Like other camcorder makers, Sony has been struggling, in part because many consumers are shooting more video on smart phones. With some estimates showing camcorder sales down significantly, Sony has introduced just 11 new full-sized HD models (ranging from $250 to $1,600), the fewest they've debuted at CES in several years. More significantly, the company will no longer offer some popular standard-definition and pocket (Bloggie) models.
Even while scaling back its line, Sony continues to offer feature enhancements.
The most intriguing is in its projector camcorders, or PJ-series. Four of the five new models include an HDMI input, which will let you connect to smartphones, tablets, PCs and other devices and project content from them through the camcorder's built-in projector. The models with this feature include the HDR-PJ790V ($1,600), HDR-PJ650V ($1,100), HDR-PJ430V ($850) and HDR-PJ380 ($600)
In addition, a number of new models will feature wider-angle zoom lenses, as wide as 27mm or 28mm wide-angle, which lets you capture a wider vista than past Sony models.
Other changes from last year's models include a reduction in size and weight, the ability to shoot full HD video at 60p, and on higher-end models, a top-mounted microphone, which Sony says will capture audio with a wider dynamic range and reduced noise from wind and the device itself.
Sony is also introducing a 3D camcorder, the TD30 ($1000), with two lenses to capture 3D still photos and video. It's similar to last year's TD20, but costs $500 less. However, it lacks some TD20 features, such as a manual dial and internal memory.
Sony has also redesigned the hot shoe on its camcorders, which it now calls a multi-interface shoe, in order to expand the types of accessories it can accommodate. One of the first of these is a Wi-Fi module ($75), which lets you to transfer video and stills to smart phones, tablets, and other devices. It also lets you remotely control the camcorder, including the ability to record, start and stop video capture, from various devices.
Check out the rest of our CES 2013 coverage.