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The 2009 show is the first in years where the hottest, coolest new products were something other than DSLRs.

Sony's HX1

Sony's HDR-CX100, like many other camcorders, includes a full suite of cutting-edge features, such as face-detection and smile shutter. Priced at around $600, this Sony represents one of the most affordable in its class.

Samsung's standard-resolution SMX-F34 seems to top the zoom-range charts with a 34x optical zoom. This camcorder, like most SSD camcorders, boasts an extended running time per battery charge -- three hours, in this case -- another advantage of SSDs being that it takes less power to move molecules than reels of tape.

These are transitional times for video, and customers will require a lot of hand-holding when they try to decide which type of system suits them best. Should it be SSD, HDD, Hybrid, DVD, or tape? Should if be hi-def or standard? Widescreen or 4:3? Stereo or surround sound? 1920p or 1080p?

The answer for the videomaker shooting for his large-screen home theater system may be different than for the videomaker shooting for his website. Or who knows, maybe not -- videos, like still photos, are subject to "repurposing," meaning a given clip may be presented in a number of forms and formats. Software exists for the various conversions, but the fact remains that the customer will need to think-through the range of choices and all their implications. And guess who's going to have to do most of their thinking for them?

Don Sutherland has been writing the lead articles of the Cygnus PMA Show Daily since sometime in the 1970s. See his digital photographs at