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Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011
Sony's 3-D Bloggie and Casio's TRYX bring innovation and lower prices to pocket camcorders
By RICK MARTIN
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011 was held in Las Vegas earlier this month, and as always every major tech company in the world brought their latest and greatest products.
As expected, tablet computers were in abundance as manufacturers scramble to catch up with the standard that Apple's iPad has set in that market. But surprisingly there were also a number of notable portable camcorders that made the tech headlines this year as well.
Sony rolled out three new additions to the Bloggie pocket camcorder lineup, the most notable among them being the 3D MHS-FS3 (right). And while that's not the catchiest of names by any stretch, the 3-D Bloggie (as most prefer to simply call it) should catch the eye of many consumers. This is the first 3-D pocket camera to shoot 1080p high definition 3-D video, thus putting one of the trendiest of technologies in the palm of your hand. It's still debatable whether or not 3-D will truly catch on with consumers, but manufacturers — Sony foremost among them — are certainly throwing their weight behind it.
The 3-D Bloggie shoots 3-D images through the use of two lenses set at slightly different viewing angles. Footage can then be played back and viewed on the camera's 2.4-inch screen. To allow users to view in three dimensions, Sony has implemented a lenticular screen (without glasses), which at its most basic level is the same idea that went into those 3-D CrackerJack cards that amazed us as kids way back in the day.
The Bloggie has 8 gigabytes of storage and uses a built-in USB connecting arm which flips out of the camera body when needed — much like Cisco's Flip camera, the pioneer in the pocket camcorder space that has yet to be sold here in Japan. Users can also pipe video to a larger 3-D capable external display where it can be viewed with the aid of 3-D glasses.
Since you aren't always going to want to shoot in 3-D, the Bloggie shoots 5 megapixel still photos as well as regular 2-D video, making it a handy camera to have on the go. The Bloggie is well integrated with web services such as Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr to make sharing easy and hassle-free.
The big problem with 3-D cameras thus far has been the expense, as 3-D-capable cameras typically fall well beyond the acceptable price point for the average buyer. But Sony's 3-D Bloggie will bring that down significantly when it goes on sale in April for about $250.
Sony Bloggie 3D: bit.ly/3Dbloggie
One of the other pocket camcorders that made waves at CES 2011 was the Casio TRYX (below). Although the company didn't impress by pushing overwhelming specs or jumping on the 3-D bandwagon, they did turn heads with an incredibly clever and innovative form factor. In a space where most competitors have been following the dead-simple Flip camera model, Cisco's gutsy design is admirable.
The camera part of TRYX is housed inside a rotatable handle, which can then be flipped out and swiveled at various angles to serve a few different purposes. Turn it just a little and suddenly the handle acts as a tripod, or perhaps kickstand might be a better word. Flip it 180 degrees and you can use the handle as a sort of built-in hook to mount the camera on a wall.
Using these setups the TRYX works very well on a self-timer. Simply stand it up, press the button and you are free to join your friends in the action. The 21-mm ultra-wide angle lens will make sure no one is left out of the shot.
Casio's TRYX shoots at 12.1 megapixels, but at a razor-thin 0.59 inches it does lack an optical zoom. The camera's controls are all on its touchscreen, including the TRYX's touch shutter and motion-detection timer features.
The company is also targeting more artsy consumers by integrating a thing called HDR-ART technology, which combines shots of different exposures or adjusts color levels with ease.
The TRYX will be available in April, again at $250.
Casio TRYX: bit.ly/casioTRYX
Rick Martin is a contributor to Gizmag.com. Read more of his work at 1rick.com.