By Andrew Liszewski
Pico projectors might not provide the same level of image quality and luminance as their larger counterparts, but in their current state they’re certainly good enough in the right conditions. Particularly given their size allows them to be crammed into other small electronics. Nikon led the charge with their projector-equipped Coolpix S1000pj a couple of years ago, and now Sony has decided they want to play too. But they’ve chosen to stick a pico projector inside their HDR-PJ50 camcorder instead.
They claim the projector is able to throw an image up to 60-inches in size on any flat surface, through from experience we know that’s highly dependent on where you’re actually using it. If you’re in a room that’s pitch black I’m sure a projection that size is definitely viewable. But if you’re using it somewhere with even a little bit of ambient light in the room, you’ll want to be a bit less ambitious with the projection size to improve the contrast and visibility. As for the HDR-PJ50’s other features? It captures full 1920×1080 HD video to a built-in 220GB hard drive, though capturing to Memory Sticks or SD cards for easy camera<->PC swapping is also supported. It also captures audio in Dolby Digital 5.1, though I don’t know how impressive the surround sound effect will be with just a stereo camera mounted microphone.
You also get 12X optical zoom which is always one of the advantages of using a larger format camcorder like this, instead of the pocket-friendly Flip variety. Stills are captured at 7.1MP, and to keep your videos as smooth as possible there’s built-in image stabilization as well. As for pricing and availability? While the camcorder was just released in India, B&H does appear to list it (with a basic accessory kit) for $1,201.95.