Most helpful positive review
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Pretty Good for the Price
on June 14, 2013
I suddenly realized that I have a couple of good cameras but was using my iPhone for videos preferring to not lug my 10 year old Sony that is great but a nuisance to carry. Wanting a better video camera while not wanting to increase the weight, I settled on the Sony HDR-CS290/B. I received it today.
It is very small and light. The box includes (apart from the camcorder) a paper manual, HDMI cable, battery and charger and an extra length of USB cable to extend the attached cable. I was mildly surprised not to see a mini-disc to install software, though you do get instructions on how to download it which is probably how most devices like this are shipped these days. You also get a 15% coupon for accessories which I plan to use for an additional battery. Some reasonably priced cases are also listed.
I had also purchased an extra 32GB SDHC card to supplement the built in memory. I chose this device since it has a newer sensor (Exmor R) as compared to last year's model and I figured that should be a plus as it is touted to have better low light performance (I cannot compare to prove that is true).
The camcorder is small and very light. I sort of expected it to be smaller but it is not big at all, but it is so light as to seem insignificant. This is usually a plus for a device one would hold for a long time though sometimes a little weight could help stabilize when shooting.
Given that I just received the device, here are some impressions after taking it through a quick run. There are two modes video and still though you can still depress the picture button in video mode to take shots. You can't press the record button on picture mode though :-)
The lcd is not touch screen and it has a multi-controller and a play button. Some may find that irritating though again those extras will cost you more while not really improving the optics.
The set-up and playback menus are pretty straightforward and can be understood without really going through the manual. All in all it is a basic camcorder. Don't expect multiple layers of menus and settings etc.
So initial impressions:
Outdoor bright light video - *****
Outdoor twilight videos - ****
Indoor videos reasonable lighting - ****
Indoors, no light though not fully dark - **
Still in photo mode - good light - ***
Still in video mode - **
Still in less than bright light - *
Optical Image stabilization - ****
Overall **** . In good lighting the colors had the rich luminosity I have come to expect from Sony. I am discounting the very low light performance as well as the performance of the still camera. As long as you have a fair amount of light you should get video you are happy with providing you can live with some noise the dimmer the light gets. Don't expect professional quality at this price.
Obviously these ratings are based on what I expected given that it is a fairly entry level camcorder and very limited use.
Overall I am happy with the purchase for what it cost and what I plan to use it for - to create memories of family activities and travel.