Digital Home Thoughts: Sony HDR-FX1: High Definition Without Breaking the Bank

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Monday, January 17, 2005

Sony HDR-FX1: High Definition Without Breaking the Bank

Posted by Doug Johnson in "HARDWARE" @ 11:00 AM


Why is This So Exciting?
A 3-CCD camera splits up the image coming through the lens into its primary colors: red, green, and blue, each with its own image sensor. This results in a very dramatic improvement of color accuracy over single sensor cameras, but 3-CCD cameras usually have another advantage as well. In most cases the CCDs are larger, which improves low light sensitivity and picture noise. Professionals insist on using 3-chip cameras, and for anyone looking into buying a video camera, I very highly recommend going with a 3-CCD model if your budget allows.

Up until now if you wanted a high-definition (HD) camera with 3 CCDs, you were limited to professional offerings at $20,000 plus, without a lens or accessories. The Sony HDR-FX1 is the first camera to change that by offering this camera for less than $4,000.

Why High Definition?
A regular (standard definition, or SD) television picture is limited to a resolution of less than 720x480 pixels (about 1/3 megapixel for you digital camera types). High Definition (HD) increases the picture resolution and color accuracy dramatically. The highest resolution of HD is 1920 by 1080 pixels (approximately 2 megapixels), so you are dealing with approximately 6 times the picture information as you do with standard definition. In addition, the HD formats use a different way to store color information more accurately, and support a 16x9 widescreen aspect ratio, providing a wider, more cinematic view than conventional 4x3 television.

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