Sony Handycam HDR-GW55VE pictures and hands-on

If you're looking for a waterproof camcorder then the Sony Handycam HDR-GW55VE might be just the ticket. It was announced quietly back in March, and today we got our hands on the tough camcorder for a quick play.

The Handycam GW55VE takes the traditional pistol grip format, offering a flip out 3-inch 921k-dot touchscreen display.

The compact package offers 10x optical zoom, featuring Sony's Optical SteadyShot. The Sony G lens is 29.8mm at the wide angle and as well as offering you Full HD video, you can capture 20-megapixel still images too.

The camcorder is light at 188g, perfect to slip into your pocket, and measuring 32.2 x 105.5 x 70.2mm, it's perfectly portable.

Controls are clustered on the back so fall comfortable under the thumb, with Sony's Intelligent Auto taking care of the scene settings to get you the best results.

Making it's debut in a Handycam is Sweep Panorama, which Sony says will detect faces as you sweep to ensure that people are in focus. A clever self-portrait mode helps to compose your shot automatically for you, so you don't cut off your own head.

The Handycam GW55VE model also features a built-in GPS, so you'll be able to record your location on your travels, with waterproofing down to 5 metres, with dust and shock resistance.

We didn't have the opportunity to test the new camcorder to any degree, so you'll have to wait for a full review before we can evaluate how it performs. The £499 price tag looks a little steep, so that performance had better be good to justify the expense.