Micro-camcorder from Sony proves to be a small wonder


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March 18, 2004|By Kevin E. Washington

The MICROMV digital video cassette has allowed Sony to make what it calls the smallest digital video camcorder in the world. But unlike some of the other downsized gadgets I've played with, I think the Sony DCR-IP1 MICROMV Handycam ($1,200) makes the case that quality can come in small packages.

This camcorder, which is just a little bigger than a couple of decks of cards pushed together, fits easily into a shirt pocket. The tape is 70 percent smaller than other Mini-DV camcorder tapes.

The compression technology, MPEG2, is good for transferring your video to a PC, even if it's not quite as good as regular Mini-DV images. On the other hand, if you're used to dealing with analog video, you'll be wowed by the quality of the MICROMV tapes.

The DCR-IP1 is packed with great features. The charged couple device (CCD) is 1 megapixel for solid detailed images, and the optical zoom is 10x, more than you'll really need to get good shots. If you use the Universal Serial Bus interface, you can stream video directly from the camcorder to friends and family via the Internet.

You also can take pictures up to a resolution of 1,152 x 864 dots per inch and save them to a Memory Stick Duo, which is about a third the size of a regular Memory Stick.

When you're ready to download the video to your computer for editing and playing, you simply set the camcorder into the Handycam Station, which connects you via firewire port to a television or computer. Moreover, the device will charge the battery on the camcorder at the same time.

I think the best thing on here, though, is the automatic lens cover. When you're not shooting video and the camcorder is off, the Carl Zeiss lens is covered to keep dirt and grit from getting in there and ruining the wonderful optics.

Information: 888-222-7669 or www.sony.com/di.

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