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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2013
This camera is amazing. It is one of the best cameras I have ever owned. I searched for a long time to find a camera with the capabilities that this camera has. This camera is true full high-def! This camera performs like a $10,000 camera. This camera is capable of doing underwater photography, still shots and high-definition video and performing all three of those functions superbly. It is very lightweight and hand-held friendly. The display is amazing and large for easy viewing. I don't know if Sony's sales of this camera were very numerous. It was very hard to find this camera and I did not find it on Sony's webpage. I visited a local camera shop and they were the ones that found that it existed, but they did not have it available on their shelf either. I bought it on Amazon. I think this is truly one of the most underrated cameras and unknown cameras on the market. We bought it for our 10 day Florida Keys vacation in February 2013. The camera performed excellent in lowlight night shots and in the superbright days. We have a high-def television (Samsung 60" 8000 smart tv- also excellent) at home and watching the videos and looking at the pictures that we took made us so happy that this was the camera that we chose. It seemed like we were there again and in 3D. I am truly not the best review writer and in fact this is one of the few that I've ever written, but we are so happy with this camera I had to write it. I hope Sony continues to make this line camera. We were in Key West and we went to the butterfly sanctuary and it was unbelievable the detail of the flowers, the birds, and the butterflies that this camera took (both stills and video). Upon review you could actually see the tongues of the butterflies as they sipped nectar nectar from flowers. At our resort, while using it in the pool, I was approached by numerous fellow guests inquiring about the camera. They were all amazed that you could take this camera into the water and on dry land. I allowed a few people to use it and they were amazed at the clarity on the screen of the display on the camera itself. Reviewing our videos at home on our television it was also amazing how good the microphone picked up sound, we thought it would not do as well as most cameras because it was waterproof but this ended up not being the case in our benefit. The microphone worked excellent. A negative is the button that controls the telephoto to bring it to zoom in and out on objects could be a little easier to use. I took my children snuba diving which is a combination of snorkeling/scuba diving. You can go down up to 20 feet of water. I never exceeded the 16 foot maximum but I did take the camera to what I felt comfortable was 12 to 14 feet. The video upon review was excellent and the camera also held up without any flaws. I read a few other people's reviews here and I do not understand their complaints. I am not a professional photographer but this camera also does not cost what a professional camera costs. I found it to be a truly amazing camera and if you are like me and willing to spend about $500 this camera will be your best purchase I guarantee it. The still photos were excellent, and a neat feature allows you to take still pictures as you're recording video. Unfortunately you can't do it on full high-def. You should buy the optional wall charger. Do not buy the optional semi hard case that Sony sells. The case is a really bad product and has nowhere to store an extra battery or anything else. Save your money and just buy a generic case that fits this camera. The final thing I will say is that from the moment we used it, being unsophisticated camera people, we found it super easy and functional. The SD-card system is one of the best inventions that we have ever had as this is our first video camera that uses an SD card versus digital tapes.
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2012
This is a product with so much potential, I hate to give it a poor review. The truth is, they pushed it out the door before it was ready. It has so many compromises as to render it frustrating in actual use, in ways you probably would not notice while playing with it in a store.

Examples: Assuming you are in interlaced mode then you can take a still in the middle of recording a video. Nice (although for some reason you can't do that if set to highest-quality progressive mode; I'll give Sony the benefit of the doubt and assume there's a technical reason why not). Naturally, you can take a still photo while in "video" mode but not actually shooting video. But maddenly, if you are in still mode but just hanging out, you cannot record a video. Obviously the camera is capable, because you can make several selections and get there. It's a bug.

Another frustration: the camera constantly pops up warnings and reminders that you must clear to proceed. There is no way to override these messages to prevent them from appearing. In some cases, these messages completely prevent you from using the camera. One example (out of MANY): the camera does a very nice job of shooting panoramic stills. But shooting one underwater is a bit challenging. Well, if for some reason your panoromic still doesn't work out, the camera pops up a message that it didn't work properly and you must clear that message before trying again or doing anything else. That's annoying, but there's a darker side to this...nearly everything about this camera works solely through the touchscreen, which is DISABLED underwater. Which is probably just as well, because the LCD is essentially invisible underwater anyway (I have $50 point-n-shoots whose LCDs display fine underwater so it is not a fundamental law of physics here). So if you are snorkeling at the moment, your camera is essentially dead because you can neither see nor clear the error. Indeed, over and over again I wound up simply closing the LCD, opening it, and allowing the unit to restart rather than go through the otherwise required series of touchscreen inputs that the camera expects (in this regard, the LCD opening/closing acts as an undocumented "reboot"). But I missed lots of shots in the meantime.

As noted in other reviews, the touchscreen is touchy at best, often requiring several taps before it recognizes the input. That's annoying. Unfortunately, the bizarre way Sony has elected to perform playback makes it something worse than annoying: you don't simply play a still or video back, you have to cycle through a sequence of nested "collections" of combined videos and stills and then scroll through them. If you have a hundred to scroll through and the touchscreen only recognizes one out of three touch inputs, you're in for a long wait. And heaven help you if you decide to delete #112 out of 240, bcause when you delete a still or video it returns back to the very first one, not where you left off at, so you have to start scrolling all over again.

This camera is touted as 20 megapixels but that's typical Sony hype. It is 5MP. Shooting at the highest or even medium settings simply blows up the existing pixels and introduces lots of noise. This is not so noticeable in daylight (but you could acheive the same results by blowing up a small still in Photoshop), but in low light it is deadly - the "low lux" setting combined with "high res" (hah!) introduces massive orange and yellow color patterns. On the plus side the flash is quite powerful and easily adjustable, although for some reason I was unable to get it to work underwater.

The lens, or more specifically the glass covering the lens, has no automatic or even manual cover so it will get scratched unless you are extraordinarilly careful.

Battery will last no more than 20 minutes, so you will definitely need a spare. Note that third-party vendors on Amazon sell spares for a fraction of what Sony charges; I have no experience with one or the other.

But ultimately, the reason it is going back is because of a software glitch that causes it to fail to turn on about every fifth try. In desperation I figured out an emergency workaround: open the cover, remove the battery, wait five seconds, put the battery back in, open the LCD, and wait for the full boot sequence including clearing several messages. So about 30 seconds between realizing it is not turning on until it was ready to shoot. Obviously if I was underwater I would have been screwed - you can't open the battery compartment underwater, and with no ability to see the LCD you wouldn't know you needed to do something in the first place.

If Sony had spent a little more time debugging and improving the software then perhaps 80% of the problems would have been fixed and this might be recommendable. Hopefully a software patch is in the future, and I'd reconsider my decision if the software was markedly improved. But it will take more than software to address the LCD underwater issues and the poor battery life - and no amount of software is going to make this a "20 megapixel" camera - that's simply dishonest.

PROS: Incredibly portable, excellent (in fact for the size, amazingly excellent) video even in relatively low light. Pretty good image stabilization (but like all digital stabilization, it ruins rapid pans so turn if off if you're going to be panning a lot).
CONS: Battery life, too touchscreen-centered, terrible low-light stills that get worse with increasing (fake) pixel size, inexcusably buggy software. Provided software does not output in full HD so you'll need third-party software to really take advantage of your videos.

Additional thoughts/recommendation to Sony: the "MyButton" feature that lets you assign up to three software functions (I selected "flash on/off," "flash intensity," and "panoroma shooting") to three special icons on the touchscreen is a great idea. But they're useless if you cannot see or use the touchscreen, such as underwater or in direct sunlight. ADD SOME REAL BUTTONS to the unit (besides the existing zoom in/out and "shoot" buttons) and allow the user to assign "MyButton" functions to them.

9/12/2012 edit: see my Comment regarding a rather worrisome observation about the digital format this camera uses...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2012
I've had the GW77 for a week. Despite the few complaints about what the camcorder isn't, I'll tell you what it is. If your looking for something small to take along on trips, as well as at home, I think this it! It's very light, which some may complain its hard to hold steady. That's where the OIS with Active mode comes in. You can actually walk and shoot video and get very good results.
No it doesn't have all of the the bells and whistles that prosumer camcorders have , but that's not the market they were looking for. It's family's and folks who want great video, a very small footprint and ease of use. And, that's to say nothing about the under water capability of the GW77!
It's what I've wanted for a long time - perfect for travel! And, it's not a reincarnation of the old TG1 or TG5. They both came out at $1000.00. Both had some issues, - mainly cost. This is a different camcorder entirely. At $700, or lower if you shop, it's a great product.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2012
Pros (select feature I consider important and very handy):

- Super light and compact for carrying in pocket when going to the park, pool, etc.
- Very short lag between flipping the screen and taking videos
- Can change Exposure, White Balance and Scene on the fly even while recording
- Extremely sensitive in dark situations - I videotape my children indoors quite often and notice a significant difference between this and the
previous version of the same form-factor (from some 4 years ago)
- The slow-mo feature is fantastic and super fun when capturing children in play!!

Nitpicking:
- Yes, the battery is not the longest lasting but it's a WORTHWHILE tradeoff for smaller and lighter camera
- I wish I could anchor the Screen Brightness setting on the screen's "favorites" section, and that it had a super-bright setting too (still pretty
good under very bright sun)

Just remember, there's no perfect camera; just pick a great brand and go with the model that carries features that are important and useful to you -- NOT TO OTHERS!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2013
... be SURE it has an ENGLISH display! While the English/international versions do have multiple language displays, the ones with JAPANESE displays are ONLY in Japanese. What's more, there are Japanese sellers here who will TRY to sell you their Japanese Handycam!!

And DON'T buy if it's over $700+/-. Don't get me wrong, this is/was a GREAT cam' especially when you consider it was one of the very FEW that was water/dust/shock-proof AND could output some very high quality video ALL in one very compact unit!!! For me, the "underwater" feature was always more of a safety feature than a selling point, so any gripes I heard about disabled touch-screen features were irrelevant for me. Sure, I might use it underwater to record a few things, but I thought of it as a possibility, in practice, I like the idea of being able to take it ANYWHERE and not worry.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2012
Being a Video Shooting Fan, and owning the semi pro Sony Nx70P cam, i wanted to get something more pocketable to shoot on the spot at any occasion, and i ordered this camera from Amazon.

The camera offers amazing video quality that was surprisingly great and almost matches any bigger full HD camcorder, and it can easily fit into your pocket without any hassle.

Zoom function and autofocus are excellent, i couldn't find any single flow in the software or quality of the movies that this camera produces.

My only problem is with the Battery cover which broke the second day due to it's week plasticky type, and this cover is attached to another rubber layer that covers the battery opening to protect it from water due to its waterproof nature, so now the plastic external battery door cover is detached from the rubber and i have always to close first the rubber that locks when closed and then place the plastic part to complete the closure, which means that i may have lost the waterproof option here and i will only use for dry occasions :(

i can't go back to sony because i am living in the middle east and imported it from the US, and i wish sony will read my post and really find a way to solve my problem as a very disappointed Loyal customer of Sony.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2013
I spend a significant amount of time researching and testing out Action Cams (gopro hero3, sony action cam, Countour +2, etc) which are great if you don't care about zoom and don't need an LCD screen and pretty much want to mount it to a helmet or equivalent 99% of the time. For me I was looking for a camera that a bit more rugged than your typical handheld cameras, but good for home videos / vacations some creative videos and adventures alike. I spent HOURS researching online and HOURS trying comparing camcorders at Best Buy, B&H photo, The Sony Store and others.

Believe me, I did not want to spend this amount of money on a camera if I could get one cheaper that was equivalent. I compared camcorders with twice the optical zoom and a plethora of features such as Sony's CX-230, CX-290, CX-380 and CX-430 and a handful of Canon and Panasonic cameras. This camera takes videos equivalent and in my opinion a bit better than the CX-380 and 430 or their Canon and Panasonic equivalents. The CX-430 has a better image stabilization, but I couldn't notice when using in the store. Plus this camera comes with GPS just like the CX-430 which can be very very useful when going back to footage shot while traveling or boating etc..

****edit, the image stabilization is really not as good as the CX-430, at the store it was un-noticeable but becomes far more noticeable when walking and shooting video.***

I set this camera along with the CX-430 and CX-380 to the same recording modes in the same resolution while standing in the same location I zoomed in to a key point and observed how steady the video and how clear it was on the lcd. Although the HDR-G77V has 17x enhanced zoom versus 30x and 55x it was barely noticeable since the other 2 cameras became extremely distorted and shaky when zooming that far in. Maybe it was the LCD screen but the videos on this camera looked so much clearer and steady when zoomed to the same distances. This camera also comes with Golf Shot, Slow Motion and Panoramic recording modes which were very fun to use, especially the slow motion.

Another thing I noticed was that I was able to hold the camera steadier than the other handy cams because of the pistol grip. Maybe it was just me but it seems to make much more sense this way rather than have your wrist bent up while palming the camcorder when holding the other handycams. Try it with a soda can, You'll see what I mean. The thumb-facing buttons seem so much more well placed and easier to use with the pistol grip. The built in flash works well for still shots and is a breeze to switch to just press photo with your thumb and it shoots a picture. Pure simple.

Another reason I chose it over the CX-430 is because I did not need a built in shoe to mount separate camcorder attachments or need to record in 5.1 surround. I'm not filming broadcast grade interviews to air on 60min. (Though I would have liked the 5.1 surround)

With the CX-430 and others alike, you surely cannot shoot video underwater and also have to be very careful not to get dust, dirt or sand into the stabilized lens or a handful of other jacks and slots in and around the side and top of the camera since it may severely damage the camera. With the HDR-G77V you don't have to worry about that and just take it with you and record; For this reason you will probably use it more since it's more convenient and less easy to break.

I recommend you go to a store and try it out for yourself. Seeing is believing.

****edit, ,recently decided to ditch the whole underwater idea, returned the camera and ended up going with a Panasonic Lumix-GH3 which I am very happy with because of its awesome photo/video, though not as durable or waterproof and definately more pricey. But as far as my comparison with the other action or waterproof cams, this is still the clear winner. ***
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2013
I red many reviews about this and before i bought it and this is what think of it. I went to cancun and had a great time with it. The quality of it is awesome with out doubt, it is water proof for sure. went snorkeling with it for over an hour and got videos that are so clear it looks like you are there. the battery is not the best it ran out right after the snorkeling so id get another battery. the memory is 3 hours with out buying memory card. over all i am very pleased am i am glad i bought this. works great under water and thats what i wanted, run just as well under as above.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2012
Sony does it again! This little camera packs a lot of power and control in a small package. Optical zoom, simple controls, amazing touch screen gives you full image control. But even as a professional, I have yet to need to dial in manually. The auto sensor that adjusts image settings is like nothing I have seen before. Its perfect every time.

Yes it fully water proof, and with the fully adjustable screen you can even jump in and not break of the screen. I do recommend the floating wrist strap if you are going to use it in the water.

I purchased this device for covering events on the water, and the full HD video image is crisp and clear and easily cuts in with our other higher end cameras.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2012
Love this camera. Picture quality is great and underwater video is amazing. All of the features of a full size HD Sony in a waterproof pocket size. Had another underwater HD camcorder and there is no comparison.
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