Top critical review
94 people found this helpful
Missing Essential Features, but Easy to Use
on August 10, 2011
I bought this specifically to record band rehearsals and performances. I think I might take it back because it is missing a couple of essential features, although it is quite easy to use and has surprisingly good audio quality.
When I started looking for a handheld camcorder to record music rehearsals and performances, I quickly narrowed down the field to the Sony Bloggie, the Zoom Q3 and the Zoom Q3 HD because of their listed attributes and the great reviews on these products. The Zoom Q3 was the front runner as far as audio quality was concerned (according to reviewers) but was not 1080p. The Bloggie was 1080p, but didn't have the audio rep of the Zoom. The Zoom Q3 HD had both. I finally settled on the Sony Bloggie because the Zoom Q3 HD was a little out of my price range, and because I could find it locally and I needed it ASAP.
So here's the review:
The Bloggie came in a slick little box which can also be used as a carrying case for all the paraphernalia (USB cable, carrying cord, manuals.) The device is also very smooth and slick looking, and feels substantial in your hand. The first thing you need to do before using it is plug it in to your computer. Editing software will then be downloaded into your computer automatically. (The editor is very primitive, but does the job for basic applications.) The instruction manual doesn't really tell you much--- it is one thick card, and doesn't help much at all! You kind of have to figure out how the thing works on your own. Luckily, it is pretty straightforward. Press the red button to record!
The battery came charged out of the box, which was nice. It is recharged through the USB, so you don't ever need to buy batteries.
I tried a quick little vid in my bedroom and uploaded it to my harddrive with no problem. According to the specs, there is an internal flash drive (which can't be upgraded) which allows 2 hours of recording in 1080p. This seemed to me to be a little low for what I would need it for (band rehearsals,) but close enough. I erased the test vid from the memory, and went off to rehearsal.
Since I didn't buy the optional stand, I sort of balanced the thing between two books and pressed record. It seemed to be working fine (it has a built-in video screen), so we started rehearsal. About two hours later we quit, and I went home, all excited to download the vid and take a listen to what we had done.
After plugging the camera into my laptop and opening the editing software, I selected "import." A couple of minutes later, the file had finished, and (with great anticipation!) I pressed play to watch it. Listening to the video with headphones, I was surprised at the sound quality for such a tiny camera with no external mike! The video was pretty good, too, although that wasn't my main concern. The audio quality was my priority, and the Bloggie seemed to pass that test.
Unfortunately, at that moment, I noticed that the video was only 29 minutes long! Where the heck was the other hour and a half of rehearsal? I had no idea! Gone into the ether! I never touched the camera once I set it up, but for some reason the thing quit recording at 29 minutes! Gah! What a waste!!!! I was sick. I read the (non)manual, but could find nothing about this issue.
I also realized that we had played for about 2 and half hours, so even if the camera had worked, I would have missed the last half hour because of the lack of memory.
After I got home I went on line to do some research. At some camera website with the Bloggie specs and review, in the very last footnote at the bottom of the page, it said "movie recording is limited to 29 minute segments."
GAHHH!!!! Really, Sony? Really??? Even though there is still an hour and half of memory left? REALLY???!?!!
So, what that means essentially is that if I want to record one of our shows, I have to set up the camera, then a half hour later leave the stage to press "record" again? Then a half hour later, leave the stage AGAIN to press record AGAIN?
The second problem I have with the Bloggie is that there is no way to expand the memory capabilities. With the Zoom you can upgrade your memory to be able to record up to 16 hours of video! With the Bloggie, you are stuck with two hours, but in 29 minute segments.
So here is my final summary:
Surprisingly good audio quality for such a small camera.
Good video quality at 1080p.
Simple to use.
Unfathomable 29 minute limit on videos.
Poor and useless tech manual.
For my needs, the Bloggie doesn't quite cut it. However, the audio quality is very good. Still, I think I will be forced to return this device.
UPDATE AUGUST 16, 2011
I've been listening repeatedly to the audio on the recording that I made with this product, and the more I listen to it and compare it to the audio I have heard online of the ZOOM Q3, the more that I like the sound from the Bloggie. I am very torn at this point on whether I am going to return the Bloggie. The sound this little camera captures is really good! I will update again as I spend some more time with it and record some more with it. I also found that, according to Sony, the reason the camera shuts off at 29 minutes is because of heating issues. Still an epic fail, though.
UPDATE AUGUST 17 2011
OK, this camera has got to go! I tried using it a second time at one of our rehearsals. This time it only got through 20 minutes before shutting itself off (must have overheated.) I tried to start it again, but it just wouldn't record again. I had to wait over 20 minutes for it to cool down before it would begin recording again. Even then, it only lasted another 13 minutes before shutting itself off again, this time supposedly for no battery charge--- even though it was fully charged when I started. All of these things are entirely unacceptable. It is really sad, because the 33 minutes of video I did manage to get have really great, lifelike sound. The sound is good! If only the rest of the camera worked as well.... *sigh*