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111 of 112 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great video quality, iffy UI & controls
I bought this brand-new offering from Sony after some research based mostly on its claimed low-light performance and WiFi connectivity. I shoot a lot of indoor home videos and one of the biggest problems with many of the last generation of consumer-grade cams seems to be low-light performance.

GOOD

The video quality is indeed very good in low-light...
Published 10 months ago by J. Treworgy

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
It do not have an external mic input (stereo jack) as the specifications of this page says.
Published 29 days ago by Gabriel Pardi


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111 of 112 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great video quality, iffy UI & controls, February 17, 2014
By 
J. Treworgy (Washington, DC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sony HDRCX330 Video Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
I bought this brand-new offering from Sony after some research based mostly on its claimed low-light performance and WiFi connectivity. I shoot a lot of indoor home videos and one of the biggest problems with many of the last generation of consumer-grade cams seems to be low-light performance.

GOOD

The video quality is indeed very good in low-light situations, and for this reason -- by far, the most important criteria for a camera -- it gets four stars. It makes great videos. You can choose from a variety of video quality settings (balancing recording time with quality). The lower-quality settings compromise a lot in low-light, I'd use at least FH ("High Quality") to get acceptable video in most situations. It has amazingly good image stabilization.

The camera has a little built-in USB cable which tucks into the handle when not in use. This is a surprisingly handy feature since it means you'll never be looking around for a wire when you need to charge it on the go. It's completely unobtrusive. It also has a regular micro USB port.

It's got a built in DLNA server feature so you can just switch it on and view your videos right from the camera on most any modern TV or DVD player. It works very well.

LESS GOOD

It's extremely lightweight, which I guess is good, but it feels kind of cheap. I doubt it would survive a 3 foot drop onto a tile floor. The settings are managed through a miniature joystick which you use to navigate through menus and push to select. It works okay, but a touch screen would have been far better. There's also another button under the joystick which switches between "record" and "play" mode, mostly.

There are a couple minor but somewhat irritating design issues. First, when using power save mode, the camera powers itself off after some pretty short period of inactivity. There's no way to power it on again other than closing & reopening the screen. Not a big deal, but just one of those "really?" kind of things. If the screen's already open, why can't I just push a button to turn it back on?

Next, the camera itself has just two operational buttons (record and photo, to take a still), plus a zoom control. Frankly, a couple more buttons would have gone a long way, because basically anything you want to do other than start and stop recording, must be done through the tiny joystick. I sure hope it doesn't break! That includes: switching to very-low light mode; changing basically any video setting; syncing with a PC.

Speaking of syncing, this was one of the other primary features I looked for. It's got a "push" function that lets you transmit your videos to a PC via WiFi without needing to access the PC. In theory, anyway. I've been unable to make it work more than once. Following a physical USB connection to a PC sporting the (not bad but a bit bloated) PlayMemories software, it's supposed to just connect and transfer automatically. The problem is, it only works once. If I go an plug it into the PC via USB again, I can get it to sync wirelessly once more. But then it won't work next time. It's still possible to sync wirelessly if you initiate it from the computer -- that is, the device does actually connect over WiFi, it just doesn't perform the transfer as it's supposed to after the first connection.

When I get around to one of those mind-numbing tech support calls I'll hopefully have a better resolution in the future. I'm a geek, though, usually if I can't figure it out, it's broken. There's almost no information online about troubleshooting this, and the manual is terrible (to the point of not even mentioning the vast majority of the configuration options!) Luckily this seems to be a UI that's standard to other Sony cameras so you can find out what the stuff means online, but it seems pretty lame that the manual doesn't even mention (much less explain) most of the settings. The manual has a tab on the front page referring to a section called "Customizing your Camcorder" which doesn't actually exist.

So overall:

Pros:

-- Excellent video quality
-- Good battery life
-- Nice feature set (assuming you can get everything to work)
-- Lots of options, effects
-- Excellent image stabilization

Cons:

-- Clunky UI & controls
-- Configuration for useful WiFi push sync feature problematic
-- Cheap-feeling construction
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bridge Camcorder for Smartphones, May 14, 2014
This review is from: Sony HDRCX330 Video Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Sony HDRCX330 is an inexpensive camcorder that records in both high resolution (AVCHD) and lower quality (mp4) formats. By default, in fact, it will record in both at the same time. The reason for this gets to the heart of this camcorder, a camcorder that bridges a gap with mobile devices, presumably for sharing video with social media networks.

The camcorder itself features a 30x optically stabilized lens with a fairly wide 26.8mm focal length. This gives it a lot of flexibility in shooting - just what is needed for casual use. It has a built in USB cable that is used for charging (via the supplied wall charger and USB extension cable) and for attaching to a computer (in disk mode, for copying files off the camcorder). The HDMI port is very compact, but fortunately a HDMI cable with the right connector is included. There is also a multi i/o port that can be used for standard composite video out with an optional cable. There is no microphone in jack on the camcorder.

The camcorder records in various data rates for quality/size choices, up to 1920x1080 60p resolution. At it's maximum, it is 28 mb/s, which is not stellar, but in line with the inexpensive cost of the camcorder. The video itself looks clean, given good lighting. As with all inexpensive camcorders, noise creeps in a bit in dim light, but there is a low-light setting that may alleviate some of that. The one criticism is that there was a little bit of blowout in high contrast scenes outdoors in the middle of the day - not a enough to be a serious problem. The optical stabilization works quite well, which is good given the lightweight of the camcorder. It accepts two different forms of memory cards - Sony's Memory Stick Micro (up to 16GB) - and microSD (Class 4 or better, up to 64GB in size). I shot with an inexpensive Kingston Class 4 card and experienced no problems with recording.

This camcorder features both wifi and NFC connectivity (along with the builtin USB connector). The wifi is used for file transfer - either to a desktop computer - or a smartphone (Android or iPhone). This is the value of the dual recording ability - you have a version of the video that is appropriate for playback on a handheld device - and of course - posting to social media sites like Youtube, Facebook etc. On my Mac, I had to download and install a piece of software, pair the camcorder with the Mac, and then tell the camcorder to send the video to my computer. While there were several steps here, Sony walks the user through the process. And again - there is always the built in USB connector as another way to transfer the video. One curious thing I noticed was that once the camcorder connected to my access point, it showed up as a shared device on my Mac - but I wasn't able to figure out how to connect to it. I was only able to transfer files using Sony's software. I feel this is a missed opportunity - something that should work but doesn't. But not a deal breaker.

Sony also has software for Android and iOS devices for transferring video from the camcorder and remotely controlling it. It is minimalistic - you can copy files from the camera and have them scaled to size (or not) - but works fine. The remote control operation gives you a real time view of the camera, and has simple controls for recording and operating the zoom.

Inexpensive camcorders face the same challenge as inexpensive still cameras - the smartphone. Sony has tried to make a good case for owning an inexpensive video camcorder by including features that smartphones (for the most part) don't have - such as the 30x powered optically stabilized zoom lens - but allowing the camera to be tied to a phone for video editing and sharing. It is an interesting value proposition. In all, it is a capable and inexpensive camera that works well enough, and has some simple but useful connectivity options.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good things come in small packages., March 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony HDRCX330 Video Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
Excellent camcorder, no bigger than a soda can and half the weight. Awesome zoom and HD picture. battery life is incredible. Love the fact that only 4 buttons control multiple functions. Recorded outside at night in low light and could not believe good the picture was. Great value.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple camcorder works great with average performance, April 24, 2014
This review is from: Sony HDRCX330 Video Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First impression taking out the HDRCX330 from the box is how far we've come in the video world. This thing is tiny, barely larger than a Twinkie(and sort of shaped like one). The small size is quickly followed up by the light weight - this thing feels as light as a feather. While the body is mostly made of plastic, the parts all fit solidly and there's no give or that general feeling of "cheapness" that's usually associated with plastic-based camcorders.

Performance-wise, it was here and there, honestly. The autofocus seems to be one of the slower ones I've played around with, taking anywhere from 1-3 seconds to refocus due to a subject change. They're not joking about the minimum focus length either - attempting to do a close zoom-in on a subject closer than 20" from the camera lens causes the autofocus to fail completely (even when the close up subject is taking up the entire field). I believe the manual states the minimum field to be 80cm, but it really seemed like you needed to be even further from your subject than that. While this won't be too much of a concern for people picking up this unit for things like family gatherings, it makes it only semi-usable in close-up applications.

The UI is very simplistic, giving you very little control over specific settings. The range of options is generally along the lines of: auto/outdoor/indoor/spot. Not a lot of manual tweaking.

Small thing to note, this unit does not come with any sort of memory card or a separate battery charger. The unit uses micro-SD cards and the battery is charged on the unit itself (ie: you put the battery into the camcorder and plug the camera into the wall). So if you're the type who picks up a second battery, make sure you pick up one with a charger as well.

All-in-all, this is a pretty good base unit which works well for the price point. However it is very much a plain point and shoot with only average performance and zero bells and whistles. Having said that, if you just need a camera to pick up and shoot video, this is a good little camera.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Camcorder, February 22, 2014
This review is from: Sony HDRCX330 Video Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
I have owed many camcorders in my life and this is by far the best out of all of them. Out of all the brands I have used, Sony is my favorite. This one in particular is absolutely amazing compared to the Sony hdrcx220. I especially like the mp4 video format, it loads extremely fast when I load onto YouTube for my channel at "Freddie's Modern Kung Fu". I had to purchase a special memory card that was extra tiny but had a very high speed, that combined with the camcorder resulted in very fast uploads which is very important for me. The Wide Angle lens captures a lot of your surroundings even in tight fitting rooms which is a primary feature that I was most concerned with. Note that 26.8 mm means that it captures more than the 29.8 mm, the person at Best Buy told me the opposite which was not correct. Compared to the 29.8 mm, the 26.8 mm wide lens does capture much more. Excellent camcorder that is well worth the money, I highly recommend it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice features and light, February 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony HDRCX330 Video Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
Unbelievably light. Con - for the money wish there were inputs for sound so I could plug in an external mic. Pro - picture quality is excellent and I love the wifi feature that acts like a bluetooth remote control.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One can get better video quality within a similar price, April 30, 2014
This review is from: Sony HDRCX330 Video Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the same time I am using what I call a Camcoder... I usually used my standard cameras to film videos. I also started using a GoPro.

What do I like:

- Very light
- 1080p video definition.
- Easy to use
- Work in low light environment.
- Can take pictures while shooting video (with some resolutions).
- USB cable contained in the camcoder (very convenient).
- Nice microphone and sound capture.
- Nice battery life

What I like less:
- Video quality is much less impressive than the GoPro.(the other side of the coin is that videos do take less space).
- No carrying case.

Conclusion:
The Go-Pro may have much better video quality but is nowhere as easy to use (lack of screen, tiny size) and is defined more for spectacular (and short activities).
For convenience, the Sony Camcoder is much better. You may lose in final quality but the video is still pretty good.
I would recommend this product.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great pictures, March 18, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony HDRCX330 Video Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
Viewing these movies on our high definition TV showed was no disappointment. The picture is surprisingly clear, even though the movies were shot either indoors or at night in a ballpark.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great camcorder, April 25, 2014
This review is from: Sony HDRCX330 Video Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love this camcorder. It is the best one I have ever had.

Pros:
-This is a reasonably priced camcorder for all you get.
-The menu is super easy to navigate. You have 6 choices; Shooting mode, camera/mic, image quality/size, playback functions, edit/copy, and setup. Those menus open up to offer more selections.
- I like the toggle button that is used to navigate through functions even better than the touch screen on my last camcorder.
- I love the intelligent auto that automatically changes the shooting mode based upon your shooting conditions. My old camcorder required me to go in every time, and through several menus, to turn on low-lux if I needed it and this one does it automatically.
- I love that it records in 2 modes simultaneously (AVCHD, and MPEG4) so that if you want to upload to your smart phone it will be in the right format.
- I love the quality of the video. I am amazed at how great the shots turned out. Only in the evening, inside with just ambient light did I see deterioration in image quality, but it was still better than I have ever had with other camcorders.
- I love that once set up, it wirelessly downloaded the files to my computer.
- I love that it also can take pictures while I am shooting video.
- I love that is lightweight .
- I love that the USB cord is permanently attached and slips into the handle.

Cons:
- It takes a micro SD card and those things are tiny.
- I noticed the body gets pretty warm with prolonged use.
- The whole casing is plastic.
- I found it tricky to get it set up to transfer wirelessly. I got it done, but it wasn't as easy as just installing the disc. You have to install the disk, setup your network on the camcorder, and plug in your camcorder to the USB on your computer and do a regular transfer the first time. Anyway, maybe some tech savvy person would know exactly what to do in a more efficient manner, but tech savvy is something I am not!

Overall, I think this camcorder is a value while still offering exceptional quality. I have paid way more for fancier units that didn't shoot nearly as well as this one. Plus the wireless feature works great once it is set up. I am very happy with this camcorder.

Update - I don't know what I'm doing wrong. After my first successful wireless transfer I haven't been able to get it to transfer videos wirelessly again. I wish I could figure out how to get it to work consistently. For that reason I am going to reduce its star rating from 5 to 4.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, November 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony HDRCX330 Video Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
It do not have an external mic input (stereo jack) as the specifications of this page says.
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