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Sony HDR-HC9 HDV camcorder

HD is taking over the video production world faster than many camera owners can keep up with By Douglas Spotted Eagle

HD is taking over the video production world faster than many camera owners can keep up with. Now in its 5th generation, HDV cameras offer a broad range of choices from full-size broadcast cameras to small format palmcorders. The most recent addition to the lineup of HDV camcorders is the Sony HDR-HC9, available from Sony Electronics.

The HC9 records interlaced images in a 1440 x 1080 stream, recording to MiniDV tape, and records JPEG still images to a Memory Stick Duo card. These features are also found as functions of preceeding camcorders in the HDV line-up such as the HC3, HC5, and HC7 camcorders.

Where this camera is different is in the control setup and encoding/processing. The HC9 offers nearly full manual control of the camcorder. Exposure is set by slider or scene, rather than fstop, yet focus is manually controlled, and the metering system really makes it easy (and fast) to set up this camcorder.

This is a screengrab from the HDR-HC9. No image stabilization, no wide angle lens. This is the native width of the lens.  X.V. Color on. No other processing, color correction, or filtering has been added in the NLE.  Sony Vegas Pro 8 was used to capture the screengrab. Click image for full resolution screen grab.

One of the new features is the ability to spot meter and focus in one-touch. Simply point the camcorder at the subject and press the screen where the point of focus should be. One terrific use for this feature is in creating rack-focus shots, as it allows the camera to be locked into one scene, moved while recording, and spot focus/metering for the next point of focus. This takes the control away from the camera and puts it into the hands of the operator.


Another new feature is the Peaking function. Personally, this is one of my favorite functions, as it allows users to be absolutely sure of the point of focus. When engaged, the Peaking function will draw a user-color defined line around the subject or over the point of focus, indicating where the focus is correct. Peaking is indicated in White, Yellow, or Red outlines, and though the Peaking is displayed on the screen, it is never recorded to tape. Images shot in HD don't allow for slight focus errors, and HD immediately reveals any focus issues. Focusing with a small format screen, regardless of how good it may be, is difficult, so any focus-assisting function is a welcome addition. Peaking is a feature formerly found only on high-end broadcast cameras.

The HC9 (at left) is the same profile as the HC3 (at right), HC5, and HC7 camcorders, with some slight differences in the tape access door. Notice the attached lens hood (not recommended for use with wide-angle lens accessory.


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  • Sony HDR-HC9 HDV camcorder by DMN Editorial at Feb. 26, 2008 11:21 pm gmt (Rec'd 4)

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