After years in the doldrums camcorders are looking dynamic again thanks to stellar high-def images, competitive prices and the unstinting rise of YouTube. Sony is taking advantage of this with the HDR-XR520, a Full HD (1920×1080) shooter that crams in a 3.2in touchscreen LCD, 240GB hard disk drive, 12x optical zoom – and just happens to be the world’s first with built-in GPS.
The XR520 is the flagship in the ’09 Handycam range but both the XR500 and XR250 also feature the headline-grabbing GPS receiver. Among the benefits of this technology is the ability to find your location, and to display it via a map on the camcorder’s LCD. What this leads to is a feature the cam calls Map Index. Using it you can find one of your movies, or a photo, on a map from its recording location.
What’s simple, but really quite clever, is another GPS function that automatically adjusts the cam’s clock and the time difference when you visit another country. A final treat allows you to use the supplied software to view the maps online. It might be tech we’re already aware of, but GPS on camcorders – so often used on holidays – really does add an exciting new element.