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Sony HDR-AX2000 Avchd Camcorder
Sony's HDR-AX2000 makes for an impressive prosumer-level AVCHD camcorder. While not as decked out as the HVX-NX5U (its NXCAM pro counterpart), it's a clear step up from its HDV predecessor, the HDR-FX1000. The camera's ability to capture HD and SD video in AVCHD and MPEG-2 formats--and save it to solid state media--is only one of the traits distinguishing it from its tape-based forebearer. Full 1920 x 1080 HD video--which can be recorded at 60i, 30p and 24p--is another. The footage is saved to either Memory Stick PRO Duo or SD/SDHC cards, then easily downloaded to computer for editing via USB 2.0 interface.
Along with the three 1/3" CMOS Exmor sensors and 20x 'G' lens from the FX1000 comes a new professional element: audio, in the form of dual XLR ports. This means direct input of balanced, pro-level microphones without the need for an XLR-to-mini adapter. Component, HDMI, and S-Video outputs are also available, allowing for direct connection with analog and digital displays.
Another great pro feature is the three control rings around the lens--for iris, focus and zoom--which bring a more reliable, intuitive feel to image adjustment. When you add in 4 built-in neutral density filters, color bars, zebra display, and a live histogram, you've got the perfect camcorder for documentaries, indie features, music videos and other applications where image quality won't be sacrificed for mobility and budget.