June 18, 2008 – Sony replaced the HDR-CX7 today with the new HDR-CX12, an HD camcorder that captures full 1920 x 1080 in the AVCHD format to MemoryStick Duo cards. Debuting on the new camcorder is Sony’s Smile Shutter technology, ported over from its still camera line, which allows for video recording while simultaneously capturing still photos when your subject smiles. The HDR-CX12 has an MSRP of $900 is expected to be in stores in early August.
Internally, the new HDR-CX12 is essentially the same as the HDR-SR11 or HDR-SR12, released earlier this year. It features a 1/3.13-inch CMOS sensor with a gross pixel count of 5,660,000. Both the new Exmor sensor and Bionz processing technology are present, which proved to produce excellent video quality in tests by CamcorderInfo.com.
In addition to the Smile Shutter, Sony clearly hopes to entice would-be buyers with size. The HDR-CX12 measures 71mm x 135mm x 71mm (2.8 x 5.3 x 2.8), or as Sony sums it up, about the size of a can of soda. It’s roughly the same size as its primary competitor, the Canon HF100, another memory card AVCHD camcorder, which coincidentally also has an MSRP of around $900. However, Canon does not provide an SDHC card with purchase, while the Sony HDR-CX12 ships with a 4GB MemoryStick PRO Duo card.
The HDR-CX12 will include a multi-function dial located on the front for controlling exposure, white balance, and other functions. The AVCHD bitrate remains lower than the industry average, with a peak speed of 16Mbps. The Canon HF100 records at 17Mbps. Freshly announced competitors, the JVC GZ-HD40 and Panasonic HDC-SD100, both record at a maximum 17Mbp. While it should be stated that bitrate is only one part of the equation in video quality, it is an important factor.
The Sony HDR-CX12 retails for $900 and will be in stores in early August. Pre-orders will be possible through Sony’s online store as of July 20th.