Compact digital camcorders still have a place for shooting video that's better than what your smartphone offers, but even standalone camcorders tend to offer subpar audio.
Sony's recently announced HDR-MV1 is focused on applications where sound quality is more important than video, packing together a compact HD camcorder with a high-quality portable audio recorder.
The HDR-MV1 includes 120-degree X-Y stereo microphones capable of recording in uncompressed linear PCM (48kHz / 16-bit) or compressed using the AAC codec. Sony also touts the ability to connect external microphones or instruments, although the MV1 doesn't appear to have XLR inputs like higher-end audio recorders, such as the Zoom H6. There's also a built-in speaker, making it easy to quickly check recordings right on the device.
On the video side, the MV1 records at 1080/30p and features a 120-degree wide-angle Carl Zeiss lens, with Sony claiming similar performance to its Sony HD Action Cam. There's also built-in Wi-Fi, allowing you to upload directly to a smartphone or tablet using Sony's PlayMemories Mobile app, as well as control the MV1 using a smartphone. NFC is also included for instant pairing with compatible devices.
Pairing up a compact camcorder with some decent mics isn't a new idea, as products like the Zoom Q3HD have been around since 2010, but if Sony can hit the right mix of pricing, portability and performance, the HDR-MV1 could be a handy tool for anyone that needs basic video recording with above-average sound. Sony is specifically marketing the HDR-MV1 to musicians for recording performances and practice, but I could also see it being a worthwhile option for video podcasters and recording interviews.
The Sony HDR-MV1 is set to be released in December with retail price of $300.