While it certainly isn't for the novice videomaker, the new Sony HDR-FX7 1080i HDV Camcorder ($3500; October 2006) is definitely a powerhouse. It features three-chip ClearVID CMOS Sensor technology, a Carl Zeiss lens with 20x optical zoom, a high-resolution, 3.5-inch LCD, and of course the ability to record in 1080i HD. All of this comes in a package that is 40 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than Sony's original prosumer HDV camcorder, making it ideal for aspiring filmmakers who like to shoot on the go.
We've been thrilled with our Nikon D50 we picked up a while back, but this new dSLR is making us consider trading the little guy in. The Nikon D80 ($1300 with lens; Sept. 2006) is Nikon's latest entry into the prosumer space. It features a 10.2 Megapixel DX format CCD, a new 12- bit Image Processing Engine, a start-up time of 0.18 seconds and only 80ms of shutter lag, 3D Color Matrix Metering II, and can take up to 2700 shots on a single battery
charge. The kit includes a 18-135mm DX
Zoom Nikkor lens, but you can buy the
body on it's own for around $1000. Sorry
D50, but we think we just found your
We're still waiting to upgrade our own video equipment to HD-quality, but if you're ready to make your own home videos match the resolution of that new TV you bought, check out the Sony HDR-SR1 HD Camcorder ($1500). It records video at true 1080i resolution onto a 30GB built-in hard drive. The SR1 also features a 3.5" LCD viewfinder, four-megapixel stills, and slew of other goodies that will have your family memories looking as good as the latest Hollywood blockbuster.