Sony today announced its HDV compact camcorder for professional creatives, the HVR-Z5E, as well as the memory recording unit, the HVR-MRC1K. The camcorder features a new fixed 'G Lens' system, native progressive recording capabilities, increased sensitivity for low-light conditions and an array of other features that the company says are designed for general TV production, videographers, budget movie-makers and corporate video production professionals.

The memory recording unit offers a CompactFlash recording option, not only for the new camcorder, but for all existing Sony professional HDV camcorders.

Sony describes the the HVR-Z5E as "a natural upgrade for DSR-PD170P owners".

The new camcorder uses Sony’s new 1/3-inch 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system enhanced by the technology of Exmor. The company says that with its 45-degree rotated pixel layout, the 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system offers sufficient pixel surface area while it keeps high resolution. The technology of Exmor features a column-parallel analogue-to-digital conversion technique and dual noise canceling, resulting in high quality digital signals with extremely low noise, similar to the imaging technology used in the PMW-EX1 camcorder. Sony says that the integration of the two new technologies allows the new camcorder to perform significantly better in low-light environments with sensitivity of 1.5 lux.

The 'G Lens' incorporates Sony's unique optical design and quality control and has been optimised to complement the camcorder’s advanced image sensor and image-processing technology. This lens offers a wide 29.5mm angle lens and brand new 20x optical zoom, as well as three ND filters (1/4, 1/16, 1/64) and independent focus, zoom and iris rings.

The HVR-Z5E also offers 1080/25p Native progressive recording along with the flexibility to switch between HDV/DVCAM and DV recording (1080/50i, 576/50i). 60Hz operation will also be available via an optional service upgrade. The camcorder can down-convert material from HD to SD, and output the video signals through its i.LINK interface and other SD output connectors. HDMI output is also available.