Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
It's simple and smart. + comparison to other cameras
on August 6, 2014
I picked up this camera after looking at other, more expensive Sony Handycam options. I make mostly DJ videos to upload to YouTube, so I figured the video quality would be plenty good enough for that.
Before you place your order, make sure you add a Class 10 Micro SD card to your cart! I recommend 32GB. It must be class 10, not the cheaper class 4 ones.
This camera records in full 1080P resolution and has dual format recording. That means when you open up the SD card on your computer, you'll have the higher bit rate AVCHD files in the private folder, and the lower bit rate .mp4 files in the MP_ROOT folder. In the camcorder Menu > Image quality/size > REC mode, I set it to the highest quality. This gives you 1080p AVCHD, but the .mp4 is 720p. That's good enough for me.
If you hit the PHOTO button on top of the camera, you'll get a crappy, grainy photo. You need to go to Menu > Shooting Mode > Photo. Then you'll get a good picture. This camera has automatic smile detection. It can wait until you're smiling to take a picture. Very creepy. Try it out. Put the camera on a tripod and look at it. Every time you smile, it will snap a picture.
The built - in microphone on the camera works well and has great sound quality. It also catches all the echo and noise in the room, so if you're trying to make a professional quality video, you may want to use a shotgun or lavalier microphone and record the audio separately. This camera does not have a microphone input.
Sony Handycam vs. DSLR cameras
If you watch a professional recording video, they probably won't be using a Handycam. DSLR cameras are much more expensive and can shoot better video, but are much harder to use. First, a good DSLR camera will set you back at least $1,200 and you have to select the right lens. A lot of DSLR lenses have a shallow depth of field, so one thing will be focused in your video while the rest is blurry. It's hard to focus the lens using the small built-in screen, so you might also need to buy a separate one. So, provided you have the right gear, unless you take the time to learn how to use it properly, you'll still just end up with a bunch of blurry footage. The Handycam automatically focuses, and everything in your shot will be focused. Just point it at the action and hit record. Done. Excellent video.
Sony Handycam vs. GoPro
GoPro cameras are widely marketed as the go-anywhere record anything camera. Keep in mind it's an action camera. The GoPro is designed for outdoor use in harsh conditions where other cameras would break. I've tried using the Hero 2 and it had bad video quality in low light conditions, the audio was so bad it wasn't useable (even with the case off), and the menu buttons are a pain to use. The hero 3 and 4 are much better, but still lack in sound quality. If you're shooting video indoors for a YouTube blog, wedding, or anything else that isn't mountain biking or surfing, use the Sony Handycam. It's easier to deal with, you get 54x zoom, and better sound.
This camera also turns on and off automatically when you open/close the screen. It's simple, and smart.
Sony has a few other handycam options with built in projectors and stuff, but they don't make sense unless you go up to the $650 price range and get one that has the balanced optical steadyshot feature.
In conclusion, I would say this camera is excellent. At just a little over $200, it's a great deal and worth every penny.