**One of the biggest potential bonuses of the HDR-HC7 is its sensor, which has increased in size over last year’s CMOS chips. The HDR-HC7 is the only new HDV camcorder to include a better imager than last year’s chip, the 1/3' ClearVID CMOS, that made a reappearance in the HDR-HC5. The HC7 includes a new 1/2.9" ClearVID CMOS sensor (3.2 MP gross pixels) - the same chip found in Sony’s top-end AVCHD, HDD, and DVD camcorders this year. Along with optical image stabilization, the sensor is another major difference between the HDR-HC7 and HDR-HC5, and the reason for the price difference.
**Low Light Performance
**We can only speculate on low light performance, but the larger imager on the HDR-HC7 should mean good things for the camcorder’s low light performance. Previous iterations of the ClearVID CMOS performed well when used with certain formats for video compression. Faster data rates boosted performance. It will be interesting to see how this camcorder compares to the HDR-UX7, which combines the same imager with AVCDV encoding. As seen with the HDR-UX1, AVCHD shows more noise because of artifacting and did not help low light performance.