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on September 5, 2012
This camera is well worth the money which I picked up for $559.99 through the sony website. The camera can take some amazing video, and still pictures are fantastic contrary to what some may say. I find the color saturation is impressive, perhaps a little bit vibrant but the colors are sharp and vivid. As long as you are not moving the actual camera too much the video is incredibly smooth with 60p, and the sound recording is amazing for a camcorder. Very impressive directional mic which blocks out noises outside the camera recording view, though this can be turned off. The GPS feature I thought was at first kind of lame, but viewing videos in map mode is pretty cool looking at a map with all the pictures located at the spots you took them, very cool feature.
The zoom is absolutely amazing and the video I uploaded showcases this mazed out at 350x zoom back down to 1x, though I have better and was restricted to 100 MB file which was converted from .mts (28 MBps) to .avi (8 MBps) and lost some detail. This video amazes me still at how far away that tree actually is (at least 15-20km or more) which is just incredible. Whether it's 10 KM away or zooming into a ladybug, you will get unbelievably crisp images with accurate color (well as long as you don't zoom in all the way to 350x digital).
Be warned though, at the highest quality you are looking at over 12GB of data an hour and is difficult to upload anywhere (especially amazon, which can barely even handle a 25 second video at 1/4 quality) as this short video is 98MB even in avi format.
Also do not buy your accessories from sony. They charge $200 for the best battery (NP-FV100)! I got that battery plus a whole package of items (case, charger, sd card, tripod, etc.) for $50! 1/4 the price and a whole accessory package also and the battery gets 6 hours recording. So avoid sony branded accessories, way overpriced. Buy this camera, you will not regret it. For the record, I went through sunset electronics for my accessories.
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on December 19, 2012
I waited to do the review on this until I could use it a lot and give a good review.

The camera is easy to use, the touch screen works well, and the menu is very intuitive. Linking and downloading to the computer also works well. I cant accurately comment on battery life as I purchased a larger battery right from the get go and I can get a day out of that easily with lots of stand by time and active filming. Video quality is good but deteriorates rapidly about 2/3 of the way through zooming.

The one thing that this camera does that is really annoying and a deal breaker for me is it does not function in cold, or even cool, weather. I use the camera in the outdoors in all weather conditions and a camera that wont function below about 35 degrees Fahrenheit is unacceptable. All my other electronics work just fine, even when it is -20 or colder. This thing gives you a message "cannot access media, warm the camera".

If you want to film stuff in the outdoors during fall and winter I would not recommend this product. If that is not an issue than it is a pretty good deal.
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on April 23, 2012
160GB HDD storage! 5.1 surround sound! Built-In USB! GPS!

So those are the positives and they are somewhat impressive. However, keep in mind that it is HDD storage and NOT solid state memory. You'll need to insert a SD card into the included SD card slot if you want solid state memory.

Sony has decided to place the microphone pickups right at the front (under the lens) which means that you are near certain to pickup wind noise while recording. In fairness, it was minimal but it was evident.

Battery use is fast and depletes faster than solid state because of the HDD moving parts. Carry a backup.

BUT.... What is most important is the quality of the video. This camcorder has so many positives but when it comes to picture quality, you'll find a severe lack of pixel resolution. Colors will be impressive and even low light indoor video came in with impressive results. The negative was sub-par video. Just no details. No sharpness. Low lines of resolution. We used both 60i and 60p. Maximum quality settings and as said, got great colors but just no details. Can't see a human hair, a flower, a garden leaf or a blade of grass. Playback was using HDMI to a 1080p TV.

Sony did a fairly good job of including massive storage, 5.1 sound and GPS. What I wanted mostly was resolution and this model doesn't offer that.

I did not use the photo/still aspect as I purchased a camcorder and not a digital still camera.
2626 comments| 88 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 22, 2012
I had been wanting a video camera for the last couple of years and had kept researching the $100-$150 range cameras. I kept seeing a lot of cons and the last thing I wanted was bad video of good memories. I decided to look at a higher price range and finally ended up deciding on this Sony Handycam. It was more than I wanted to spend, but thanks to the great reviews on here I spent the money and got something halfway decent. This camera doesn't do anything below average. I am not an expert when it comes to video cameras, but I think it does an excellent job. At this point I have taken a lot of video. In good lighting it is amazing and in low lighting it is still pretty good. It has some amazing features - including a nice large built in hard drive, good optical zoom, touch screen tracking focus, image stabilization which minimizes camera shake and blur, a built in USB cable, and of course full HD which I always take advantage of when capturing memories. I will note that the battery that comes with it was not to my satisfaction. Not only do you only get the one, but it is middle of the road in terms of what is available out there. The good news is that the batteries are cheap are easy to get a hold of. This is a quality product by Sony that I highly recommend if this is your price range. Many people have said it better than me, but it was worth taking my time if it helps influence someone else to buy this camera and make great videos that they will be proud to have years down the road.
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on September 7, 2012
When I researched for a camcorder to buy, I wanted:
1. The ability to have wireless, external remote microphone for sound.
2. Large capacity hard drive recording.
3. Sufficient quality for high-action video.

The first item was the most difficult feature to find for the price I was willing to pay. Most consumer priced camcorders do not have external microphone jacks. Something that was confusing to me was that this camcorder was listed on the Sony site as being compatible with the Sony ECM-AW2 Wireless Microphone. I called Sony customer service to confirm what the website said, and the clerk assured me that it was compatible. However, after receiving the camcorder, I saw that it does not have the "active interace shoe" required for compatibility with the Sony ECM-AW2 Wireless Microphone. So, I cancelled my order for that item and ordered instead the Sony ECM-AW3 Wireless Microphone -- fortunately this camcorder model DOES have an external microphone jack, and as I was able to determine from watching product demonstrations on YouTube, the Sony ECM-AW3 Wireless Microphone will work with the external mic jack.

The video files of this camcorder have the file extension "MTS." I just renamed them to "mpg" and they work fine when played with Windows Media Player and when edited with Sony Vegas.

I am very pleased with this camcorder; it has a sturdy feel to it that my older, cheaper camcorders lack. The quality of the recordings is impressive.
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on December 16, 2012
This Camcorder is especially easy to use for a number of reasons:
1) The internal hard drive (160GB) allows for many hours of recording without worrying about changing a card.
2) The focus/zoom is fast so pictures are always in focus.
3) The internal software allows for easy creation of short highlight videos so you don't bore your friends with too much stuff.
4) The USB Charging/data transfer cable built in allows for charging from any USB source. We took it to Europe and didn't even bring the charger.

A remote (Not Included) would be a nice addition to help with playback directly to your TV.
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on July 30, 2012
This is without question the best movie camera I have ever owned out of probably 15 I have had since they first started to come out back in the 70's. It is also a great still camera for times when I do not have my digital SLR handy. The hard drive is a great feature to have as well.
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on January 13, 2013
The clarity and zoom of this thing are great. Light weight small enough to carry with me anywhere and disc space allows for a tremendous amount of storage. I love it! I have heard things I've missed when recording and been able to hear when reviewing so i'd say the mic works very well.
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on January 24, 2013
So easy to use, great recording & still pictures. I would definitely buy another Sony video camera the next time.
Sony was wonderful with customer support in dowloading the pictures to my computer & any questions I had.
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on November 30, 2012
Needed a camera to take video's of my daughter's sports games. Needed something that would capture good quality video, a camera with a lot of built-in storage, and a battery capacity that would last through the games. The camera definitely captures good video even from at a distance. The zoom control and quality is great. Automatic framing is a pretty cool quality and helps when shooting from a tripod. The built in 160GB memory is wonderful. One whole volleyball game or one whole basketball game runs you about 4-6GB so it holds the full season if you want it to. It comes with small battery so I purchased a couple larger batteries which last the whole game and holds charges well so far.

The on off button is underneath the flip out screen or you can program it to use the flip out screen to turn on. That's kind of inconvenient as well as in standby mode it will automatically turn off - this is extremely inconvenient since I usually pause during time-outs and by time the ball is back in play the camera turns off. There may be a way to alter that but I haven't discovered it yet.

The only thing I don't like is the software. It's confusing trying to view your video via computer; I end up transferring the game to the software then watch it to do stats. Or, it is extremely easy to hook up to your TV via the HDMI cord that comes with it to watch on TV. But, to do the stats it is not easy via the TV because your controls are on the flip out screen and the cord is not that long.

All in all, I like the product; it's lightweight, great quality, and I'd definitely recommend it.
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