Image stabilization is a common feature in most digital video cameras, but no camera has been able to offer the perfect remedy for a shaky hand—until now.

A video posted to YouTube showing footage taken with Sony’s latest digital video recorder, HDR-CX720, suggests that the company may have perfected the technology.

The video begins (0:04) by showing what recording with the HDR-CX720V looks like with image stabilization off. The cameraman explains that because he is recording with 10X optical zoom, there is naturally a high level of shaking.

At 0:45, the comparison continues by showing footage filmed with an older Sony Cybershot DSC-HX9V with 16X optical zoom and image stabilization turned on. There is still good amount of shaking noticeable, but undoubtedly an improvement considering the camera is zoomed in even further.

Finally, at 1:08, the HDR-CX720 steps back on stage with image stabilization on and zoomed in 442mm at 17X. The difference in astounding. While the video does seem to rock up and down a bit as the plane comes in to land (which we found soothing, if anything), the image is incredibly smooth—especially for being zoomed in so close.

The best part, however, is at 1:42 when the video switches to show what the HDR-CX720 actually looks like while recording with image stabilization on. If only they had this back in 1999 when they filmed the Blair Witch Project…

According to the product site, this gyroscopic movement is the work of Sony’s newly developed “Free Hand Optical Stablization” technology, which allows for recording of up to 13-fold without the image blurring. Though we’re not sure of the gritty details, Sony explains the technology “supports the placement and balance of the camera’s entire optical system as if it were floating in midair.”

The HDR-CX720 was released in Japan on March 9 at 118,000 yen (about US$1400). It can be purchased at Sony’s online store or a number of other online vendors (Japanese only, sorry folks!).

Source: YouTube
HDR-CX720 Product Site