Top positive review
94 of 101 people found this helpful
High Quality Camera
on February 11, 2012
I just purchased this video camera on Monday evening, Feb. 6, 2012 from Beach Camera and received it today. I have only been able to work/play with the camera for a few hours, but these are my experiences so far.
1. This was my first experience ordering from Beach Camera, through Amazon. Was a little concerned at first when product didn't ship for a couple of days, but when they did ship, it must have been shipped two day priority, because it arrived halfway across the country by Saturday. Package arrived in perfect shape and sealed in factory condition. So far, impressed by Beach Camera and their service.
2. Camera is physically much smaller than I expected. It feels about the same size of a can of soda laying on it's side. Very nice! My last video camera was a Panasonic mini dv. That camera was a decent size, but this Sony is even more compact and fits very nice in my hand. The controls, zoom, photo button and record button all line up nicely and are easy to use. The camera feels solidly built, just as most sony products.
3. One item that I was concerned about was whether there was an available SD or memory card slot to add memory. The Sony website doesn't really make it clear whether there is that feature, or if it's just the internal memory. Well I can positively confirm that there IS a SD memory card slot on the bottom side of the camera. A little door flaps open and you insert the card. It probably accepts a memory stick too, but I only tried a SDHC extreme memory card 16gb card. Worked perfectly!
4. Now, for the feature that was the biggest hit with my family.... the built in projector! This is truly amazing technology. I projected a few of the short movie clips I just took, onto a large empty wall, and we were all totally amazed at the quality and sound. I backed up about 15 feet from the wall and projected an approximate image of 8 feet across. I am impressed at the image it can project at such a distance. Our wall is painted a medium brown color and it still looked good. Of course it would look even better if the wall was white or was actually projected onto a movie screen. Sound is pretty much what you'd expect from a pair of small speakers, sort of tinny, but it was pretty loud and definitely good enough to sit around and listen to our home movies. Good job Sony!
5. As for the quality of the video, this is what I've experienced so far. I played around briefly with the top two quality settings, 60i and 60p. I hooked the camera directly to my HD tv via the HDMI cable that came with the camera. The 60p looked slightly better, but both videos looked great. The video I took was at night, with only interior lighting on and it still looked great. I can't wait to see what daytime video looks like. It was super easy to view the video on the tv. As soon as I plugged the camera into the tv, the tv recognized the device and displayed exactly what was on the LCD screen. The only annoying thing was the sound coming out of the video camera and the tv at the same time, gave it an echo sound. I'm sure there is a way to turn down the sound on the video camera when plugged into the tv, just haven't figured it out yet.
6. Another feature I love is the crispness of the LCD screen. The high resolution of the screen makes the image so clear and easy to view. Love it! The only minor complaint I would have of the screen is the touchscreen feature. So far it seems like I have to press on the screen twice in the same spot to activate what ever button I was trying to push. Maybe it's just me being to careful and not wanting to press to hard on the screen or the screen isn't as responsive as it needs to be. Either way, I'm sure after a little more use, I'll get use to it and it won't be a big deal.
7. As for software, there is no cd/dvd's that come with the camera. There is a "lite" version of Home Memories software that comes preloaded on the internal memory of the camera. When you first plug the camera into your computer, you upload the software and install it. The software then offers to download additional features from it's servers. I downloaded and installed the additional features and it worked perfect. I have a computer with windows 7 that is about 4 years old. The software looks pretty basic, but it does do a nice job of importing and organizing your old photos and then imports your new video and pictures from the camera. I haven't worked with it enough to know how easy or hard it is to edit video or burn discs. I was able to import the new video clips I recorded tonight and was able to play all of the clips, including the highest quality video on my computer no problem. I played the video in both windows media player and in the Home Memories software and both looked really good!
Overall my initial impressions are very good. The still picture quality appears to be average to good for a video camera. Definitely not as good as a stand alone digital camera, but truthfully I haven't taken very many pictures, so maybe it will be better than I think. I plan on buying an extra high capacity battery, since I have never had good luck with batteries lasting very long, plus it's always good to have a backup.
One feature I haven't been able to figure out yet is what happens when you're recording video and either your internal memory or memory card gets full, does it switch over to the other memory seamlessly? Or does the recording stop and you have to switch to the other memory. When i determine the answer to that question, I'll post an update.
In summary, this appears to be a high quality camera that seems appropriately priced for the features it has. I definitely recommend it. My kids can't wait to make home movies with their friends and have a movie/popcorn night and watch their creations projected larger than life up on the wall!