on octagonally shaped photo diodes arranged in a honeycomb shape grid. Sony's ClearVid adopts a similar arrangement, with photo sensors located at 45 degree angles to each other. (Sony diagrams show a grid of square photo diodes, although it isn't currently clear whether this is a simplification, or whether the photo diodes are indeed square).
Where the Super CCD retains the standard Bayer color filter array pattern (albeit rotated), however, Sony have also changed their CFA on the ClearVid sensor. A standard Bayer sensor features two green sensors for every red and blue sensor. The diagrams from Sony show ClearVid to have six green sensors for every red and blue sensor.
As with the Super CCD, the ClearVid design takes advantage of the fact that an imager with a square grid design will actually capture the highest detail at a 45 degree angle to the arrangement of the grid - but thanks to the effects of gravity, in the natural world the highest detail tends to be found in horizontal and vertical planes. By rotating the grid 45 degrees, you theoretically match the sensor's resolution-gathering "sweet spot" to where it should most likely be needed in real-world use.
Sony are claiming that a two megapixel ClearVid sensor will yield a sensor resolution equivalent to a four megapixel camera - which if accurate will be equal to roughly a 1.4x resolution advantage over a standard two megapixel image sensor. (By way of comparison, Fujifilm claimed about a 1.24x advantage when the Super CCD was originally launched).
In the launch of the DCR-DVD505 camcorder, Sony is also touting the new sensor as having improved low-light capabilities, and improved dynamic range. While a little confusing, what the company is suggesting is that by rotating the grid, they are able to match the image resolution of a camera that uses a higher resolution sensor. Hence, the company is comparing the light gathering capabilities of (as an example) a four megapixel sensor with the capabilities of the two megapixel sensor they believe will match it for real-world resolution. Obviously the light gathering area for each pixel can be greater on the two megapixel sensor, and hence there is likely to be an improvement in both low-light capabilities / noise and dynamic range.
The DCR-DVD505 also has one other interesting capability, again likely thanks to the new sensor design. While recording video, it is possible to capture still images at the same time; either a three megapixel image alongside 4:3 video, or a 2.3 megapixel image alongside 16:9 video.
The Sony DCR-DVD505 will go on sale this March, with pricing set at $1100. Sony has not announced any plans to feature ClearVid image sensors in its still camera products, or to offer the sensors to third parties.
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|SONY TURNS UP THE VOLUME ON ITS CAMCORDERS FOR 2006|
LAS VEGAS (CES Booth #14200), Jan. 4, 2006 - Sony is taking the lead in bringing the focus on audio performance to the camcorder market with its new 2006 Handycam® models.
Leading the pack are two high-end DVD models and Sony's first hard disk drive camcorder. All models feature built-in Dolby Digital 5.1 channel surround sound and a unique center-channel microphone capability.
"Nothing preserves memories better than moving images with sound," said Linda Vuolo, director for camcorder products at Sony Electronics. "We are offering new enhancements to both audio and video performance in our 2006 product line."
Hearing Is Believing
Now when you record your child's lead performance in cinematic surround sound, you can be sure that his or her voice will stand out clearly in the troupe.
The new DCR-DVD505 and DCR-DVD405 DVD Handycam models support an optional wireless microphone that can be clipped to your subject while shooting. The microphone then amplifies the center channel sound in the camcorder's Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound system.
Thanks to Bluetooth technology, voices and sounds can be recorded wirelessly at distances up to 100 feet.
In addition to audio enhancements, Sony is bringing new ClearVID® CMOS sensor technology to the DCR-DVD505 model. The layout of this new sensor is engineered to increase the number of recorded green pixels in order to boost image resolution and better enable the human eye to distinguish precise detail.
Combined with Sony's Enhanced Imaging Processor®, ClearVID CMOS technology offers a host of user benefits. For instance, the camcorder not only records stunning video but also four-megapixel still images. Its Dual Record function allows users to shoot video and capture a three-megapixel still image simultaneously.
Other benefits from the CMOS technology include the smooth slow record function that allows you to view scenes in slow motion. Three seconds of video are played back in 12 seconds - ideal for analyzing your golf swing or tennis back-hand.
The DCR-DVD505 model stands out from the camcorder crowd thanks to its two-megapixel ClearVID CMOS sensor, compact body design, and wide 3.5" touch panel SwivelScreen™ LCD with Clear Photo Plus® technology for brighter images with high-contrast that are easy to view in virtually any environment.
In total, Sony is introducing five new DVD Handycam camcorders. Across the DVD line, you find Carl Zeiss optics for exceptional video quality, improved menu functions and access controls for greater ease of use, and enhanced digital still functionality.
Most models record digital still images in ratios of 4:3 and 16:9, perfect for slide shows on widescreen TVs. A Memory Stick Duo™ slot has been incorporated into select models so that images can be transferred easily from DVD disks to memory cards and vice versa. And with higher still image capability on these new models, PictBridge technology has been integrated for seamless PC-free printing.
Handycam Family Grows With Three-Megapixel Hard Disk Drive Camcorder
The latest addition to the Handycam camcorder line is the hard disk drive-based DCR-SR100 model. It offers long record times and seamless PC connectivity.
Unlike other camcorders in its class, the DCR-SR100 unit features built-in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and supports Sony's new optional center-channel Bluetooth microphone for a cinematic sound experience.
The model also sports a three-megapixel Advanced HAD™ CCD imager and Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens for excellent image clarity and color resolution. It records on a 30GB hard disk drive, which eliminates the need for tapes or discs. You can record up to seven hours of DVD movie-quality video or more than 21 hours in long play mode. Users will also enjoy the camcorder's three-megapixel still capture in 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios, built-in flash, and wide 2.7-inch SwivelScreen LCD display.
For additional reliability, the DCR-SR100 model has a sophisticated back-up protection. The camcorder has physical shock absorbers to protect the hard disk drive. It incorporates G-sensor™ shock protection which safeguards internal mechanisms to help prevent data loss.
Sony is also adding in-box PC applications to back up your video memories on DVD. For example, a DVD burn button on the model transfers video to a PC and automatically creates a DVD, with the entire process taking about 30 minutes for a full hour of high-resolution video. It also comes with DVD authoring software to edit footage.
High Quality Video On Any Budget
On the digital tape front, four new MiniDV models aim to please cost-conscious video enthusiasts with prices beginning at about $350.
All the MiniDV models deliver a powerful combination of precise image detail and vivid color reproduction thanks to Carl Zeiss optics and Sony's high-resolution CCD imaging technology. They feature top-side tape loading so it's effortless to replace tapes while shooting from a tripod, and wide LCD screens on select models to address the growing demand for 16:9 video. The high-end MiniDV models, the DCR-HC96 and DCR-HC46, are supplied with Handycam Station™ cradle, a tabletop cradle that charges the camcorders and connects them conveniently to a PC or television.
The top-of-the-line DCR-HC96 model offers advanced performance with its three-megapixel Advanced HAD CCD imager and Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens to capture vivid video and three-megapixel still images in both 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios. The camcorder is equipped with a wide 2.7-inch Hybrid SwivelScreen Touch Panel LCD screen, built-in flash, an intelligent accessory shoe, and Memory Stick Duo media slot.
Sony's new DVD camcorder models:
Sony's new Hard Disk Drive camcorder:
- DCR-DVD105 provides the benefits of recording video directly to -R/-RW/+RW DVD media. 680K-pixel Advanced HAD™ CCD, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar® lens, 2.5-inch hybrid SwivelScreen™ touch panel LCD, and color viewfinder. Available in February for about $500.
- DCR-DVD205 includes the above-mentioned features and adds a one-megapixel Advanced HAD CCD, one-megapixel digital still images, 2.7-inch wide (16:9) touch panel SwivelScreen LCD, and digital still image capture in 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios. Available in February for about $600.
- DCR-DVD305 has the above-mentioned features and adds Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound capability. Supplied with a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel surround sound microphone, USB 2.0, and Memory Stick Duo media slot. Available in February for about $700.
- DCR-DVD405 features the above and adds built-in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and supports an optional Bluetooth microphone for enhanced center channel sound. Three-megapixel Advanced HAD CCD, three-megapixel digital stills, built-in flash, and Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens. Available in February for about $900.
- DCR-DVD505 has the above-mentioned capability and adds a two-megapixel ClearVID CMOS sensor, four-megapixel digital stills, a 3.5-inch wide (16:9) touch panel SwivelScreen LCD, a dual record function to capture video and three-megapixel stills simultaneously, and smooth slow record function for slow motion video. Available in March for about $1,100.
Sony's new MiniDV camcorder models:
- DCR-SR100 has 30GB hard disk drive storage and built-in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Supports an optional Bluetooth microphone for enhanced center channel sound. Three-megapixel Advanced HAD CCD, three-megapixel, digital still capture in 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios, built-in flash, Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, 2.7-inch wide (16:9) touch panel SwivelScreen LCD, and supplied DVD burning software. Available in May for about $1,100.
All models will be available online at Sonystyle.com/newcamcorders, at Sony Style retail stores (www.sonystyle.com/retail), and at authorized dealers nationwide.
- DCR-HC26 features a 680K-pixel Advanced HAD™ CCD, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, 2.5-inch hybrid SwivelScreen touch panel LCD, and color viewfinder. Available in February for only about $350.
- DCR-HC36 has the above capability and adds a Memory Stick Duo media slot and supplied remote. Available in February for about $400.
- DCR-HC46 includes the above-mentioned features and adds a one-megapixel Advanced HAD CCD, one-megapixel stills, 2.7-inch wide (16:9) touch panel SwivelScreen LCD, and supplied Handycam Station cradle. Available in February for about $500.
- DCR-HC96 offers the above plus a three-megapixel Advanced HAD CCD, three-megapixel stills, Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens, digital still image capture in 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios, and built-in flash. Available in February for about $800.
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Editor's Notes: Sony's new hard disk drive Handycam camcorder is compatible with the following PC operating systems: Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Professional, XP Home, and XP Professional. Not all devices with a USB 2.0 connector will communicate with each other due to chipset variations. For additional information about Sony products, your readers can call toll-free at (888) 222-SONY, or visit Sony's web site at: www.sonystyle.com. Press releases and digital images are available for the media at Sony Electronics' news and information web site at: www.sony.com/news.