Sony's HDR-HC3 high definition camcorder just got the once over by the IDG crew in Tokyo. Remember, this is a consumer-based device that is both lighter, smaller, and more tightly spec'd than its HC1 sib. In fact, it's compact enough now, that it fits in a coat pocket or bag without weighing the reviewer down -- something not possible with the HC1. IDG was well impressed by their ability to shoot at better quality than the "majority of broadcast TV" fed into their HDTV setup. Controlling the camera could be a bit difficult, especially if held at chest-height. And the lack of feedback on the manual focus thumbwheel meant they kept the device in auto-mode most of the time. Bottom line: IDG calls the HC3 the "best camcorder at present" for consumers looking to get into High-Def home video. So now you just have to scrounge up $1700 before these drop next month.

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