Hitachi jumped to the front of the Blu-ray camcorder race this morning, announcing two camcorders that can record video at up to 1920x1080-pixel resolution on 8-centimeter Blu-ray discs. Both models, the DZ-BD7H and the DZ-BD70, include 5.3-megapixel CMOS sensors developed by AltaSens of Thousand Oaks, California. When recording video, the camcorders will use up to 2.07 megapixels (or 1920x1080), but will use up to 4.32-megapixels when capturing 4:3 still images. Both models will also sport 10X optical zoom lenses, 2.7-inch LCDs, and will be able to fit about one hour of 1920x1080 footage, or two hours of 1440x1080 video, on single-sided, single-layer BD-R/-RE discs, according to Hitachi.
In a nod to the rising popularity of hard-drive-based camcorders, the DZ-BD7H will include a 30GB hard disk drive, which Hitachi says will hold up to four hours of 1920x1080 video, or eight hours of 1440x1080 footage. The model's dubbing feature will allow in-camera copying of HD video from the hard drive to a Blu-ray disc at up to 2X speed. The DZ-BD7H will also be able to convert high definition video stored on the hard drive into standard definition, and record it onto DVD-R/-RW/-RAM discs using the same drive it uses for Blu-ray recording.
The camcorders will include two LSI chips--one HD signal processing LSI and a second H.264 LSI--for recording MPEG 4 AVC/H.264 video. HDMI outputs will let you send video directly from the camcorder to a TV set or monitor.
The DZ-BD7H and DZ-BD70 will both start selling in Japan on August 30, but won't hit U.S. shelves until October; they're expected to sell for about $1,500 and $1,300, respectively. More info, images, and video about Hitachi's new camcorders can be found on the company's Web site.