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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2013
Verified Purchase
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.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2013
Verified Purchase
Although I had hired a professional videographer, I wanted to get additional video of my wedding. I didn't want to spend much (Weddings are expensive) so I was looking for a cheap, yet at least ok video camera. I chose the CX290 because of the image stabilization, which most professional reviewers recommended.

When camera arrived I immediately tested it against my Cannon S95 Point and shoot Camera. The S95 shoots video at 720p and records stereo sound. It's actually a good video camera. I figured and expected this Sony CX290 to at least be better than a little point and shoot. In fact, the CX290 completely outperformed my S95 when recording indoors. The images were clearer with less grain / noise.

Of course, compared to the professional grade camera that the videographer used at the wedding, this camera seemed like a joke. Of course, this camera was only about $300, while I'm sure the videographer's camera cost thousands.

There are a few things I don't like. For example, while it says pictures can be taken while recording, it never actually lets me do that (maybe because I record at 1080p and 60p).

Overall, I'm satisfied with the product....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2014
Verified Purchase
I like it but I can't get audio volume very loud. This could be my lack of understanding. The price was the selling point.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2013
Verified Purchase
I purchased this and then returned it. I returned it because it has a FISH EYE LENS EFFECT on either side of the screen. The ONLY WAY to get rid of this is to zoom in far enough to where it disappears - so this means you constantly have to have it zoomed in to have a "normal" looking picture.

The color is also way off, and I did try ALL settings within the menu. The colors are much brighter than what your naked eye sees, there are options that do work better than others (specific settings) but still at its best dark/dull reds look BRIGHT red, light tan colors look WHITE - very bad reproduction. In my opinion this is a horrible camcorder.

For $199.00 you can get the Canon VIXIA R400 and it looks darn good - NO FISH EYE LENS EFFECT - NONE - pretty good colors as well, fairly accurate representation of what your eye sees in real life. FAR BETTER (FAR FAR BETTER) than the Sony HDR CX290 (and CX380 which I owned and returned as well - FOR THE SAME REASON!)

The Canon VIXIA R400 also has a mic input, very nice. Id SERIOUSLY consider the Canon Vixia R400 over this camera (I bought TWO of them - theyre great).

Just a "heads up" / "FYI".

I hope this helps!
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on November 11, 2014
The video camera is easy to use and image quality is fine but the still camera is not good. You do need to have the Sony software as the format of the video is not standard when you download to your computer. If you want to burn a disk, you also need to convert it to standard format which can be done via the software. Biggest disappointment is the camera. It is advertised as 8.9M pixel. When taking photos, it is really nowhere close. My old Cannon point and shoot is actually better. It took me a while to realize just how poor the resolution was after adjusting the settings and talking to Sony customer support. If you want a video camera it is fine but you still need to bring a real camera along or at least your smart phone because you will be disappointed in the still pictures.
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on November 10, 2014
Verified Purchase
Made the mistake of buying this thinking it was the HDR-CX380, BIG difference that little "80" makes over the "90/B" which has NO mic input and the camera shutter is manual, so annoying. The 380 lens cover opens when you open the viewing screen and you can plug in a mic which I bought to go with this. Debating whether to use as a secondary camera or just return. Just disappointing to see it's a cheaper model of a GREAT video camera.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2013
Verified Purchase
Great little High Definition Camcorder. Very clear and easy to use.

Only negative was finding the usb which was tucked into the hand strap (took quite a while to located it.)
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on July 29, 2014
Picture clarity and high power zoom is good but its sound doesn't meet its picture quality and it doesn't come with external microphone input.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2013
Verified Purchase
Very easy to carry with you, which is vital when wanting to capture everything (family moments, trips, milestones). Not too many features which makes it easy to use. Basic functionality without the "bells and whistles."
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2014
Verified Purchase
Excellent camera. Takes great photos and video. Especially like the digital zoom. Just wish I was capable of
doing what the camera is.
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