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Sony DCR-SX40 Handycam®

4GB flash memory/Memory Stick® camcorder (Red)

Item # 158SX40R

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Our take on the Sony DCR-SX40 Handycam®

Sony's DCR-SX40 camcorder makes a great companion for any beginner who wants to learn the basics on an easy-to-use, ultra-compact camcorder. It features a Carl Zeiss® lens for clear images and accurate colors, and a powerful 60X optical zoom for incredible close-ups. You can store nearly 3 hours of footage on this cam's built-in 4-gigabyte flash memory, or pop in an optional Memory Stick® PRO Duo™ card for longer recording times.

Sony's DCR-SX40 camcorder makes a great companion for any beginner who wants to learn the basics on an easy-to-use, ultra-compact camcorder. It features a Carl Zeiss® lens for clear images and accurate colors, and a powerful 60X optical zoom for incredible close-ups. You can store nearly 3 hours of footage on this cam's built-in 4-gigabyte flash memory, or pop in an optional Memory Stick® PRO Duo™ card for longer recording times.

Convenient recording features
Power up the DCR-SX40 simply by opening up the touchscreen LCD, then use the Easy Handycam button for fully automatic, worry-free recording. Built-in image stabilization keeps your close-ups steady, while the zoom-in mic focuses on the sounds of your subjects and not the distracting sounds around you.

Easy organization and search functions
When you're ready to review your footage, use the "film roll" button to preview thumbnails of multiple scenes on the LCD screen for an easy-to-search index. Or use Sony's "face index" to locate scenes that have a certain subject in them, like your child or spouse. This cool feature sorts your videos by which face appears in them — a truly easy way to find the footage of your loved ones.

Product Highlights:

    Storage and Formats:
    • holds at least 1 hour of video at maximum quality
    • holds up to 3 hours of standard quality video
    • records video to 4GB flash memory or optional Memory Stick® PRO Duo™ cards
    • 680,000-pixel CCD image sensor (410k effective pixels in 16:9 mode; 340k effective pixels in 4:3 mode)
    • 60X Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar® optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 2000X)
    • 16:9 widescreen mode for video and digital photos
    • digital photo mode
    • Dolby® Digital 2-channel audio from built-in zoom microphone
    • SteadyShot® image stabilization
    • 2-11/16" widescreen touchpanel LCD
    • Film Roll creates an easy-to-search index that shows you previews of your scenes
    • Face Index organizes your footage by which face(s) appears in each scene for easy searching
    • 10 Program AE (Auto Exposure) settings, including Beach, Candle, Snow, Sports, Spotlight, Sunrise & Sunset, and Twilight
    Connections and Dimensions:
    • high-speed USB port for transferring video to a compatible computer
    • audio/video output
    • 2"W x 2-3/8"H x 4-1/2"D
    • weight: 10 oz. with battery
    • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
    Supplied Accessories:
    • AC adapter/charger
    • rechargeable InfoLithium® battery (NP-FH30)
    • audio/video and USB cables
    • Picture Motion Browser software for transferring and copying videos (Windows® only)

    What's in the Box:

    • Red DCR-SX40 camcorder with 4 GB internal flash memory
    • NP-FH30 Lithium-Ion battery (7.2V/3.6 Wh/500 mAh)
    • AC-L200D AC power adapter with attached 68" cord (DC output: 8.4V/1.7A)
    • 62" AC cord
    • 58" A/V connecting cable (with proprietary connector on one end and composite video and stereo RCA audio plugs on the other end)
    • 62" USB cable (with Type A male USB on one end and Mini USB Ver.2.0 plug on the other end)
    • Handycam Application software on CD-ROM
    • Operating Guide (Eng/Span)
    • Warranty sheet
    • Warning sheet concerning battery pack
    • Sony accessories brochure
    • Product registration sheet
    • DV Direct Express brochure

    Hands-on research

    Product Research

    General Features
    Video Camcorder Features
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Battery Information
    Input and Output Notes
    Software and Computer Information

    General Features

    2.7" Touch Panel SwivelScreen LCD Screen: The 2.7" (16:9) LCD screen provides excellent viewing clarity with improved resolution. The high resolution 123,200 pixel (560 x 220) LCD screen rotates up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles providing sharp and detailed images for monitoring or playback. Mirror mode allows you to view a mirror-image of the subject you are shooting in the LCD screen when the screen is rotated 180 degrees, but the image will still be normal when recorded. In addition, the LCD doubles as an "on-screen" touch panel, allowing you to navigate through the menu system by touching the LCD screen. The LCD also features an adjustable brightness and color level. You can also power on this camcorder by simply opening its LCD display.

    Note: This camcorder does not include a viewfinder.

    Flash Memory: The Sony DCR-SX40 has an internal 4 GB flash memory which will allow you to record video and still images. When recording video, the camcorder records in Dolby Digital 2-channel stereo audio using the built-in microphone. The video can be shot in either a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio.

    Hybrid Recording: Hybrid recording technology delivers a new level of flexibility for transferring your video footage and digital photos from the camcorder to compatible viewing devices. Hybrid Recording allows you to record to the camcorder's internal flash memory, or choose instead to record to removable Memory Stick PRO Duo media. You can even select from various dubbing functions to easily copy video or still images from the internal flash memory to Memory Stick media without using a PC. Images recorded or transferred to Memory Stick media can be played directly on your PC.

    Advanced HAD CCD: The DCR-SX40 features a 1/8" (2.5mm) Advanced HAD (Hole Accumulation Diode) CCD imager with 680,000 gross pixels. The 410,000 effective video pixels in 16:9 mode or 340,000 effective pixels in 4:3 mode provide excellent detail and clarity for exceptional digital video up to 500 lines of horizontal resolution. The 340,000 effective still pixels in 4:3 and 250,000 effective still pixels in16:9 mode provide exceptional digital still photography performance.

    Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar Lens: The camcorder features a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens designed specifically for compact camcorders.

    Zoom: The camcorder has a 60x Optical Zoom for bringing your subject up close. It also features a selectable 120x or 2,000x digital zoom. Because the picture is processed digitally, the picture quality deteriorates the more you zoom in. The power zoom lever can be moved slightly for a slow zoom, or moved further for a faster zoom.

    SteadyShot Picture Stabilization: SteadyShot picture stabilization system uses motion sensors to remove unwanted picture shake without compromising picture quality like some other digital stabilization systems.

    Focus Modes: The Sony Handycam DCR-SX40 features Manual, Auto Focus, Spot Focus, and Tele Macro modes.

    • Manual Focus: With manual focus, you can manually adjust the focus of the camcorder using the touch panel. Manual focusing also allows you to control the focus in difficult situations where either the environment or the subject does not allow the camcorder's auto focus to perform optimally, such as when shooting through a window or in a crowded environment.
    • Auto Focus: You can also select automatic focusing. When using autofocus, you can choose to focus on a subject in the center of the screen or with Spot Focus, focus on an off-centered object.
    • Spot Focus: You can select and adjust the focal point to aim it at a subject not located at the center of the screen.
    • Tele Macro: This feature is useful when shooting small subjects, such as flowers or insects. You can blur out backgrounds and the subject stands out clearer. You can recorded subjects as close as 19-3/4 inches in Tele-Macro mode.

    Spot Meter: You can adjust and fix the exposure to the subject, so that it is recorded in suitable brightness even when there is strong contrast between the subject and the background, such as subjects in the spotlight on a stage.

    Exposure Modes: The Sony Handycam DCR-SX40 features the following Auto and Scene Select Exposure Modes:

    • Auto: Select this mode to automatically record pictures effectively without the preset scene select modes
    • Scene Select Modes: The following Scene Select modes are available to suit your specific shooting requirements:
      • Twilight: maintains the darkening atmosphere of the distant surroundings in twilight scenes
      • Candle: maintains the dim atmosphere of a candlelit scene
      • Sunrise/Sunset: maintains the atmosphere of situations such as sunset and sunrises
      • Landscape: allows you to shot distant subject clearly
      • Fireworks: select to record all the splendor of fireworks
      • Portrait: brings out the subject such as people or flowers while creating a soft background
      • Spotlight: prevents people's faces from appearing excessively white when subjects are lit by strong light
      • Sport: minimizes shake when shooting fast moving pictures
      • Snow: help with shooting in very bright white conditions
      • Beach: prevents people's faces from appearing dark in strong light or reflected light

    White Balance Adjustment: Sets the color balance to the brightness of the recording environment. Your choices are:

    • Auto: The white balance is adjusted automatically.
    • Outdoor: The white balance is adjusted for the following conditions: Outdoors, night views, neon signs and fireworks, sunrise, sunsets, under daylight fluorescent lamps.
    • Indoor: The white balance is adjusted for the following conditions: Indoors, party scenes and studios where lighting conditions change quickly, and under the video lamps or incandescent-like color lamps.
    • One Push: The white balance will be adjusted according to the present ambient light.

    Back Light: You can use the Backlight function to adjust the exposure for backlit subjects.

    Guideframe: The Guideframe displays a frame around the recorded images and allows you to check the subject's horizontal and vertical position.

    Data Code Function: The camcorder automatically records time codes along with the images you shoot, so you can display the date and time during playback or editing.

    Saving Video: Due to the limited capacity of the internal flash memory (4 GB), you should save the video data to some type of external media such as a DVD-R or a computer. You can save the videos recorded on the camcorder as described below:

    • Memory Stick Pro Duo: You can copy the images recorded on the camcorder's internal flash memory to an inserted Memory Stick Pro Duo card within the camcorder, without the use of a PC.
    • Picture Motion Browser Software: By using the software of the supplied CD-ROM you can save images on a DVD or the hard disk of your computer. You can use several methods to do this:
      • One Touch DVD Burn: You can save images and files with ease by pressing DVD Burn button on the camcorder and using the supplied Picture Motion Browser software. This feature allows you to backup what is on the internal flash memory with the still images being recorded first.
      • Easy PC Backup: You can also transfer and save video files that are too large for a DVD to the hard disk of your computer.
      • Creating a DVD With Selected Images: In addition, you can save images imported to your computer on a DVD. You can also edit those images.
    • DVD Recorders/Writers: You can dub images played back on your camcorder to other recording devices, such as VCRs or DVD recorders/writers. You can connect the device in either of the following ways.
      • A/V Output: The camcorder features a proprietary audio/video output, that when used with the supplied composite A/V cable or optional S-video/Audio cable, allows you to transfer content to your VCR or DVD/HDD recorder.
      • USB Port: You can dub to compatible DVD writers, such as the DVDirect Express (158VRDMC5), using the camcorder's USB port and supplied USB cable.

    Formatting: You can delete all the images on the internal flash memory of the camcorder to recover recordable free space to allow you to write in by formatting the camcorder.

    Protect: You can protect movies and photos to avoid deleting them by mistake.

    Easy Handycam: When the Easy Handycam mode is activated, most of the camera settings are set to the automatic mode, only basic functions are available, and the screen font size increases for easy viewing. This mode makes recording and playing back recordings less intimidating, even for first time users.

    Power On By LCD: The camcorder will automatically power on when you open the LCD, and turn off when you close the LCD. This feature can be turned on or off as you desire.

    Lens Cap: The built-in lens cap opens manually with a switch located on the side of the lens.

    Video Camcorder Features

    Video Recording: The Sony DCR-SX40 has a 4 GB internal flash memory and supports Memory Stick PRO Duo media (sold separately) which will allow you to record video. When recording video, the camcorder records in stereo audio using the built-in microphone. You can select a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio for your video recordings. You have three choices of video recording resolution quality:

    Video Recording and Playback Times
    Media / Recording Mode HQ SP LP
    4 GB
    Built-in Flash Memory
    55 minutes 85 minutes 175 minutes
    16 GB
    Memory Stick PRO Duo
    235 minutes 340 minutes 715 minutes

    Movie Dubbing: You can dub movies recorded on the internal flash memory to an inserted Memory Stick Pro Duo card within the camcorder without the use of a PC or other external dubbing device.

    Fader Modes: You can record a transition between scenes, using a white fader or a black fader.

    Built-In Zoom Mic: The Built-in Zoom Microphone allows you to record sound with directivity as you move the power zoom lever. The camcorder's microphone level can be set to Low or Normal.

    Face Index: Face Index makes it easy to find and play back the right video scene. Using Face Detection technology, Face Index indexes your video footage according to the faces detected in each scene. When it's time to play back video, simply search for what you want by selecting from among the detected faces displayed in the index

    Film Roll Index: Like chapters in a book, Film Roll Index helps you easily find desired scenes in video footage. When using this feature, the camcorder previews the beginning of scenes and can create scene indexes set at specified display intervals (3, 6, or 12 seconds and 1 or 5 minutes).

    Create Playlist: You can create a playlist of your favorite videos for playback using the internal flash memory or optional Memory Stick Pro Duo card. A Playlist is a list showing thumbnails of the movies that you have previously recorded and selected. The original movies are not modified even though you edit or delete the movies in the Playlist.

    Divide Movies: The Divide Movies feature allows you to divide movies on the internal flash memory of the camcorder or on an inserted Memory Stick Pro Duo card. You cannot restore movies once they are divided.

    Digital Still Camera Features

    Digital Still Image Recording: The DCR-SX40 can record still images on either the unit's built-in 4 GB flash memory or on an optional Memory Stick Pro Duo memory card (sold separately). Still images are recorded on the internal flash memory in the default setting.

    Image Resolution: Still images are recorded in 4:3 aspect ratio with a resolution of 640 x 480 or at 16:9 aspect ratio with a resolution of 640 x 360 for easy image transfer to your computer so you can e-mail or print your still photos.

    Copying Still Images: You can coy still images from the camcorder's internal flash memory to an inserted Memory Stick Pro Duo card within the camcorder.

    Capturing Still Images From Video: You can copy still images from video of the internal flash memory to an optional Memory Stick Pro Duo card or vice-versa.

    Self Timer: This feature starts to record your still image in about 10 seconds after the "Photo" button is depressed.

    Visual Index: The Visual Index allows you to view back either six of your still images at one time on the LCD screen from the camcorder's internal flash memory or optional memory stick.

    Date Search: You can locate the point on the internal flash memory or inserted Memory Stick Pro Duo card where the recording date changes.

    Slide Show: You can automatically play back images stored on the flash memory of the DCR-SX40 or from an optional Memory Stick Pro Duo in a slide-show fashion.

    Battery Information

    Battery: This unit comes with an NP-FH30 InfoLithium battery. The InfoLithium system exchanges data about its actual power consumption with the camcorder for a more accurate estimate of recording time available. Cold temperatures will increase battery consumption.

    Optional Batteries: The DCR-SX40 is compatible with Sony InfoLithium H-series batteries. The following optional batteries can also be used with this camcorder:

    • >NP-FH100: 6.8V, 28.5 Wh (3900 mAh)
    • NP-FH70: 6.8V, 12.2 Wh (1800 mAh)
    • NP-FH50: 6.8V, 6.1 Wh (900 mAh)

    Battery Life: The approximate charging, recording and play back times using the supplied NP-FH30 battery are as follows:

    • Charging Time (full charge): 115 minutes
    • Continuous Recording Time: 100 minutes
    • Typical Recording Time: 50 minutes
    • Playback Time: 135 minutes

    Note: Typical recording time shows the time when you repeat recording start/stop, turning the power on/off and zooming.

    Auto Shut Off: When powered by the battery the camcorder can be set to turn off automatically if not used for 5 minutes.

    Input and Output Notes

    A/V Output: This camcorder features a proprietary Audio/Video connection for use with the supplied A/V connecting cable for displaying the camcorder's contents on your television. You can change the aspect ratio of the camcorder's video output from 16:9 or 4:3 according to the screen aspect ratio of your TV. You can also choose to display the camcorder's information, such as the time code on the screen of your TV during playback from the camcorder. The supplied A/V cable has a proprietary plug on one end and male stereo RCA audio and RCA composite video connections on the other end. An optional A/V connecting cable with S-Video is also available.

    USB Port: The camcorder has a mini-USB Ver.2.0 jack for connecting to a PC via the supplied USB cable. Connecting the to a PC via USB allows the computer to access the information on the camcorder's internal flash memory. You will be able to download still images and video files to your computer. You will be able perform the One Touch DVD Burn. This will also allow you to back up the files recorded on the flash memory onto a DVD. You can edit and save your video files onto your computer, then make DVD's of them using the Picture Motion Browser software that is supplied with the DCR-SX40. The camcorder can also be used as an external storage device, convenient for archiving, storing and transporting your videos and still images.

    Memory Card Slot: The camcorder features a memory card slot for recording video or still images using Memory Stick Pro Duo memory cards. Still images are recorded on the internal flash memory in the default setting.

    DC In Jack: The DC In Jack is for use with the supplied AC adapter and charger.

    Software and Computer Information

    Included Software: The included software allows you to transfer images and video from the camcorder to a computer hard drive and view and store transferred images/videos. The supplied CD-ROM includes:

    • Picture Motion Browser Ver.4.2.00
    • Handycam Handbook
    • Product Registration

    Picture Motion Browser Software: You can enjoy the following functions after installing the supplied Picture Motion Browser Software to your PC:

    • Creating a disc
    • Importing images to a computer.
    • Viewing and editing imported images
    • Uploading movies and photos to websites

    Computer Requirements for Picture Motion Browser (Windows Only):

    Operating System Windows XP SP3
    Windows Vista SP1
    (64-bit editions and Starter editions are not supported)
    CPU Intel Pentium III 1 GHz or faster
    Memory 256 MB or more
    Hard Disk Disk volume required for installation: 500 MB
    (5 GB or more may be necessary for creating DVD discs)
    Display/Graphics 1024 x 768 or higher
    Applications DirectX 9.0c or later
    (This product is based on Direct X technology. It is necessary to have DirectX installed)
    Others USB 2.0 Hi-Speed port
    DVD burner
    CD-ROM drive (for installation)

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