Top positive review
232 people found this helpful
on April 5, 2012
Just got the camera today so I thought I'd jot down some initial impressions.
The build quality is good, classy black with chrome. I bought an extra battery and noticed it wiggled slightly but no big deal. The cam is definitely light. The touch screen has a nice sensitivity to it. Had to turn up the brightness to get it to work okay under bright light.
The menu system will take a little time to get used to. It's not the sort of system you can can just goof around with all the options and figure it out. If you know what functions your looking for you'll have to spend a little time in the manual figuring it out.
Naturally, everyone would be wondering about the image quality. The video quality is very good. I took a little video of a friend of mine doing yard work in fairly strong daylight. I noticed that the lens is quite sharp, rendering lots of detail. Color is good. Image is perhaps just a tad overexposed but I was throwing it into a tough situation with the harsh daylight right out of the box. Zoom is smooth.
The microphone worked well, even with a little bit of wind. Not overly sensitive, but it can pick up some low volume details in the scene.
Bottom line, for the price you'll be happy with this camera. If you want to take some high quality HD without paying an arm and a leg for $1,000 plus professional camcorder, then this is the camcorder for you.
FOLLOW UP (2 MONTHS LATER)
Okay, now I've had lots of experience with this cam. Submitted some footage to the local access television station. So here's the scoop. The image quality, in low light, is superb for a camera of this price. Image quality is very good under normal lighting conditions. The cam tends to overexpose a little, however most people wouldn't notice it. However, if you want to "dial in" a "semi-pro" look, then definitely get acquainted with the exposure compensation. Definitely compensating one or two stops (darker) will make your image look really, really good, coming close to a pro look.
The built in mic is superb. I took some footage of a music performance at the local high school and I was shocked at how good the sound was. I've been using an external shotgun mic for a few events and the cam handles that beautifully, just set the volume level to 50 out of 100 and I'm getting pro sound. Only minor annoyance is the external microphone volume is conveniently placed under the easily accessible "function" menu but the volume for external headphones is buried under another menu. Luckily the headphone level is "set and forget" because I always use the same headphones.
The build quality is good but not top notch. But realistically most people aren't going to use this cam forty hours per week on the job. I'm using it about 10 hours a month videoing various programs for the local access station and I don't have any qualms about the cam standing up to that level of use.
This cam is a serious amateur to semi pro rig for short dollars. If you know how to dial in exposure compensation you can really make the image shine. I was videoing an event beside a pro with a $3,000 camera and quite seriously, the images I was capturing, in my opinion, were very close in quality to the pro's cam.
No camera is perfect, but your getting 90-95 percent the quality of a serious semi pro rig for about 1/4 to 1/6th the price.
ONE YEAR LATER
I've been using this camera about 10-20 hours a month for one year doing local access tv footage. This cam never ceases to amaze me. Really good low light images. We've used other far more expensive cameras than this one (won't mention the make/model) and this one still outshines in the low light department. Canon should have charged WAAAY more money for this cam (lol). I bought it when it first came out at $500 and now the street price is $350 which is an unbelievable deal.
Super nice light rig when I match this cam with the Canon monopod. I use it on a light Velbon tripod as well. The shotgun I mentioned earlier in this article is hanging in there recording some nice sound.
Couldn't be more pleased with this camera. Yah, it overexposes occasionally but no camera is perfect. The low light performance seals the deal.
UPDATE, FIVE YEARS LATER
This cam is still going strong! I use it to video all day conferences. I bought a 256 GB SD card for it so that it can record for 24 hours straight at maximum quality. I set the cam up for a conference using aperture priority, wide open, 24P, to get the most light, and just start the video at the beginning of the day, and let it run all day. No problem catching a 12 hour day of continuous conference footage. That way, I don't miss anything or have to sweat it about swapping out SD cards in the middle of the conference. Later on, I edit out the gaps and break up video for each speaker and post to youtube.
This cam just keeps ticking and ticking. So reliable. Video quality still great for youtube.
For sound, I sometimes take a sound feed from the conference sound board. Or, I will run a shotgun microphone up to the podium. Or, record sound with the onboard built in mic.
I've been thinking about upgrading to a 4K cam, but this cam has just been so reliable I just keep relying on it. I really don't want to deal with the size of 4K footage after, either.
Probably recorded 3-400 hours footage with this cam and it works as good as new.
Only minor niggle is that a lot of these conference centers have the lights turned down low to save money. I have to open up the aperture to F/1.8 (all the way open, depending on zoom range) and 24 frames per second to get the most light in possible. In post production, I bump up the brightness by about one full stop to get up to decent levels.
If you can get this cam used, you'll be happy. What a great, reliable cam.