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452 of 463 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best non-professional camera for the money
After spending hours researching about this camera, I bought it because I decided it was the best. Now that I have used it for several months, I know for myself. Why? Several reasons.

1. The image quality was my #1 concern and this camera doesn't disappoint. Indoors, the quality is definitely more than acceptable, but outdoors is where it really jumps out at...
Published on June 19, 2012 by Steven Alvord

versus
325 of 363 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Newer doesn't always mean better
I could not wait to get my hands on this camcorder. I thought it would be an improvement to the one that I have, (the Sony HDR-CX150) but was I wrong. I am going to give the most thorough and honest review that I can give. When I read all the details on this camcorder, it gave the impression that it was far superior to the one that I had, and by advertising it as a "newer...
Published on April 2, 2012 by Joe Jr.


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452 of 463 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best non-professional camera for the money, June 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After spending hours researching about this camera, I bought it because I decided it was the best. Now that I have used it for several months, I know for myself. Why? Several reasons.

1. The image quality was my #1 concern and this camera doesn't disappoint. Indoors, the quality is definitely more than acceptable, but outdoors is where it really jumps out at you. Color was amazing and there was absolutely no blurriness, fuzziness or grain. It's really as good as it can get.

2. The photo mode is very useful and more than just an added feature. In 8.9 mp, the quality was better than expected (outdoors at least).

3. The touchscreen interface is easy to understand and people with steep learning curves will adjust without trouble. Also, the physical buttons on the camera are few in number, with only the most used and most logical functions being present; everything else is handled one step at a time on the touchscreen.

4. I thought that the GPS function would only be a software gadget that didn't really do anything, but it is nothing short of phenomenal. I live in Ukraine, so naturally I got it shipped here. When I charged up the camera and looked at the GPS section, I saw that the map said I was in New York, presumably the place where the camera was manufactured. I told the GPS to refresh itself and went outside. The camera brought up a satellite map and started connecting with nearby satellites. Once it connected with four of them (after about 2 minutes) I got an exact map of where I was complete with coordinates and exact date and time. The map could zoom way in and I was shocked to find that not only were the names of local areas written in the local language, but the small, almost nameless street that I lived on was present on the map! Nice.

5. The projector is worth every cent of the extra $100 you need to pay for that option. It is extremely clear and the colors are almost as good as on the LCD screen itself. It's a great way to show others the videos you just took. The projector is only a few lumens though, so naturally it works better the less light there is.

6. Another cool feature, the camera takes pictures when someone on the screen smiles, great for catching moments that you would have missed otherwise. Also, you can play a video in slow-motion and then capture an image from it as a separate picture.

Now for a few important notes.

I stand by my decision that this is the best video camera out there for about $600, but that doesn't mean there are things for the buyer to keep an eye on.

First, there's the battery. I think that Sony made a good choice when balancing battery life and the size of the battery, but realistically speaking, most people will only get about an hour and a half of recording time out of a full charge, and that is only if you avoid lots of playback, projector use, and standby time. You can't really complain when you see how small the battery is and how big the LCD display is, but for those hoping for longer recording time, your best bet is to buy the optional NP-FV70 battery like I did. It provides about twice the recording time and honestly, is completely worth the extra $60. Just look out for the NP-FV100 battery pack: It's almost half as thick as the entire camera.

The other thing is the memory. Sure, 16 GB sounds like plenty, but by the time the manufacturer formats the memory and the basic camera software and satellite maps are on there, there is about 12.6 GB of space left. That's adequate, but if you like to record in medium-high quality like I do, then you might want to buy a high-capacity high-speed SD card. If you want to make good use of the GPS tagging function and the projector function, you pretty much HAVE to get an SD card, because once you move your pictures and videos off the camera, there is no way to use the projector function and using the GPS function requires that you install their software and run all of your data from there. I prefer to record in high quality FH mode which allows for full HD resolution, yet doesn't take up as much space as the higher bit rate FX mode. Not only that, but it's the highest quality mode that still allows for simultaneous picture taking and recording; anything higher and you have to quit recording to be able to take a picture. In FH mode, you can record for 1 hour and 43 minutes. By the way, don't bother recording in 60p PS mode unless you have a high-speed solid-state hard drive to put it on. Otherwise the footage will look jerky on your computer. Hard disks are too slow to adequetly process such a complex image.

These notes aside, I think that this camera is flawless except for a slightly squeaky sounding LCD screen (update: it went away after a little while.) I'm sure it's nothing more than a minor issue unique to this one camera that I received. Oh, and still images taken inside usually look grainy even in 8.9 mp; keep in mind that if quality is important, the camera function should NEVER replace a seprate still-image camera.

If you are looking for a video camera that has great video quality and a lot of cool features without bulky size or an eye-watering price, this is definitely it.
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651 of 686 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Camera!, April 24, 2012
By 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Recently while preparing for a trip to Africa, I purchased an entry level Samsung camcorder. I was extremely disappointed in both image quality and overall functionality. In fact, I did not even take it to Africa, as it offered no advantage over the camcorder functionality built into my Canon Elf digital camera.

So, I was very excited about the chance to get this higher end Sony Camcorder. After my experience with the Samsung, I came into the deal somewhat skeptical. After spending some time with this Sony, I have become a true believer. In this review, I will focus on the things I liked about this camera, as compared to the entry level cameras I have used in the past.

First, the camera is easy to use. I was able to get going with it without reading the instructions. I am of the opinion that a well designed product should be intuitive, and not need instructions. This camera receives high marks in this area. I got all features working without the manual.

Second, the quality of the video was extremely good. The camera focuses well, and the images are brilliant and have excellent contrast.

Now, some of the things that were pleasant surprises compared to my other camcorders. I was delighted to see that there was no detectable "noise" from autofocus or zoom motor. In all my other cameras, you can hear an annoying buzz as you adjust zoom, or as the camera focuses. This camera is completely quiet, and the videos do not have the annoying hum.

Next, I was happy to see the camera has jacks for an external microphone. In some applications there is no substitute for a good external microphone, and this camera is compatible with industry standard microphones.

I was also pleased with the wind reduction technology. I took several videos in relatively high wind, and the wind noise was not noticeable in the video.

The camera came with all the needed cables, and the remote.

Finally, the jaw dropping surprise. I had expected the projector to be little more than a novelty and perhaps even a nuisance. I was shocked to see that the built in projector is actually usable. In a normal room light, you can use the projector for 8X10 projection. In a darkened room, you can project a Big and Bright movie. In addition, the playback speakers provided suitable sound, especially considering their small size.

Overall, I am BLOWN AWAY by this camera. If you check my reviews, you will see I am a picky reviewer, and am often disappointed with gadgetry. Not in this case. You will not be disappointed with this camera, and it is worth every cent of the price.

I am now preparing for another trip to Africa, and this camera will definitely make the cut and go in the carry on bag. I will be visiting the Mattaw Orphan Village and can wait to take video of the children, and then project the videos for them to see.

Review Update 7/14/2012

I have returned from a two month stint of using this video camera in east Africa. I must say that I am completely blown away by this device. In addition to taking exceptional video, there are several features I found invaluable. First, the feature where it snaps still pictures as you are making videos any time it sees a smiling face. On my trip, I focused on making videos. When I got home and looked at the video card, I was delighted to see a wonderful set of still pictures which it had taken on its own (when it saw a smile). This is an excellent addition to the media material from my trip. Secondly, the built in projector. I was able to make videos of children who had never even seen their own faces. I could take them to a dark area, and show them the video of their song or dance. Absolutely incredible. This is a great piece of technology, with features that actually have value!
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622 of 663 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PLEASE NOTE THE TWO DIFFERENT MODELS, May 9, 2012
By 
R. Raimond (Lawrence, KS USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sony HDR-CX260V High Definition Handycam 8.9 MP Camcorder with 30x Optical Zoom and 16 GB Embedded Memory (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
While I've yet to use this product sufficiently to review all its features, I felt compelled to warn potential buyers about the fact that Amazon misleadingly aggregates reviews for at least two different models--the HDR-CX260V and HDR-PJ260V. While the two are almost identical, the PJ260V contains an additional built-in projector for watching your movies without needing to hook up the camcorder to a TV or laptop. Amazon uses the same product description for both, however, and applies the same reviews to both models. Therefore, unless you have a sharper eye than I, it's entirely possible to search for the CX260V, then read a number of reviews describing the product's projector; and end up mistakenly buying the CX260V instead of the PJ260V. As I see from at least one of the other comments to comments, moreover, I'm not alone in doing so. As such, if you want the projector, make sure you select the more expensive PJ260V and not the CX260V. While it's not a dealbreaker for me and I'm not sure the projector is worth the extra money, it would have been nice to have made the decision with full knowledge of the distinction.
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274 of 299 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Impressions..30X OPTICAL Zoom? HD Quality? Projection to 100"? In one word .. WOW..!, April 30, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"WOW".. that about sums this amazingly small - yet ultra powerful Video Recorder!
I have only started to use this camera but I HAD to write about it. I WILL be adding more content and showing video samples to supplement this review. But let's do a "quickie" review: 10 things that Impressed me:

1) OK.. first off.. tiny! It's amazing how small these guys are .. even compared to 2 years back!

2) The battery is rated for *up to* 9 hours.. so far I charged it only once, been setting it up, and taking small videos for about 4 days now and it still has about 1/4" left.

3) Internal Memory is 16 Gig - that represents about an hour of High quality vid. and about 5 + hours at lower res.

4) It is SONY - so it readily connects with Newer Bravia TV's and the PS3 but of course you can pretty much connect with anything these days.. but what is wild it has a built in Projector that will project a 100" image! I have tried it (not to 100"), and it works pretty good.. actually VERY good!

5) I like the built in USB cord.. it is not long at all, but it is nice to have a cord ready to plug in to re-charge, or synch with etc... if you don't have your case with all your stuff with you.

6) 30x OPTICAL ZOOM! -OK for ME this is the main reason I wanted THIS model. (They have many models with more memory etc..)
-I wanted the zoom because I take pictures and videos of nature, so it is not always easy to get close.
Many people already know this, bu just in case... when you see "Zoom" you ALWAYS need to see what the "OPTICAL Zoom" is.. that is the true power of the lenses.. no software is involved. The term "digital" or "extended" uses the processor in the camera to "fill in" data, and it is never as crisp in my opinion. So.. for this camera it is 30X Optical , and 55X "Extended" which is.. whoa.. VERY strong!

With that much zoom power you need....
7) Optical "Steady Shot" -- This is a very good image stabilizer, it reminds me of my Canon - it takes the "jitters"
out of zoom shots, and is supposed to even hold steady while walking. (I haven't tried it walking around..yet!)

8) Face detection & - SMILE detection - check this out..not only does he camera have face detection.. but when set up, when taking a video, if it detects a smile, it takes a picture! That's pretty cool.. you may get that "one in a lifetime" shot while shooting a video!

9) Built in GPS receiver - To be honest this is kinda funky and I am just learning it., But when on (it is on by default) when you take videos (outdoors naturally) it tracks WHERE you took them.. so later on you say for example: "Remember when we were in Time Square?" Instead of looking for a file number & date on the camera, (which you can) you simply touch the "map view", find Times Square and there you are.. it will show what you shot there! It is pretty neat :)

10)"Tracking Focus" - This IS cool.. lets say you are shooting a video of you kids.. or better yet your pets.. start shooting..
and from the screen you select your pet -- just by touching the screen -.. it will auto track them AND keep them in focus!
THAT is pretty cool.. and it works REAL WELL. I focused in on a Cardinal, it tracked it as it went from branch to feeder to ground.. it was seamless - I was pretty shocked.

Well that is 10 things that first impressed me with this camera.. again I WILL add to this and put some vids up.
I am extremely impressed by this video camera.

About the ONLY thing so far I can say against it.. and I am nit-picking, is that I like a viewfinder, I use a Rebel and I am always used to literally looking through the camera. There may be times in bright sun that there may be a glare or the screen may be washed out., but again, that is a small complaint and more of a personal preference and in no way a knock against this wonderful camera!

*****
Jim
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good overall camera, easy to use, lots of features, great video quality, January 13, 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony HDR-CX260V High Definition Handycam 8.9 MP Camcorder with 30x Optical Zoom and 16 GB Embedded Memory (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
This review is for the Sony HDR-CX260V. This camera is similar but not identical to the HDR-PJ260V. The differences between the two cameras are:

HDR-CX260V:
Records in stereo; has one speaker on the left side of the camera; average power use: HD: 2.6W, STD: 2.4W; Weight 7 oz; slightly smaller dimensions

HDR-PJ260V: in addition to the features of the CX (+ approx $100):
Records in stereo or 5.1; 2 speakers at the bottom of LCD; can display audio level on the screen while recording; headphone jack; average power use: HD: 2.7W, STD: 2.5W; Weight 11 oz; slightly larger dimensions; built-in projector; wireless remote (sensor at front of camera); threads for conversion lenses, filters, etc.

First of all, this is a really nice little camera. I did a lot of research before buying it, including reading all of the reviews and comments here. A lot has already been said, so I'm going to avoid covering the same ground too extensively. Personally, of the features on the PJ model, the only ones I might have had some interest in are 1) the threads to attach lens filters, and 2) the headphone jack. I just couldn't justify spending an extra $100 just for those two items.

The camera itself is a nice size but pretty small, about the size of a small can of tomato paste. The image and sound quality are excellent.

The Active SteadyShot and the Extended Zoom work together. There are 3 settings for SteadyShot: off, normal and active. In normal mode, the camera mechanically reacts to movement. The zoom at this point is completely optical, and it magnifies up to 33x. When SteadyShot is set to active, the extended zoom is also turned on, and you now can zoom to 55x. (Extended zoom does *not* reduce image quality.) Extended zoom isn't the same as *digital* zoom. Digital zoom *does* degrade image quality. It works by using an area of the sensor that is smaller than is needed to produce a full frame, and then "blows it up" to the size of a full frame. This makes it seem as if the camera has zoomed-in even closer, but it also results in a "blocky" or pixelated image which worsens as the zoom level increases. The digital zoom can magnify up to 350x (which I have been surprised to discover is fairly usable up until the very last little bit). The image stabilization does work, especially the active mode. SteadyShot is there to help with normal camera shake, but it can't fix everything (for instance running down stairs while recording). For that you want a much more expensive camera.

Low light performance is pretty good also. Two caveats: 1) leave the white balance in auto 2) if the image seems a bit noisy, try manually adjusting the exposure down a notch or two. If I'm shooting where lighting is subdued, I try to achieve a watchable image; light enough to see, but still looking like it actually was. If you try to go too much beyond that, your image noise is going to increase substantially. Also, the "Low Lux" (low light) setting isn't handled automatically, even in Intelligent Auto. You must enable or disable it yourself.

This camera has two available recording frame rates - 60i and 60p.

One thing about the camera that I found to be insanely cool - online help. Whenever you go into a menu or click on a menu choice, there's a brief description of what that item does. Also, if a choice is grayed out, go ahead and try it anyhow - the camera will tell you exactly why that option isn't available, and in some cases will make the necessary changes for you.

I found the menus to be pretty well laid out. My suggestion is play around with the camera settings a little; you're not going to break it. It takes a little time to get used to the layout. I find that I'm most often in either the Camera/Mic menu or Setup. Camera/Mic is more shooting related (white balance, scene selection), and Setup is more camera-related (usb settings, which memory to use, audio volume, etc.) In the other four submenus, there's really very little to see. I really like the touchscreen, I've kind of gotten used to that from my cell phone. (BTW the "screen calibration" menu item is to align the touch-surface with the image on the LCD, not to adjust the screen to your personal touch.) In navigating the menus, I kind of wish they'd given the option to swipe through, but the scrollbars work fine. If there are a few items you keep going to, there are 3 "buttons" on the left side of the home screen that you can customize with anything from the Camera/Mic menu. (You set this up in the Camera/Mic menu.) Some people have complained about "fat fingers" causing trouble with the touchscreen; I find that using the outside "edge" of my thumb towards the tip works well. Sometimes holding and pressing gently or even rolling slightly helps too, instead of tapping.

The camera comes well equipped, but if you're serious about shooting, at least buy a pair of larger batteries. Big Mike's has a package Sony HDR-CX260V Handycam Camcorder Battery & Battery Charger Kit with (2) NP-FV70 Batteries, AC/DC Rapid Charger, LCD Screen Protectors and Micro Fiber Cleaning Cloth for around $40, all good quality, which is less than the cost of a single OEM battery; a great deal.

For memory, I purchased a Class 10 64GB SanDisk SDXC card. This camera requires an SD card of Speed Class 4 or higher. The largest card that Sony guarantees will work is 64GB, but larger cards MAY work. SD or SDSC cards are available up to 2GB; avoid them, they are most likely too slow to work properly. SDHC (High Capacity) 4GB to 32GB, are compatible with pretty much everything. SDXC (eXtended Capacity) 64GB up to 2TB (2048 GB); uses the ExFAT file system, which may not be recognized by computers (XP needs a patch to use ExFAT), TVs, DVD/Blu-Ray players, etc. unless the card is reformatted to FAT32 (which isn't straightforward). In a few of the reviews where people weren't able to access data, or their computers crashed trying, there's a good chance that they were using an SDXC card on a system that wasn't set up for it. Unless you're computer savvy and absolutely need a 64GB card, stick to SDHC cards (32GB and below) and save yourself some headaches. This is an issue with the memory card itself, not the camera.

I was able to connect to my computer by USB with no problems on the first try. If you record on a removable card, you can also just remove it and use a card reader to copy files to your computer. Video files have an .MTS extension and are found in the "\PRIVATE\AVCHD\BDMV\STREAM" folder. Photos can be found in the "\DCIM\100MSDCF" folder.

Another note: you determine which memory you want to record to (internal or external) in the Setup menu. The camera won't switch between them automatically. Also, some concerns have been raised about the camera recording in 2GB files; there is no gap at the switchover and the camera will continue recording until you run out of space or turn it off; it's invisible to the user. If you use the onboard software, it will reassemble the clips for you. Otherwise it's simple to do in an editing program.

The Built-in Zoom Mic works really well, I'm actually kind of impressed. Closer Voice on the other hand is much more subtle. With Closer Voice on, some of the background noise is removed, but speech seemed slightly muffled/distorted/burbly which is a side effect of some types of noise reduction. It's possible that some of the room reverb was removed also, but it's difficult to tell for certain. Since you can't have Zoom Mic and Closer Voice on at the same time, my vote is for Zoom Mic.

Regarding some complaints about hearing camera noise; turn off the automatic gain control by setting Micref Level to "low", and make sure that the zoom mic is turned off. As an example, if you were shooting an outside scene through/near to window glass, the camera sounds will bounce off the glass into the microphones on the front of the camera and zooming in will make it even worse. With Micref Level set to low, I noticed no camera sounds, and quiet moments were actually quiet.

Auto wind noise reduction; nice feature. In order to remove the noise, the sound quality will be affected to at least some degree. The noise reduction probably involves partially combining the left and right channels to cancel out some of the sound that is common to both channels. This would reduce stereo separation somewhat, making it closer to mono. I guess the question is, do you want an accurate recording with all the wind noise on it, or would you prefer something that is listenable, but sounds a bit "off"? My vote is for the latter.

Intelligent Auto handles the following settings: face detection, scene detection, camera-shake detection and sound detection. If any of these settings are turned off, turning on Intelligent Auto will enable them; however, turning Intelligent Auto back off won't put the settings back where they were. You will need to go back and disable those items again. I suspect many people will just want to leave Intelligent Auto "on", or otherwise won't bother messing with the affected settings. (Incidentally Intelligent Auto isn't on by default; the "button" to enable it is on the lower right-hand corner of the LCD, or it can also be done in the Camera/Mic menu.) Normally screen indicators tell you either status (i.e. battery level) or that something's been turned on. For the following (which relate mostly to Intelligent Auto), you get a screen indicator when the item is turned *off*: Face Detection, Smile Shutter, SteadyShot, Auto Wind NR and Closer Voice.

There's a setting available called x.v.Color; this is a cool feature whose time hasn't quite come yet. If your TV set supports it (and I discovered that mine does), it allows a wider range of colors to be displayed, which should result in more accurate color reproduction. Unfortunately, it isn't part of the DVD or Blu-ray standard, so if you burn your video to a disc, this feature is lost in the process. Bottom line, this isn't well supported yet or convenient to use, so it's of limited use at the moment. For now, it's best to just leave it turned off. Maybe in a few years industry support will improve.

Eco Mode controls the LCD backlight status and powering-down of the camcorder after a period of inactivity. [Off] LCD brightness remains at menu setting (normal/bright) and camera remains on; [Standard] backlight off at 1 minute of inactivity and camera off at 2; [Max] LCD brightness is adjusted to the surrounding brightness automatically. Backlight off at 15 seconds, camera off at 1 minute. Anything plugged into the A/V remote connector jack will disable eco mode and keep the camera awake. This includes the optional Sony GPAVT1 Shooting Grip with Mini Tripod, and most likely the Sony RM-AV2 Remote Commander as well.

(PC Only) The camera comes with a "lite" version of PlayMemories Home loaded on it. If you plug the camera into your computer's USB port and connect, the camera will appear in Windows Explorer as one or two drives (the internal memory and also the external memory card if present). The drive with the lower letter will have a setup file for PlayMemories. Once installed, you can tell it to update, and it will download additional features. The software's pretty basic, and for my purposes will probably only be used for some file management and nothing else. On the other hand, the program isn't the devil spawn some others would make it out to be. You don't have to install the program, but if you don't have anything else to use, it's there for you. It'll import video, allow you to annotate/manage it, burn it to DVD or Blu-Ray, and also serves as a decent player. You can do a bit of editing also, but it's mainly limited to trimming. For an entry-level bare bones program, it really isn't bad. Personally, I'm a big fan of Sony Vegas, which I've been using for a couple of years now; so personally, that's where I plan on doing most of my editing.

Hopefully, this review helped answer some questions and maybe even solved or prevented some difficulties for someone. I've had the camera for about 6 weeks now, and I've had plenty of time to go through its features thoroughly and experiment with it. I feel that I paid a fair price for it, that it will do what I want it to do, and that I will be able to depend on it. It's not complicated to use, and if you aren't interested in exploring its features, turn on Intelligent Auto and just shoot. For someone more inclined to tinker with settings, there's a lot for them too. No complex consumer item is ever perfect for everyone, but this camera has a range of features and a level of performance that makes it a winner in my opinion.
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325 of 363 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Newer doesn't always mean better, April 2, 2012
I could not wait to get my hands on this camcorder. I thought it would be an improvement to the one that I have, (the Sony HDR-CX150) but was I wrong. I am going to give the most thorough and honest review that I can give. When I read all the details on this camcorder, it gave the impression that it was far superior to the one that I had, and by advertising it as a "newer model" than mine.
I did a side by side comparison and shot the same video at the same time with the new Sony HDR-CX260V and the older model Sony HDR-CX150 and here is what I came up with. Keep in mind, that the older model records in 1080i, has an older low lux function for low light shooting, does not have a wind filter, has 25x zoom, and does not have a wide angle lens. With all that said, let me break the Sony HDR-CX260V down for you:

Records in 1080/60p - pros: A nice clear picture. Cons: Takes up a lot of memory fast, and to be honest, I thought the picture looked a little muted compared to the older model.

Low Lux (for low light shooting) - pros: Images do come out better in low light, like for indoor shooting. Cons: over exposes. My nephew's face came out so white and there was a bright glare on his face. Also it tends to be a little grainy around the edges. There is also a constant clicking sound when the low lux is turned on.

Wind filter - pros: You can still hear you, and other people when speaking on a windy day. Cons: even though you can hear voices more clearly, it seems to lose the stereo sound when the filter kicks in. Almost sounds like the voices are coming from inside of a wind tunnel.

30x optical zoom and 55x extended zoom - pros: The 30x zoom works like a charm, it gets very close to the action without losing any clarity. Cons: The 55x zoom takes a while to focus and seems to lose the HD quality.

Image stabilization - pros: The image stays nice and steady, even when running. No shakiness what-so-ever. Cons: none

Wide angle lens - pros: It does capture more of what you're filming, I'd say probably 3-4 feet more on each side. Cons: if you move to fast, it stretches the video on the sides and it comes out distorted.

So in closing, when comparing the older model with the newer model side by side, the older model outperformed the newer one in almost every way. The main reason for buying an HD camcorder is for the video quality and I saw a HUGE difference in the way the older model's quality (1080i) was compared to the newer one (1080p).The older one is much sharper and richer then the 260v. This camcorder also feels very cheap and flimsy, almost hollow. It is not worth $550.00. The only thing I liked better about the new model is it has a nice big 3 inch touch screen, a built in GPS that works nicely, and a built in USB cord, but the USB cord seems to only work when it wants to. So remember, "Newer" doesn't always mean better.
(See my review on the Sony HDR-CX150)
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was ready to be wowed, so I was ready to be disappointed, July 7, 2012
By 
Charlotte (Fremont, CA, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
** SEE UPDATE AT END **
When reviewers tell you something is spectacular, it makes you wonder. It also prepares you to be disappointed, since your expectations are raised.

This Sony camcorder exceeded even my raised expecations. Sure, the projector is better than a host of far more costly standalone units. Yawn. Sure, it takes HD video, but isn't that what it's supposed to do? Really, what amazes me about this is everything: the total design and outfit, and in particular, the razor sharp focus.

First, a quick intro: I bought a camcorder after more than 10 years of waiting. Prior to this, I bought a Sony Digital-8 to replace my Hi-8, then bought a cheap Panasonic DVC because of its portability and because it fit nicely into a diaper bag. Somewhere in between all of this, was another DVC by JVC that broke. (I seem to say that often of JVC) So, readers take note: I haven't bought a new camcorder in more than 10 years.

Why? Because I really didn't think I needed it. I've seen a few videos shot by my friends with their newer equipment. It was nothing I didn't already get with the two working camcorders I had. In other words, I was content with the older models, in particular the very old Sony Digital-8 with ridiculously good video and low lux capabilities. Besides, with the birth of #2, we weren't using the camcorder as much, and we had smartphones with video-taking ability.

I recently completed a family presentation. It started with a video from the 1960s. This reminded me of how precious video can be. I ran to my favorite store, Amazon, to see what I could get for a reasonable price. I picked this camera for its combination of value, portability, and yes -- because it had a built-in projector. It arrived this week. Here are my impressions:

** PROS **

Still shots at 8.9 MP that are superior to a number of still cameras - See attached photos
True color - Sony gets the color right and is not oversaturated as seems to be the trend
30X optical zoom. - Nice!
Razor sharp focus - Nice X2
Projector - Oh wow! How? The projector puts out sharp video through a tiny little aperture,
and with ample lux
Smile detection - Weird feature, but when I went back to output the video, found still images
with big smiles on the subject. I can appreciate this.
Intuitive design - touchscreen is nice, menus are well thought out
Form factor - Size is 13 ounces with supplied battery: fits in average person's right palm. (I'm
a lefty and I think it's not bad at all, considering lightweight nature)
Software - the Sony PlayMemories Home package is excellent, and embedded for installation at
your command. Software add-on allows for easy HD recording to DVD (to play on Blu-ray, not DVD
The software also allows for quick social media posts, if you're into that.

** CONS **

Battery - It seems that camcorders never come with reasonable life batteries. This one ships
with a NP-FV50, a little over 1 hour of battery life, according to the manual.
Built-in USB charger - A great idea, but the cord is about 1 or two inches too short to be
useful without the (included) extension.

I'm sure I'll be posting updates as I take the camcorder from testing / learning mode to real everyday video. For now though, I'm reminded of why people still own full-version camcorders in this day and age of smartphones and Facebook.

**UPDATE**

I can now officially say my favorite feature on this camera is the razor sharp still image captured surreptitiously through smile detection. There's nothing like genuine, candid smiles and this camera -- excuse me -- videocamera, catches the moment perfectly. It's also pretty clear from friends' reactions that this is what impresses them too. That said, some additional observations:

Taking video in broad daylight with a LCD monitor isn't always easy. I would have liked a viewfinder, even a black and white one.
The built in lenscap (open shut switch) sometimes gets stuck and the camera has to be closed and reopened in order to get it to reset.
Video conversion has never been easier though, particularly with the enclosed software. (PC user, can't comment on Mac)
A side by side comparision of video taken through this camcorder and my older camcorders are no contest. This model is markedly superior.

Anyhow, those are my additional thoughts. The five star rating still stands solid.
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96 of 107 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great camera but weak Mac integration & no MP4 format, April 26, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Wow what a great camera! I haven't used a dedicated vid cam from Sony in years. I have been using the HD video capture capabilities of my Sony Digi Cams like my awesome Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V. Let's do the pros and cons here:

Pros:

Projector - stunned. Amazed. Blown away. I thought this would be a gimmicky feature but it works amazingly well. We took the dog for a long walk after unpacking this & shot some footage. That night I projected it on the wall and the kids were boggled to see themselves and the dog projected in 10 foot high! I completely get why Sony added this. The bane of all vid cameras has always been "how" do you quickly show footage to friends & family. In the past you had awkward cables or some IR beaming tool, etc.. always a pain. No longer, you want to see our trip to the zoo? Dim the lights and look on the wall over there. Just... wow. I am trying to figure out how to add my own tv videos to a memory card and project them!

Form factor - Sony has always had great design. This little baby fits snug in the palm of your hand easily. There is a brilliantly hidden usb cable in the wrist strap for connecting to a computer. No more hunting for that darm cable. You can tell they really thought this out. The lens cover automatically opens and closes whenever you open the LCD panel and there is no power button, you just open & close the LCD panel and start shooting. Very smart.

Quality of Video: fantastic. It's really as good as you could hope. Low light is very decent also. There is no light but frankly, footage shot with a tiny light bulb or LED never looks good anyways. Still photo quality is sorta grainy but it's nice to have.

Media & Storage: it has 16gb of built in storage which is quite a lot, several hours of video, 2-4 hours depending on your setting. You can also pop in an SD card & record hours and hours more. I would highly recommend getting a 32gb SD card (amazon basics has a nice one) and then you don't have to connect the camera to your computer, just insert the SD card.

Cons:

Sadly this awesome camera has a big flaw for mac users. It's a real PITA to get the highest quality footage over to the mac. The HQ video mode is not compatible with the mac without some hassling. The HQ mode is the default shooting mode and its really what you want to be using. It gives you the highest, best frame rate. You have to adjust down to FH or Standard quality to get iMovie or FInal Cut to recognize the video. Also iPhoto won't import the video files but iMovie will.

In the end, I had to play with Handbrake, a free video converter tool, to find a setting that would convert the HQ video to something the Apple software would recognize. Sony ships free Windows software with the camera to let you edit these video files, but they don't offer any mac software. There is a note on the online support docs that says "HQ video not compatible with Apple". Basically you have to change the setting to SD (standard) which is a lot lower res (or convert your HQ video with something like Handbrake). No where in the sales documentation does it say the HQ mode isn't mac compatible.

What completely baffles me is why Sony didn't include an option to save video in the universally accepted MP4 format. Their digital still cameras let you save HD video in MP4. That's why I love them. Those mp4 files are platform agnostic and you can load them right up into your mac, pc, youtube, or your android or IOS device without any conversion or hassle. My Sony DSC-HX100V shoots fantastic HD video, with stabilization and writes a very generic MP4 files that works with any system, application or website without any converting.

I nuked 1 star off my review for this omission, it might not be a big deal to some... it was to me.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, Feature Packed Little Camera with Great Zoom, April 25, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 0:56 Mins

Just when you thought more features couldn't be crammed into a camera, Sony managed to come up with a few things that make this handycam worthy of serious consideration.

The 30x zoom has some real utility and stands out of the pack as compared to other cameras at this price point. I did a head-to-head comparison with my Nikon D7000 with a 400mm lens attached and the Sony was able to zoom in a bit further. Images are softer at 30x but it's still quite impressive for a small camcorder like this. There's also a dreaded digital zoom that will go to the equivalent of 55x but it's best to leave it off.

The projector is very cool and it actually works. There's great color depth and it's very watchable as long as the room is darkened. It would be even better if there was a way to get edited footage back into the camera easily for playback or allow for the connection of an external device. The camera is a lot smaller than many of the pico projectors out there and I'd love to be able to use it for more than just playing back recorded files.

Video quality is decent (max bit rate is 24 mbps). There is a 1080p mode as well but I can't tell if it's just frame doubling or actually shooting at that resolution. For me, the zoom was more important than the shooting resolution but your needs may vary.

Now for some kudos:

The first is that Sony supports memory cards in addition to the built in storage. Not only do they support memory cards but they're actually supporting the industry standard SDHC cards in this unit. This is big because in the past Sony forced consumers into purchasing their memory stick product. This camera supports both SDHC and memory stick in the same slot. The built in storage will hold about an hour of video at the highest quality setting. My only gripe is that there's some menu hopping necessary to switch from internal memory to a card.

I was very impressed to see that Sony included every cable you might need, including an HDMI cable! That's almost unheard of.

Finally Sony included an external microphone port. While the camera has a superb surround sound mic that can actually isolate voices pretty well, nothing can replicate the great sound that comes from an external mic. It's good to see that option available as I was seeing many mid to low end cameras omit that important feature.

My only gripe is that I wish it was easier to do manual exposure and focus adjustments. There's just too much menu hopping to go through. Canon's system is a little easier for manual controls.

Overall this is a great buy with a ton of nifty features. The 30x zoom is well worth the price of admission.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best camcorder for the price, June 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony HDR-CX260V High Definition Handycam 8.9 MP Camcorder with 30x Optical Zoom and 16 GB Embedded Memory (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
This was my first camcorder in years. My first impression as I took it out of the box was that it's tiny! It's smaller than a soda can. And it's so light it won't tire out my arm even if I had it in my hand for hours. Not only it takes great videos in most cases, it's very easy to take them with the "Intelligent Auto" mode on. Although not perfect, it's a pretty good camcorder especially given the price. You'll have to throw in a lot more money to get a camcorder that takes a tad better video than this one does.

Reasons I chose to go with CX260V:

--It's got an effective video resolution of 2.23 MP, which exceeds the 2.07 MP needed for the 1920x1080 HD resolution. Most of the cheaper camcorders don't meet this number and still call themselves full HD.

--It's got 30x optical zoom. I wanted something more powerful than 15x. I don't know why, but the pricier camcorders with better lenses tend to have only 10x... Another good settle point.

--It's got a 1/4 inch CMOS sensor (1/3.91 on the spec). Anything less than that would be unacceptable to me as far as video quality goes. And going up to 1/3 inch would cost way more.

--The price dropped to around $450 on Memorial Day week. I think this camcorder first came out early 2012, with a price tag of $550.

--I was also considering Canon camcorders. Afaik, Canons generally are known to have better colors than Sonys in low light conditions but make videos more grainy. Of course that is not to say Sonys are free of graininess, but that was a tradeoff I was willing to take. All things considered, I decided to go with CX260V.

Other findings:

--I shot some videos in the FX mode (1080i, 24Mbps) and put it on Sony Vegas 10 software. This was my first time editing AVCHD. My laptop didn't have much trouble handling it, unlike some horror stories I've been hearing. My laptop has an Intel Core i7 CPU with 6 GB RAM.

--Low light shots were good, although some graininess couldn't be avoided. There are no consumer level camcorders that does not turn grainy in low light though. This one does an adequate job for my taste.

--I just charged the included NP-FV50 battery to its capacity, and it says 2 hours 41 minutes of recording time left. I know the actual time is not going to be anything close to that, but that's still not bad for a starter battery. I would try to minimize using features like zoom and steadyshot to save power, but I think I will eventually go for a bigger battery like NP-FV70.

--The built-in memory of 16GB will last only about an hour and 40 minutes at most, when using FX or FH mode (I don't plan on using the other HD modes that shoot at only 1440x1080). The better video quality you use, the shorter it lasts. I'm thinking of getting a 32 GB SD card in the future. In the meantime I will just dump the videos onto my laptop. The camcorder also allows a direct connection to an external hard drive for file transfer without a computer, but I will need a USB to mini USB extension cable which is not included.

--The built-in USB cable is nice, although I wish it was just a little longer. My laptop is sitting on a cooler, and that makes it a little difficult to reach the USB ports. Yes, a USB extension cable (standard type) is included. The USB cable will transfer videos, as well as charge the battery when the camcorder is off. The power cable does the charging much faster though.

--It's got a nice 3 inch LCD screen. It's missing a viewfinder which would've been helpful when the LCD screen becomes unviewable in bright conditions, but I won't miss it if having one would drive up the price.

--The controls are all buried in the LCD touchscreen menu. I think I'll eventually get used to it, but the menu seems huge to me as I always get lost in it. I need to look through all these settings that I'll probably never use just to get to the few that are actually useful to me.

--It's got a microphone jack, but no headphone jack to monitor the sound. If that's a must have, I would go with the other models like PJ260V or XR260V.
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