on May 1, 2013
The SONY CX-220 is the low end camera in SONY's Camcorder line based on the Exmor R 8.9 Megapixel image capture element. From a practical perspective, low end can be measured in a number of ways.
First, it's about half the price of the top of the line camera in the series, the CX-260.
Second, it has no internal memory, which requires that you use an SD card to record your videos. Other cameras in the series include 8 and 16 Gigabytes of internal memory. The internal memory can occasionally useful, but SD cards are inexpensive and easy to carry along. Given that you'll need a 32GB card to do upwards of 2 hours of highest quality video, the lack of internal memory is no real handicap.
Third, it it has a smaller external zoom (27x as opposed to the 30x in the CX-260). Again, there may be circumstances where the extra zoom matters, but you'll need a tripod to take advantage of it. Of slightly greater concern, in this regard, is the starting point for the zoom. While all of the cameras in Sony's Exmor R line are described as "wide angle", the CS-220's wide angle isn't quite as wide as other cameras in the series, which means you may have to position slightly further from the scene to capture everything you want to have in the frame. This is a practical issue for me as I most frequently use my video cameras to record Chorus concerts, which usually involve a wide frame. This shouldn't be an issue unless you are shooting in a small space (like a classroom) and want to capture the full width of the room. There are sometimes limits on how far you can back up the camera. It hasn't been an issue in auditoriums.
Fourth, it comes with a weaker battery than other cameras in the series. The CX-260 comes with Sony's FV-50 battery, which I've found can easily handle two hours of continuous video, but the CX-220 comes with Sony's FV-30 battery, which is rated as having about half the power of the FV-50 and needs a stretch to do an hour and thirty minutes of continuous video. This is offset somewhat by the CX-220 relatively stingy power use. The CX-220 will run a good 20 minutes longer than the CX-260 on the FV-50 battery. For longer videos or videos that do a lot of zooming (something I do very little of in my concert videos), either camera will benefit from the more powerful FV-70 battery, which should be good for upwards of 4 hours of highest quality video. My CX-220 clocks in at nearly 5 hours with an FV-70 battery.
Fifth, the CX-220 doesn't come with a Sony battery charger, but is instead documented as charging up using a USB cable. Several reviewers have complained about this, but I don't see an issue. From a practical perspective I nearly always have a USB charger with me, and it's nice not having to bring yet another charger along when traveling. If, moreover, you need a larger battery (like the FV-70, you'll probably find that the cost of the battery charger is small compared with the price of the battery and get them bundled (as I did). Finally, if your first camera is a higher end Sony Exmor R series camera like the CX-260, your existing Sony charger will charge up your CX-220 as well.
Sixth, the CX-220 uses button controls rather than touch screen controls, as the CX-260 does. I find the touch screen controls easier to use than the CX-220's button controls, but your milage may vary. Bigger fingers, and those who obsess about finger oil on screens, will probably prefer the CX-220's button controls.
Finally, there are more menu options, most of which you'll probably never use, and some flashy bells and whistles like an electronically controlled lens cover on the higher end R-Seres cameras. If you want super-slow motion or to have the camera protect the lens when the camera turns off, the CX-260 is probably the better camera for you. If they don't, you can get the same high quality video from either camera. Both cameras have the same imaging element and record the same highest quality video. If those differences make a difference to you one way or the other, you can probably stop here, but I've titled this review "excellent second camera" and you may be interested in knowing why.
I obtained a SONY CX-260 camcorder six months ago with the specific intent of shooting concert videos. I've been shooting concert video on and off for most of 30 years now, but I was looking to step up a level to an HD prosumer camcorder that I could edit into high quality HD streaming video for distribution on Youtube. I already had a camera that could shoot 1080P video, but that could only record for about 30 minutes at a time. I also had a 720P camcorder and a somewhat better than 720P camcorder, so I was well positioned to shoot video with insets and closeups. What I needed was a second camera that chould shoot a continuous 1080P stream that I could use as a base for cuts and insets. After looking at a lot lot of prosumer camcorders and reviews, I concluded that the Sony CX-260 would best meet my needs based on its ability to record at better than 1080P (about four times better), its relatively high audio and video quality in low to moderate indoor light, its relatively long battery life, and its reasonable price (about $360). It has more than lived up to my expectations. For examples of video shot with this camera see the HD videos at [...]
That said, I've wanted to do better. One of the key restrictions on my filming of these videos is that I'm singing in the choruses. I can't exit stage right and return to restart a camera during the concert. I pretty much have to set up the cameras and forget about them. The CX-260 has really helped with that insofar as it has enough pixels to do high quality digital zooms while I'm editiing. That allows me to focus in on a soloist or small ensemble without losing the HD resolution (something I do a lot of in the referenced Youtube videos). What I haven't always had is the routine ability to cut between different camera angles while retaining HD quality. I've been searching for a second HD camcorder for a couple of months now. The obvious answer was to get another CX-260, but I was looking to spend less than $200 and get something that could approach (not necessarily match, but approach) that quality.
The CX-220 more than meets those criteria, if only because it is able to match the video quality of CX-260 video for less than $200, not quite half the price of the CX-260. Aside from the slightly smaller optical zoom it has the same imaging components and records at the same high resolution. When I load video from both cameras into editing software I simply cannot tell which camera I loaded the video from unless I clearly label it when I import it. I can do the same levels of digital zoom without apparent loss of quality, and I can cut from one camera to the other seamlessly, which not only helps to make the edited video more entertaining, but allows me to show elements (typically people) that are hidden from one angle using the other angle.
If you are an amateur looking to shoot high quality home video, the CX-220 could be an excellent choice for you. If you are looking to create professional looking videos with excellent prosumer equipment, the CX-220 makes an excellent second camera.
on March 31, 2013
I don't want to be a videographer. So I went kicking and screaming into the reality that I would have to create a 5 min soccer highlight video of my son to send to college coaches. To that end, I've returned two hd video cameras so far. One was a Toshiba, terrible. The other was a sony extreme sports camera, too extreme for me. But this one is perfect. High quality video, easy to use with logical menus, comes with an actual menu rather than a mere pdf, records in mp4, can add just about as much memory as you want with a memory card (I added 32 gb), playmemories software makes it easy to upload to computer and edit into highlight clips, re-charges using usb cable (but I also purchased an ac adapter so I can plug it in), batter life is fair but I purchased another to be safe, and I also purchased S-video cable to transfer video to my home dvd recorder/player. Very happy that I can purchase everything I need from after market here on amazon. It all cost me around $350 with tax. What a relief to finally solve this headache.
on June 9, 2013
a lot has been said about the good and not very much about the bad so I will give you my 1 cent opinion.
The price .... hum ..Just about right IF!! you get it for 199.00 that is. It seems to me that the price changes from $198.99 to 258.00 every other week. I dont know why . But if you can wait to get it at that price do it .
Like many camcorders/cameras now days Sony,Canon,etc do make models with less extras to make the product less expencive to the public . But wait there is a catch. You will have to buy the extra items to make the item work for you. Such as cables ,chargers,batteries,etc. And in the end you will spend just about the same amount. So buying a more expencive item but with all the goodies already in the box sometimes is more of a better deal. Its just like buyin a DSLR you usually get the smallest lens for it and down the road you will need to buy more lenses.
Low ligth picture recording/stills
This is mostly the one feature that 75 % of low budget cameras struggle with, its not just this model . The illuminated C mos sensor is the least expencive one that Sony installs in their devices The lux rating (that changes from manufacturer to manufacturer) does average in low ligth conditions. When shooting indoors in a dimmed area is grainy (not too bad comparing cheaper models) but not great. I shoot with my Nikon D3100 and the diff. is just great vs poor. I do get it that this Nikon has better aperture and sensors but yet its not a camcorder per say.
The 1080 p setting wont let you transfer to a dvd (it does tells you when you switch from 1080i to 1080p- in the screen)If shooting in 1080i at it max resoulution it wont let you take stills ( again it shows it in the screen)You need to switch to stills only to do it .Much good have been said about the good low lux resolution . But to me its not so.
Like many cameras once you past the center line in the view finder/lcdscreen it becomes less stable and before you are max out it becomes blurry. I did not think that the stabilizer worked very well but I did double checked it and it was on. Best thing to do go to a place where one is on display and play with the zoom if possible
I went to the Zoo and tried the zooming,stills,low ligth scenarios dimmed and brigth /outdoors ligth and came to the conclution that may be and just maybe I should have waited for a better model.
NOTE : I still have Windows Vista .So my rev. will be based on my pc's software.
You have to download the Sony Memories software . there is no other way around it .It wont play videos in any other software programm. It sucks cause Im used to just stick the sd card in my pc and watch/download my vids and pics into my pc and choose a player to viev them. Not so with this model.
Could get the transfer cable to transfer to my external hard drive But that its just inconvinient and buying another cable is just another husle. Still after that you need to open it with Sony's memories software.
Dont expect more than an hour. Its very tiny so it does what it can.
I will keep it for now and keep updating this post.
I will return the camcorder I just cant get used to not beeing able to upload videos in my pc or facebook or any other place ,The Sony Memories software its just not made to be an easy share software why did Sony went this route is beyond me.!
Up date 8/06/2013
Today I was looking at my pictures with the Sony Memories and made a discovery I was able to transfer pictures that I had saved in my pc from the Memories software to my regular Pictures folder ! hummmm.... I remember doing it but I guess I did not doit rigth. The movies not...... YET . Still I dont recomend it because of the other problems.
on November 22, 2013
After using this camcorder for a few months, I would rate it as simply fair.
It is easily portable, fitting into my front pocket often.
It's light and after using it for a bit is easy to learn to keep stable.
The picture quality is good in decent lighting conditions. Shooting with the sun in the foreground causes it to black out some. If the sun is at your back, it's good quality.
I've only used outside during the day so I cannot comment on night quality.
It zooms in quickly and has a good range.
Battery life in HD last about 120 mins. I did get the generic battery backups (that don't show the time remaining) and they work just fine.
SD card - I've used 64gb and has lasted well.
Because of the SD card, it's easy to transfer video to my desktop to edit.
It has a separate shutter opening and closing from the on/off function. ie: you have to manually open and close the shutter. It has gotten stuck open several times, but luckily I've been able to jiggle it closed to date. (unlike others')
Turning on/off requires opening the side flap. A pain when carrying it because the flap can & will flop open on its own.
It takes a LONG time to focus when turning on. In order to save battery life, I turn it off during my children's sporting events. I now know that I have to give it a 5-10 second lead time when turning back on before I can count on it focusing on the action.
No way I can find/figure out to delete a video segment from the camera. I have to transfer the card to my laptop/desktop to edit. It's good that it shows the amount of memory remaining, but if you are nearing capacity you have to have another card available. You can't simply delete from the camera to make more space immediately.
Zoom control on the top of the camera is too close to the back. Unless you have short fingers, it's awkward to try to hold and zoom with just one hand. The use of two hands or a tripod are almost always required.
Overall it's a decent camera. I don't think I would buy it again and will likely be looking for a replacement in the near future.
on September 2, 2013
I'm avid Sony consumer and I didn't think I would ever give a Sony product a 1-Star rating, but this product absolutely deserves it.
I have a 3 year old SONY HDR-CX190, and now that we have a baby I figured I would upgrade to the newer CX220. What a terrible idea! First of all, this camcorder is NOT an upgrade from the CX190, it's a significant downgrade! Here are the things that are wrong with this camcorder relative to the CX190:
1.) The lens is horrible. It has a fishbowl effect. Try shooting a video where there are door frames, closets, walls, etc, and you'll notice they are not straight! They are curved, just like seeing through a fishbowl. NOT very good for home videos at all!
2.) The picture quality, even at the highest setting (1080p 60fps @ 28mbps), is HORRIBLE indoors. It was super grainy. The same horid quality you will find in Canon VIXIA camcorders (like the M500). I live in a house with probably 15 recessed lights on the ceiling, so we have good night-time lighting (at least the CX190 never had an issue).
3.) This is bulkier than the CX190.
This is simply the classic case of newer isn't always better. Do yourself a favor and buy a used copy of the HDR-CX190, it's about the same price as the CX220 but you get a smaller camera, better picture quality, and better lens. The CX190 is so compact that it could fit in my short pocket and not be so noticeable!