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By Andrew Gould 27 May 2009

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Our first reaction, upon opening the DCR-SX40E\'s packaging, was one of sheer surprise at the size of this flash-based camera. It\'s tiny. It\'s almost too small. One expects a video camera to be… well the size of a video camera. Can something this size offer real performance?

With 4GB of storage, it\'s unlikely you\'ll be shooting a feature length film with it, but you will be able to record up to 3 hours of footage. Even better, because it\'s based on solid-state storage there are no tapes to change. If 4GB just won\'t cut it, Sony has included a Memory Stick PRO Duo slot, so you can expand its storage.

The DCR-SX40E features the, now ubiquitous, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, which is a far cry from the cheap lenses you\'ll find on a host of other entry-level cameras. There is also a 60X optical zoom, which allows you to get right in there for those emotional ultra-closeups. 

Unfortunately the imaging sensor lets this standard definition camera down a bit. It consists of a single CCD measuring an eighth of an inch, and has a pixel count of just over 4 megapixels.

You might also be a bit disappointed when viewing footage on an HD TV, as there quite a few digital artifacts lurking on the screen. But if all you\'re recording is the family and friends you\'ll probably love this tiny camera.

PROS
You can expand your storage via a Memory Stick PRO Duo slot.
CONS
You can only take 4 megapixel stills which is a bit of a let down.
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