Not quite ready to hop aboard the projector train? Sony’s betting that 3D might be your game. The Handycam TD30V is the company’s $999 answer to 2012’s $1,499TD20V, delivering a nearly identical feature set for a heck of a lot less cash. There’s absolutely no reason to toss last year’s model up on eBay in favor of adopting this slight modification — instead of adding features, Sony trimmed a couple tools, if only to appease recent 20V adopters. There’s a 20.4-megapixel Exmor R sensor, a 17/10x zoom lens (12x in 3D mode) with a 29.8mm wide-angle position in 2D or 33.4mm when capturing footage in three dimensions. The 1.229m-dot 3.5-inch 3D LCD remains, as does the 5.1-channel mic, microphone jack, Optical SteadyShot, AI shoe, GPS and HDMI port, though the company opted to drop the 64 gigs of internal memory (none is available here), along with the manual dial. In exchange, 2013’s flavor picks up an all-black finish, that definitely delivers a premium feel over its predecessor.
During our brief hands-on with the TD30V, we were pleased with the look and feel of the camera — we wouldn’t have cried foul had Sony priced this closer to $1,500, but at $999, it’s just that much more appealing. We didn’t have an opportunity to review footage on a 3D set, but the camcorder’s LCD does a fair job of displaying depth in 3D mode, enabling you to judge the end result without a realtime footage feed to an external display. The camera is lighter in hand than we expected, based on its size and appearance, and although the 30V was comfortable to use, you’re not going to want to walk around with it dangling around your neck.