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March 2008

March 2008 Essentials Review: High Tech


Sony Handycam DCR-SR82
Unless you’ve been thru-hiking for the last six months, you probably know that the cost of digital memory has cratered faster than the mortgage market. Case in point: This handheld digicam features a 60GB hard drive–enough for 40 hours of video to jumpstart your own survival show. In Great Sand Dunes National Park, the 25x optical (100x digital) zoom framed hikers from a quarter mile away. An intuitive touch-screen makes it easy to correct white balance and cycle through nine shooting modes, and the 2.7-inch screen swivels 270 degrees for low-angle shots and self-portraits. The camcorder survived two drops without damage, thanks to a shock absorber that cushions the processor. Downside: The rechargeable battery only lasts 1.5 hours. $600; 14 oz.;

V.I.O. POV.1 Video System
This helmet-cam-plus is one of the coolest video tools we’ve tested this year. Its loop-and-tag feature lets you record clips in preset loops (up to 30 minutes), then tag only the video you want to save. That means you can continuously record an entire three-hour mountain-bike ride, but just keep the big crash at mile 12–all without a stack of memory cards. "I captured the highlights of a five-day backpacking trip on a 2-gig memory card," raved a tester. Its lipstick-size camera works best attached to a helmet (straps included), but we also lashed it to trekking poles and packs. A crimp-resistant, 5-foot cable with an integrated microphone connects camera to recorder and 2-inch LCD screen, and it’s controllable with a wireless remote. The waterproof kit runs on four AAs and captures video in six resolutions. Video editing software is included. Gripe: For the price, we want a lens that zooms. $850; 1 lb. 1 oz. (with batteries);

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