Sony announces HDR-CX12 AVCHD Cam at DVinfo.net

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Old June 20th, 2008, 07:02 AM   #1
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Sony announces HDR-CX12 AVCHD Cam

Many were waiting for this and it looks like it will soon be here. This will be the memory card only version of the SR11/12, so it looks to have the same great picture quality we get from those cams since the guts are identical minus the HD. It will have the same front mounted dial that controls various manual options and will continue to have features such as zebra stripes, Bionz & Exmor processing and face detection carried over from the SR11/12. Without the HD it will have a smaller form factor. Oh yeah, it still retains the viewfinder but it looks like the LCD drops in size to 2.7" to accomodate the smaller form factor.

MSRP looks like about $900 and it should show up in late July.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 01:47 PM   #2
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Ken, do you know whether it will take SDHC cards or only the Sony Memory Stick? Thanks. :)
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Old June 20th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by John Machtinger View Post
Ken, do you know whether it will take SDHC cards or only the Sony Memory Stick? Thanks. :)
John, I'm not 100%, but I'd say it's a safe bet it will be only memory sticks. That's what Sony has always done.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 05:35 PM   #4
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John, I'm not 100%, but I'd say it's a safe bet it will be only memory sticks. That's what Sony has always done.
Yes -- there's lots of screaming about this at another site.

Just how much more does Sony charge for 2-hours?

My concern that when traveling world-wide, one won't find Sony sticks. But, there's also the problem of finding SD cards that are fast enough for video.

Z1 owners a trying to find SD cards that record without failure. It's turning into a major task. One assumes Sony cards work.

I wonder of the is an Xpresscard34 reader that accepts the Sony sticks?

By they way, they really aren't sticks anymore -- they look like SD cards.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 06:07 PM   #5
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Just how much more does Sony charge for 2-hours?
I don't believe there is the price disaparity that once existed between SD cards and memory sticks. I just ran over the Circuit City website and under "16 gig" there were two listings. One for a Panasonic SDHC card @ $319.99 and a Sony memory stick @ $299.99. I'm sure both can be had cheaper, but the old disparity just isn't there as it was.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 06:32 PM   #6
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I don't believe there is the price disaparity that once existed between SD cards and memory sticks. I just ran over the Circuit City website and under "16 gig" there were two listings. One for a Panasonic SDHC card @ $319.99 and a Sony memory stick @ $299.99. I'm sure both can be had cheaper, but the old disparity just isn't there as it was.
I think 8GB Sony was $60 at Walmart. That's an hour. MiniHDV tape was about $15, so we need prices need to drop by 4X. Is that about 18-months far away?

The CX12 seems a great option if you, as I do, believe solid-state is the future. I have an HDD camcorder and I don't see a reason to by another.

The CX12 plus the new Pana should force Canon to get do a better CF.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 07:17 PM   #7
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Oh yeah, it still retains the viewfinder but it looks like the LCD drops in size to 2.7" to accomodate the smaller form factor.
NO VF, it's the same setup as the CX7, LCD only, and 2.7 at that. BUT I think it's still a pretty decent upgrade from the CX7 to get the new features... were my eyes not aging, the 2.7 would be just fine, but getting old SUX!

Just as an aside, when I tested the CX7 against the SR11, I discovered that the CX LCD underscans (I think that's the right term, or is it overscan...). I framed a couple shots VERY carefully using the LCD borders to set the field of view. To my surprise I found that the CX was recording a wider field than the LCD was showing - and it was nearly identical to the SR11 FOV as shown by the LCD, which was almost what I had set the video frame to.


Tape v. MS

It's not fair to equate tape, which if you're realistic you shouldn't really use more than once so you avoid digital bleedthrough and other problems, with an 8GB MS Duo which I'm guessing can be recorded hundreds if not thousands of times... IIRC they quote a service life in the thousands of record cycles...

GENUINE 8GB Sandisk MS Duos are going for around $60, and I saw MKII Sony MSDuo at Fry's for $70. They are down about 50% from a year ago. 16G are around $200 IIRC, if you hunt, that will drop once Sandisk and others release. 4G are pretty cheap, seen them retail around $35-40 on sale... I think the CX12 is including at least a 4G stick (something I read said Japan gets an 8G?)

I've never had a memory stick fail (we won't talk about the Chinese knockoffs, which are VERY abundant, and are worse than garbage - they DO NOT work in these cameras!!!), but I 've had my share of tape related episodes.

The initial cost seems high for memory (and yes Sony gets a premium for Memory Sticks, I've paid my share), but if you're using it very much and you start to consider cost per use over the life of the memory stick... it doesn't seem unreasonable at all, you might even become inclined to say it's cheap!

Now if you buy the cam for one event and have to kick out $70, sure it doesn't make sense... but I've got a stack of MiniDV tapes (don't we all?)... even at the price I paid for them, there's more than $70 there, and I won't use them again other than as an archive... and many are probably half or less recorded!

Solid state memory recording isn't the future, it's RIGHT NOW, once you take time to consider all the aspects.

I've said it before, these little cameras make it FUN to shoot. If you don't like the footage or whatever, you can stick in on a corner of a massive hard drive, or delete it and reshoot or forget about it - your cost for "stock" to record on is inconsequential.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 07:36 PM   #8
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Dave, according to the Sony site, they do specifically mention a viewfinder. Take a look at the specs...unless it's a misprint, it clearly states it has it, plus it gives its pixel count. One of the pictures however doesn't look like a viewfinder is present. At any rate this is what the Sony site says:

Display:
LCD Screen : 2.7" wide1 touch panel Clear Photo LCD Plus™ display (211k pixels)

Viewfinder : Color Wide 16:9 (123K Pixels)

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665466947
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Old June 20th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #9
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Pictures elsewhere look just like the CX7 - NO VF - I'm going with the site has some "1st day" errors. I think someone mentioned it had headphone jack too, and while I haven't found any pics of the reverse side of the cam, that's the ONLY place they could be hiding any more I/O. My vote is no mic/phones, but MAYBE they found somewhere to squeeze it in. I can see on my CX7 where the control knob goes... but I'm not seeing anyplace else to add controls or I/O.

I also see that they left the "LANC" spec blank, but they are saying this will work with the SPK-HCD, meaning there's a LANC interface hidden in the A/V port AGAIN.

FWIW, my experience with "Sony US" product knowledge has been less than stellar. Calls to customer support with very specific questions are as likely to get wrong answers as not. Doesn't surprise me that the site has errors one teeny bit, they'll fix them eventually! You'll more likely get better and more accurate info here though <wink>!
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Old June 20th, 2008, 09:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Tape v. MS

It's not fair to equate tape, which if you're realistic you shouldn't really use more than once so you avoid digital bleedthrough and other problems, with an 8GB MS Duo which I'm guessing can be recorded hundreds if not thousands of times... IIRC they quote a service life in the thousands of record cycles...
Sorry, my goal is to REPLACE tape with SS. When SS reaches tape price, I'll shoot once, label them, and stick them in a tiny box.

After using an HDD camcorders for a year, I'll not sign-up again for non self-archiving media. Sony, IMHO, blue-laser is the smart way to go. Shoot, edit, store.

P2 works for news because stations have one or more INGEST machines that you hand your P2 cards to and let them move the contents to some big disk system somewhere. That's a job I'm not interested in.

In suspect that by the time you convert AVCHD to "something" and make a backup copy to DVD, you could have captured an HDV tape.

Once we get quad core laptops (EDIUS claims QC are needed for smooth playback) and SD cards drop in price -- we can get to the real promise of Solid State recording with non of today's worries.

PS: You may not have had an SD card fail. That's not the issue with the Z7. Many cards that have the right peformance ratings, fail to record without glitches at the rates REQUIRED by the Z7.

PS: No VF.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 10:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post
Dave, according to the Sony site, they do specifically mention a viewfinder. Take a look at the specs...unless it's a misprint, it clearly states it has it, plus it gives its pixel count. One of the pictures however doesn't look like a viewfinder is present. At any rate this is what the Sony site says:

Display:
LCD Screen : 2.7" wide1 touch panel Clear Photo LCD Plus™ display (211k pixels)

Viewfinder : Color Wide 16:9 (123K Pixels)

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665466947
yep, looks like it has a tiny viewfinder... but no LANC, MIC Input, ILINK or Firewire (not that you need it), and a mini HDMI connector. I think I will stick with my HC7.
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Old June 21st, 2008, 03:37 AM   #12
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NO VF, sometimes specs are misprints... not the first time, won't be the last - look at the pix. Same shell as the CX7 or VERY close to it. No place for a VF.

probably no mic or HPhone, transfer is through USB, and is fast and efficient. Mini HDMI carries over as likely does a LANC interface on the A/V jack. I've built adapters for that... just trying to reverse engineer a couple other aspects of the Sony port system.


Steve -

In time SS storage will no doubt come down to close to tape - it wasn't too long ago that memory was measured in MB, and cost almost as much as todays GB sticks...

As far as archival storage, downloading the files onto a hard disk is quick and painless (have to do that to edit ANYWAY), and while I might hope that what I shoot is so important that it should be saved for posterity, once I do a mixdown, I can burn the source files to DVD's if I really want to keep them around... very cheap storage. For the most part, burning the final mix to DVD is plenty good, and while render time from AVCHD source takes a while, it provides a break or I can work while rendering in the background. If you really need archives, buy a new 160Gb or whatever the best $/Gb drive available at the time is, when it's full, rebox and put in a safe place... you would need to keep some records of what was where, but 160GB is around 40 FULL tapes by my reconning (if you don't transcode). Off the top of my head the math suggests it would be economical.

I think a lot of your problems have to do with not having Mac workflow dialed in. Others seem to have worked it out, and AVCHD has been a lot easier (on a dual core PC and I DON'T transcode) than my first crack at HDV... Don't tar the format with such a broad brush.


AS for Memory card failures... I've had sufficient experience with Chinese knockoff 8GB MSDuos (around 99% of the ones sold on eBay are knockoffs), and show varying degrees of functionality or more accurately LACK thereof.

I can't say for certain, but I'd suspect there's a lot of knockoff memory cards out there, and knockoffs are prone to numerous problems. Either get to know your memory, or know your source. There's a lot of imported crap out there, I've run across it in other memory card formats too, with other "name brand" labels, and it causes various malfunctions and file write/read problems. You can't blame your racecar for stalling out if you put cheap low octane gas in it... and it's too easy to blame the 2K camera for the malfunction of the $40 memory card you stuck in it because it was "such a deal".

Speculation, but based on plenty of practical real world experience with knockoff memory cards... and yes, I blamed the camera at first too, so I'm not pointing fingers, just offering a highly probable explanation.
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Old June 21st, 2008, 07:19 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
After using an HDD camcorders for a year, I'll not sign-up again for non self-archiving media.
Of course as I've said many times, it does make me wonder why you bothered with the SR11. If you weren't even considering this type of cam, why did you pick it up at Costco? This is what drives retailers to charge restocking fees.
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Old June 21st, 2008, 07:25 AM   #14
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NO VF, sometimes specs are misprints... not the first time, won't be the last - look at the pix. Same shell as the CX7 or VERY close to it. No place for a VF.
I think you're right Dave. They did the same thing on one of their brand new 'all in one' computer systems that I've been considering for a general purpose home computer. The opening page shows a T9300, 2.4gig processor, but when you go in to the specs, you see it actually has a T8300, 2.3gig processor. Not a big difference in processors, but it does make you wonder if anyone actually proofs anything on their site.

We had the same issue with Canon several months ago in their camcorder advertising. You'd certainly think these guys would be more careful than they are.
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Old June 21st, 2008, 08:27 PM   #15
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Of course as I've said many times, it does make me wonder why you bothered with the SR11.
I was ONLY looking at the Canon until you gave it such negative "review!" After your glowing Sony "review" I figured HDD might be worth it if the Sony was SO much better. (And, we are 18-months away from SD prices falling to the right price point.)

And, at that point, I had no idea Sony decided not to allow the option to turn-on the VF at the same time the LCD was on. In the past Sony has allowed this option. Which means when using menus, both Canon and Sony can't use a VF. Which makes them both equally bad menu-wise in bright light.

So far I've found:

1) The Sony, like most all recent camcorders, can be trusted to shoot in AUTO *most* but not *all* of the time. IF one cares about maximum quality, one will have to manually over-ride it's computer even in good light.

2) As one shoots in more difficult situations, I have no reason to expect the Sony won't require even more manual correction. I expect the same to be true of the Canon -- and any camcorder.

3) Thus, the question becomes HOW EZ IS IT TO MAKE MANUAL CORRECTIONS? And, does the camcorder allow one to make all the necessary corrections ONE wants to make.

The Sony does use the exposure system as I described earlier. On bright shots the shutter goes to 1/250th which makes fast moving objects strobe. IF one cares about this, one has NO shutter control on the Sony -- you do on comparable cameras.

4) The real key to using the Sony with it's touchscreen multi-level menu system is to understand which are the BEST menus to use to make corrections. Given the combination of assignable Control Dial and touchscreen -- there are both efficient and inefficient WAYS to use the Sony.

5) Once this is well understood, given the quality possible from the EXMOR chip, the SR series MAY be able to deliver the quality of the camcorder we wish someone would make at the $2000 price-point. In other words, a camera that can be used for more than shooting "kids."

6) However, once one thinks of HOW to make a $1,000 camcorder perform like a $2,000 camcorder -- what YOU claim is Sony's better image quality may not be enough. For many, the fact that the Sony doesn't shoot 24p will rule it out. Period. End of story. They may be willing to accept, for example, less low-light performance and chose the Canon.

Or, they may say I'll wait a couple of months for the Pana that offers a ring-based control system. (In fact, even if one doesn't care about 24p, some might prefer to wait for the Pana just to avoid the touchscreen (Sony) and to get a VF (Canon).

Bottom-line -- the bottom-line has not been reached. FOR ME -- the issue is very simple. Which is WORKS better in real shooting situations: the Sony with a touchscreen control system or the Canon with a joystick but no VF. (I'm not willing to give-up manual control because so far I know even the Sony can't give its best quality in AUTO.)

Which camera "works" better can only be judged by using the camera for many weeks, which is why Costco gives one 3 months to try a camcorder. (And, why I don't buy from BB.)

PS: If Pana's pro division releases a re-calibrated version of the new consumer camcorder -- it will likely fall into the $2,000 price range and be a very good option.
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