The Home Electronics Division of Hitachi America, Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., has introduced two new DVD camcorder models. The new models, the UltraVision Digital DZ-MV350A and DZ-MV380A, reduce the camcorder's chassis by roughly half the size of previous models. Both models also include USB 2.0 interface for fast uploading and downloading of information to and from a PC and a flash memory card slot for still images. The camcorder features a new color viewfinder and 120k pixel 2.5" LCD screen. The new LCD has almost twice as many pixels as last year's model making it easier to view in even bright conditions. Hitachi has added a new step-up feature for still photo convenience. A flash memory card enables storing and transferring images to a PC. Photos can be saved directly to an SD memory card in high, standard, or low compression. The selected compression will determine how many images can be stored on the SD card. For example, an 8MB SD card stores up to 24 images in high compression mode; 12 images in standard mode and 5 in low compression mode (DZ-MV380). Users of Hitachi's new DVD camcorders can select between increased recording quality or extended recording time for the MPEG-2 video the camera records. Using the DVD-RAM function, the camcorder uses either variable bit rate (VBR) or constant bit rate (CBR) recording formats. With a double sided DVD-RAM disc inserted, the camcorders record approximately 36 minutes of video in extra-fine mode (704x480, 3-9Mbps VBR); 60 minutes in fine mode (704x480, 6Mbps CBR); or 120 minutes in standard (352x480, 3Mbps CBR). Also, the DVD-RAM disc can hold 1,998 still images recorded at high resolution (1280x960 for DZ-MV380A and 640x480 for DZ-MV350A). For DVD-R discs, recordings can be played on most DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. The camcorder's DVD-R function shoots approximately 30 minutes of high-quality DVD video in extra fine mode (704x480, 6Mbps CBR) or approximately 60 minutes in standard mode (352x480, 3Mbps CBR). DVD-Rs are not re-writeable and must be finalized before they will play in most DVD players and DVD-ROM. The DZ-MV380A measures 2.36x3.66x5.79 inches and weighs 1.35 lbs. The unit is also slated for a second quarter, 2003, release and will retail for $1,099.95.