Hard copy: Camcorder owners have always had it a bit tougher than their still-camera counterparts. Sharing their memories after the (usually) fun part of imitating a Hollywood cameraman involves more steps and more time, especially with high-definition video.
While built-in hard disks and memory-card slots are becoming standard in digital camcorders, they are meant to serve as temporary repositories. What you do when they fill up usually comes down to three choices: 1) start erasing; 2) insert an empty card; 3) something involving a computer; or 4) buy a new camera. (Note to Apple: “One-Step DVD” still doesn’t work.)
It also depends on how much editing of the video you want to do. If all you need to do is to dub off a copy on DVD for the relatives, then a computer need not be an essential part of the process, or so camera and PC maker Sony Corp. intends to prove. Sony is marketing this alternative in the new VDR-MC10 DVD recorder, which comes on the market Oct. 10.
The gadget records directly from the camcorder or from memory cards and burns the video on regular-size DVDs. The device includes a 2.7-inch color LCD screen so you can check your footage and trim it before recording to DVD. The VDR-MC10 can also be connected to a television for showing videos on a bigger screen, with an HDMI plug allowing the display of high-definition video. The recorder can also copy and display still images and has slots for Memory Stick and Memory Stick Duo, SD/xD (picture card) and CF cards. It measures 198×230×75 mm and weighs in at 1.75 kg.
Costing ¥44,800, the VDR-MC10 is a competitive alternative to the more expensive DVD recorders on the market. www.sony.jp
Jazzing up the picture: Casio seems to be equally enthusiastic about sidelining the computer. Its new PCP-1200 photo printer, due out Sept. 12, allows users to print photos straight from memory cards, digital cameras or mobile phones without a computer.
Moreover, the Casio product allows you to get fancy with your photos, embellishing them with text and a choice of more than 60 images, such as hearts and stars. It has slots for most of the popular memory-card options and prints out postcard-size photos with a resolution of 2400×1200 dpi. The device measures 251×130×151 mm and at 2.3 kg is portable but no lightweight.
Casio has long offered photo printers that provide such visual embroidery, but it has upped the ante this time by equipping the PCP-1200 with a large 7-inch touch-screen, a welcome innovation for seeing and decorating your prospective handiwork. The touch-screen capability is complemented by a small keyboard that folds down from the front of the printer and a stylus for drawing on your photos.
Other dedicated photo printers are available for half the PCP-1200’s price of ¥54,800, but they offer about half of the features in the stand-alone, all-in-one package from Casio. www.casio.co.jp
Now you see me: Web cameras are popular built-in features for computers, both desktops and laptops, these days. Apple and Sony in particular have offered these. The biggest problem with these built-ins is that you can’t physically disconnect them — meaning that in theory a hacker could be watching you whenever your computer is on.
If your machine has no built-in camera, there’s no need to envy the video-chatting masses so long as you have a free USB port.
Elecom this month is releasing two new Web cameras, the UCAM-K30H and UCAM-DLJ200H. The first one uses a modest 300,000-pixel CMOS sensor, while the latter boasts a more robust 2-megapixel CMOS sensor. Both models have 640×480 resolution when shooting video at 30 frames per second, with a top resolution of 1600×1200 when slowed down to 15 frames per second. The UCAM-K30H can also shoot at 1280×960 resolution at 30 frames per second.
The cameras are truly plug-and-play — no extra drivers to download — and are compatible with Sony’s popular PlayStation 3 gaming console. While the UCAM-DLJ200H works with both Windows and Apple operating systems, its K30H sibling is only compatible with Windows.
Both cameras are compact and can be clipped to a standard LCD computer monitor, and connect via USB. They come in a choice of silver, black or white.
They are also well priced — the UCAM-K30H at ¥3,150 and the UCAM-DLJ200H at ¥9,975. www.elecom.co.jp