Excellent video image quality! LOVE this camera!
Excellent image quality, great button placement and large storage make this a beautiful camera!
Still image quality still won't replace your need for a still and video camera.
The Bottom Line:
If you are ready to move to a High Definition camera and are tired of tapes....this is a great choice.
Tired of dubbing video from Mini DV tapes? Looking to move to High Definition (HD)? Well this might be the camera for you!
I bought this camera about 3 months ago, and took it on a trip to the Caribbean shortly after buying it. It has performed very thus far and the only complaint I have is that the still camera does not take very high quality images – however, I've yet to see a camcorder photo that can compare with my digital SLR, so understand that I have pretty high standards when it comes to image quality.
I've taken perhaps around 4 hours of video on the camera thus far, and ALL has been excellent quality. I can't say enough about how good the image quality is on the video side. I've taken footage in low light, and bright sun, and the camera produces beautiful video in both. It focuses fast, although I did notice a couple of instances where there were multiple faces at different focal distances where it wasn't sure which to focus on (I've been using the facial recognition focus feature almost exclusively). The camera does have a very easy to use manual override focus knob on the front that makes over riding focus easy.
I plugged the camera into my PS3 and directly into my TV and it plays back nicely on both. Via the PS3, you can use your PS3 remote to control playback
one of the nice advantages of going all Sony.
I also copied footage to my laptop and viewed footage there also. The included software makes copying to your PC easy, and sync's your PC and camcorder automatically.
I also copied files to DVD using Sony's new DVD burner, and that was a breeze, but I did end up returning the Sony DVD burner as it doesn't support High Definition inputs to Dual Layer disks via the USB connection (which makes no sense—I'll have to write a separate review of that!).
Still image quality was ok at best. The camera's flash is to close to the lens (a problem with most camcorders) which results in major red eye problems. When choosing a camcorder, I wouldn't get distracted by still image features just yet. I don't think there is one device that can take video and still images in high quality
Buttons—I do like the layout of buttons on the camcorder, in particular, the zoom and record buttons on the left of the flip out screen are really handy. I wouldn't buy an camcorder without buttons there!
You will likely need to buy a mini HDMI adapter plug to take full advantage of the HDMI output of the camera. It is a pity Sony didn't include one, but you can pick one up on EBAY for $10. I wouldn't buy a complete cable, but rather just an adapter plug.
The 12x zoom on the camera is plenty for all the shooting I've done. Some people are looking for 15x to 20x optical, but I just don't see the need. Sony does now have a 15x HD zoom, and it comes with a smaller still image engine-this might be a good option as the still camera isn't a strength.
Overall, I've really enjoyed taking video on this camera, and hope to use it for many years to come.
Here are all the detailed specifications for the camcorder:
Digital Zoom 180 x
Optical Sensor Size 1/3.1 in
Optical Sensor Type ClearVid CMOS
Min Illumination 0 lux
Digital Video Format AVCHD, MPEG-2
Special Effects - Sepia, Pastel, Monotone, Old Movie
Image Stabilizer Optical (Super Steady Shot)
Digital Scene Transition Black fader, White fader
Min Shutter Speed 1/2 sec
Max Shutter Speed 1/800 sec
Shooting Modes - Digital photo mode
Shooting Programs - Snow, Beach, Candle, Sunset, Sunrise, Fireworks, Landscape, Spotlight, Portrait mode, Twilight mode, Twilight portrait
White Balance Custom, Presets, Automatic
White Balance Presets - Indoor, Outdoor
Exposure Modes - Program, Automatic
Exposure Metering - Spot, Matrix
Camera Flash - Built-in flash
Widescreen Video Capture -Yes
Camcorder Effective Still Resolution - 5.08 megapixels
Camcorder Interpolated Still Resolution - 10.2 megapixels
Color Support - Color
Still Image Format - JPEG
Remote Control -Yes
Remote control - Infrared
TV Tuner - None
Memory / Storage
Digital Storage Media – Memory Stick Duo
Hard disk drive - Built-in - 60 GB
Image Storage JPEG 3680 x 2760, JPEG 3680 x 2070, JPEG 640 x 480
Media Type Hard disk drive
Recording Speed HQ, LP, SP
Effective Flash Range - 1 ft - 8 ft
Zoom lens - 4.9 mm - 58.8 mm - F/1.8-3.1
Focal Length 4.9 mm - 58.8 mm
Lens Aperture F/1.8-3.1
Optical Zoom 12 x
Lens system type Zoom lens
Min focal length 4.9 mm
Max focal length 58.8 mm
Auto Focus TTL contrast detection
Lens Manufacturer - Carl Zeiss
Filter Size 37 mm
Focus Adjustment - Manual, Automatic
Zoom Adjustment- Motorized drive
Low Lux / Night Mode - Yes
Digital Still Camera Function -Yes
Additional Features - Face detection, Built-in speaker, PictBridge support, Progressive scanning, Touch-screen control, USB 2.0 compatibility, Backlight compensation, Dynamic Range Optimizer, Progressive shutter system, Takes photos while movie recording, Dolby Digital 5.1 channel recording
Remote control Remote control - Infrared
Drivers & Utilities, Sony Picture Motion Browser
Included Accessories -Docking station
Viewfinder Type - Electronic
Image Aspect Ratio (camcorders) 16:9
Type - LCD display - TFT active matrix - 3.2 in - Color
Type Microphone - Built-in
Microphone Features Zoom
Connector Type - 1 x Composite video/audio output, 1 x Component video output, 1 x (mini) HDMI output, 1 x USB, 1 x S-Video output
Expansion Slot(s) 1 x Memory Stick PRO Duo
Audio input type - Microphone
Microphone type- Built-in
Microphone Operation Mode- Surround
Microphone Technology - Electret condenser
Cables Included - USB cable, A/V cable
Power Device -Power adapter - External
Supported Battery- 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery ( Included )
Viewfinder / Display
Display Format 921,600 pixels
Viewfinder Color Support - Color
Width 3.3 in
Depth 5.4 in
Height 3 in
Weight 1.2 lbs