Top positive review
477 people found this helpful
Best non-professional camera for the money
on June 19, 2012
After spending hours researching about this camera, I bought it because I decided it was the best. Now that I have used it for several months, I know for myself. Why? Several reasons.
1. The image quality was my #1 concern and this camera doesn't disappoint. Indoors, the quality is definitely more than acceptable, but outdoors is where it really jumps out at you. Color was amazing and there was absolutely no blurriness, fuzziness or grain. It's really as good as it can get.
2. The photo mode is very useful and more than just an added feature. In 8.9 mp, the quality was better than expected (outdoors at least).
3. The touchscreen interface is easy to understand and people with steep learning curves will adjust without trouble. Also, the physical buttons on the camera are few in number, with only the most used and most logical functions being present; everything else is handled one step at a time on the touchscreen.
4. I thought that the GPS function would only be a software gadget that didn't really do anything, but it is nothing short of phenomenal. I live in Ukraine, so naturally I got it shipped here. When I charged up the camera and looked at the GPS section, I saw that the map said I was in New York, presumably the place where the camera was manufactured. I told the GPS to refresh itself and went outside. The camera brought up a satellite map and started connecting with nearby satellites. Once it connected with four of them (after about 2 minutes) I got an exact map of where I was complete with coordinates and exact date and time. The map could zoom way in and I was shocked to find that not only were the names of local areas written in the local language, but the small, almost nameless street that I lived on was present on the map! Nice.
5. The projector is worth every cent of the extra $100 you need to pay for that option. It is extremely clear and the colors are almost as good as on the LCD screen itself. It's a great way to show others the videos you just took. The projector is only a few lumens though, so naturally it works better the less light there is.
6. Another cool feature, the camera takes pictures when someone on the screen smiles, great for catching moments that you would have missed otherwise. Also, you can play a video in slow-motion and then capture an image from it as a separate picture.
Now for a few important notes.
I stand by my decision that this is the best video camera out there for about $600, but that doesn't mean there are things for the buyer to keep an eye on.
First, there's the battery. I think that Sony made a good choice when balancing battery life and the size of the battery, but realistically speaking, most people will only get about an hour and a half of recording time out of a full charge, and that is only if you avoid lots of playback, projector use, and standby time. You can't really complain when you see how small the battery is and how big the LCD display is, but for those hoping for longer recording time, your best bet is to buy the optional NP-FV70 battery like I did. It provides about twice the recording time and honestly, is completely worth the extra $60. Just look out for the NP-FV100 battery pack: It's almost half as thick as the entire camera.
The other thing is the memory. Sure, 16 GB sounds like plenty, but by the time the manufacturer formats the memory and the basic camera software and satellite maps are on there, there is about 12.6 GB of space left. That's adequate, but if you like to record in medium-high quality like I do, then you might want to buy a high-capacity high-speed SD card. If you want to make good use of the GPS tagging function and the projector function, you pretty much HAVE to get an SD card, because once you move your pictures and videos off the camera, there is no way to use the projector function and using the GPS function requires that you install their software and run all of your data from there. I prefer to record in high quality FH mode which allows for full HD resolution, yet doesn't take up as much space as the higher bit rate FX mode. Not only that, but it's the highest quality mode that still allows for simultaneous picture taking and recording; anything higher and you have to quit recording to be able to take a picture. In FH mode, you can record for 1 hour and 43 minutes. By the way, don't bother recording in 60p PS mode unless you have a high-speed solid-state hard drive to put it on. Otherwise the footage will look jerky on your computer. Hard disks are too slow to adequetly process such a complex image.
These notes aside, I think that this camera is flawless except for a slightly squeaky sounding LCD screen (update: it went away after a little while.) I'm sure it's nothing more than a minor issue unique to this one camera that I received. Oh, and still images taken inside usually look grainy even in 8.9 mp; keep in mind that if quality is important, the camera function should NEVER replace a seprate still-image camera.
If you are looking for a video camera that has great video quality and a lot of cool features without bulky size or an eye-watering price, this is definitely it.