The 25 Most Innovative Products of the Year

Cameras and Camcorders

Cameras and Camcorders: JVC Everio GZ-MG70, Kodak EasyShare V570, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1, Sony Handycam HDR-HC1.

JVC Everio GZ-MG70
CAMCORDER WITH HARD-DISK DRIVE ($799) You don't record your TV shows onto tape anymore--you use DVDs. And you don't copy music to tape anymore--you use CDs or MP3s. So why are you still recording your home movies to videotape? The JVC Everio GZ-MG70 (
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JVC Everio GZ-MG70
) is one of the first camcorders both to jettison videotapes and to record video to the same type of compact hard drive that MP3 players like the iPod use. This means it can store more video: A MiniDV digital videotape can hold up to 90 minutes of video, while the GZ-MG70 can hold up to 14 hours. Although this camcorder isn't perfect (the video quality is not as good as that of a comparably priced MiniDV camcorder and most video editing programs can't import the video directly), the future of camcorders is clearly hard-drive based, and the GZ-MG70 marks a big step in that direction. Latest prices

Kodak EasyShare V570
POINT-AND-SHOOT DIGITAL CAMERA ($399) When you're taking a group shot, it's a drag to have to squish everyone into the picture. One solution is to get a camera with a really wide angle lens--like Kodak's V570 (
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Kodak EasyShare V570
). It's the first point-and-shoot model--stateside--to incorporate two lenses (and two CCD image sensors) inside a compact 5-megapixel camera. One lens handles 23 millimeter wide-angle shots and the other takes care of the 3X optical zoom shots between 39mm and 117mm. Combined, the lenses are capable of magnifying up to 5X, allowing you to zoom into a subject from a distance. Kodak went the dual-lens route (instead of, say, one ultrawide 5X zoom lens) to keep the camera small and fairly slim. The result is stylish and impressive--and the camera takes good-looking photos, to boot. Latest prices (if available)

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1
ADVANCED DIGITAL CAMERA ($999) Sony's big and heavy
Cyber-shot DSC-R1 (see picture

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1
) may be a fixed-lens camera, but it uses a 10.3-megapixel, SLR-size CMOS image sensor--making it the first cross between a digital point-and-shoot and a digital SLR. Unlike current digital SLRs, this camera can display a real-time preview of the image you're capturing, directly from the sensor. You can frame shots through the unit's electronic viewfinder or use its fully adjustable 2-inch LCD, which pops up from the top of the camera. An added bonus: The Carl Zeiss lens offers a versatile zoom range, between 24mm and 120mm. Latest prices

Sony HandyCam HDR-HC1
HIGH-DEFINITION CAMCORDER ($1999) Although it's not the first camcorder to record high-definition video, Sony's HDR-HC1 (
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Sony HandyCam HDR-HC1
) is the world's smallest and lightest. At 23 ounces, it weighs only 2 ounces more than Sony's DCR-DVD403 camcorder--the company's smallest model. It captures gorgeous video, with sharpness and color depth far beyond what a standard-definition camcorder offers. You'll need a very fast computer to edit the high-definition video files it creates, and your options for exporting high-def movies are limited. The hefty price is more than twice what an otherwise-comparable SD camcorder costs. But it's easy to understand why when you see its incredible image quality. Latest prices

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