Customer Review

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Canon may have a defector on their hands., May 16, 2012
This review is from: Sony HDRPJ710V High Definition Handycam 24.1 MP Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom, 32 GB Embedded Memory and Built-in Projector (2012 Model) (Electronics)
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I'm not going to lie, since the late 90's, I've been a pretty solid Canon customer. Sony gear always seemed just a little too proprietary (I'm talking to you, MemoryStick) and just a little overpriced. But the HDRPJ710V has definitely changed my perceptions.

I've been using a Canon Vixia HFS10 for the past couple years, so I'm accustomed to a "prosumer" camcorder. And while the HFS10 is an incredible camera in its own right, I can't believe how drastic the improvements in the newer Sony camera are. Facial recognition is almost instant, and very intelligent. Transitioning from various sources of ambient light is silky smooth, and the picture quality is well maintained through very bright light, as well as low-light.

I was especially surprised by how good the night vision / pervert function is. Resolution is excellent if you have even the slightest bit of light. Similarly, I wasn't too hopeful about the Dolby Digital recording capabilities, but the end product is astoundingly professional.

The Zeiss lens is suspended in a float, so it takes a fair amount of trembling to see a shaky picture, which is a good thing... largely because the handstrap is unforgiving in its smallness. Though on the upside, Sony chose to integrate a USB cable in to the handstrap. And if you're the type to add filters, you can use the native 52mm screwthreads, or the included stepdown to 37mm. Also included: a very nice lens shade, remote, HDMI, and AV cables.

So, awesome image quality, very good build quality. My favorite thing, though, is that you can directly access your files through USB. Plug it in, grab your files, and go. No need to connect to AC power, and no need to convert on the fly. I can't believe it's taken this long for a higher-end camera to be able to do this!

Downsides? Well... yeah.

Battery life is less than stellar. At just over two hours' use, you're going to want to invest in a spare battery or two if you're planning on doing the "record and project" thing. As for projection... you have to understand that Sony isn't bundling an expensive projector in to an expensive camera. It's cute, and kids will definitely think it's cool. But the image quality suffers outside of ideal conditions, though the speakers are surprisingly loud and clear. Similarly, the included GPS mapping feature is functional, albeit strange. Unless you're mapping out samples of plants you're taking in the rain forest, I don't really see many people using the GPS function often.

Sony includes the most basic video editing software I think I've seen. Even Flip cameras came with more robust software. While this is probably geared toward someone who has a flavor of Final Cut or Adobe Premiere, I was kind of disappointed to see that there wasn't a Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 Production Suite license included in a camera on this tier.

All things being equal, this is almost certainly the best camcorder I've used, and it only takes a couple of minutes to see how reasonable Sony is in commanding the price.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 15, 2012 12:52:10 PM PDT
Kingeric says:
Great write up. I have been a huge canon fan for the last 5 years. I never thought I would prefer a sony product over canon. Now, I just don't know what I'm gonna do with all the canon equipment I have purchased over the years. I just purchased this cam and the next camera I get will also be sony. Im waiting for the Sony NEX-FS700 cinema. That cam is over 8K but I saving for it. It's the best camera I have ever seen. Sony has won me over completely.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 1:18:45 PM PDT
David says:
I second the thumbs up on the write up. I'm a Canon fan, too -- still cameras, printers, scanners, etc. Very solid products.

FYI, Nikon lost me forever when an (early) expensive digital camera I bought from them had a defect with the battery door not staying closed and the battery simply dropping out at random times. It was a widespread problem, yet Nikon wouldn't own up to it and was charging customers $100 to fix it as "out of warranty due to product misuse".

I tried a Sony digital video cam early on: a MiniDV camera, about 15 years ago. It's been EVERYWHERE and is scarred and worn all over and hundreds of hours of video captured. Still works precisely and flawlessly!

Sony's outstanding video camera division is separate from their other company divisions. That explains why 7 out of 8 Sony products I've bought over the years have failed prematurely, the only one that didn't being the video camera. I'm getting ready to buy the Sony reviewed here, but from experience, I'll never buy anything ELSE made by Sony (or Panasonic).

Just to continue the topic, another fantastic company besides Canon is Yamaha. Anything I've bought with Yamaha on it (high-end receivers, electronic keyboards, classical guitar, a motorcycle, etc) has been exceptionally-designed and solidly-manufactured.
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