Sony introduces Balanced Optical SteadyShot for well under a grand with CX430V, PJ430V Handycams (hands-on)

Sony's Balanced Optical SteadyShot has been perhaps one of the camcorder industry's greatest innovations in recent years, delivering a much smoother handheld picture by moving the entire lens module, rather than specific elements, to compensate for shake. Launched at last year's CES, Sony's CX760V was the first model to include the stabilization feature, but at $1,500, it's very much a premium option. Now, two sub-$1,000 offerings have been given the gift of smooth shooting -- the CX430V and PJ430V will ship in March for $699 and $849, respectively, and have plenty of other tricks up their sleeves, too. Both models include Exmor R sensors with 8.9-megapixel stills capture, a 55/30x G lens with a wide 26.8mm focal length, a 230k-dot 3-inch LCD, 16 gigs of flash memory, 60p captures, GPS, a 5.1-channel mic and microphone input jack, along with selectable AVCHD and MP4 output and a Multi Interface Shoe. The PJ430V adds a 13-lumen projector with HDMI input, for displaying content from a variety of external sources.

We were able to go hands-on with both models -- they feel much more solid than Sony's less-equipped Handycams, such as the CX380 and PJ380, likely due in no small part to the large Balanced Optical SteadyShot module at the cameras' core. They have a textured matte black finish, and solid hinges and doors. The 3-inch touchscreen is bright, but not terribly sharp -- still, it gets the job done. Both models have mic inputs, headphone jacks and HDMI outputs behind the LCD, while the projector version also adds an HDMI input for feeding in content from other sources. We were't able to record and review footage, but zooming seemed smooth and responsive and the Balanced Optical SteadyShot appeared to assist with stabilization, especially when zoomed in. As always, we've gathered some shots for you in our hands-on gallery just below.%Gallery-173365%

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