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Showing 1-10 of 219 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 266 reviews
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.
11 comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 15, 2014
I've had the camera for a week now and have used it for photos and video and I'm satisfied with the results so far. I'll be using it more this weekend and will be able to provide a better review shortly. In short, I've had no issues with it and everything works as expected. I'm by no means a pro, and the software on this camera appears to be somewhat simplistic as opposed to the more expensive camera my parents bought a few years back, but I'm fine with that. We're expecting a child and I just want something that's simple and easy, and takes high quality video/photo, which it does.

The only complaint I have so far is that you cannot take still photos while capturing video in 1080p. You have to be using 1080i in order to capture still photos while taking video. Oh well. I did purchase a full size SD card for this camera and had to return it for a microSD so pay attention to that. I bought a 64GB microSD card, and with 1080i mode the camera says I have right around 7 hours of recording time. I haven't used it enough to evaluate the battery life yet. As one other reviewer said, the camera does feel extremely light. It's much lighter than my galaxy s3 cell phone even. It's unbelievably light, almost to the point of feeling cheap. I think we're getting to the point now where the electronics in the camera are so small that they are now adding empty space inside just to get the camera to a physical size where you can hold it comfortably in your hand. I have no doubt that the physical quality and durability of this camera is right on target with any other brand or consumer model.

For the record, I did not purchase the 3 or 4 year warranty on the camera. After doing some research, I found that video cameras are among the least repaired consumer electronics today. And for the price of this model, it's simply not worth it.

Update: I've dropped my review from 5 stars to 4 stars after using my camera for a few hours over the weekend. Everything was fine up until watching the videos on my computer and there is some obvious motion blur when people are walking or shifting in their seats, which makes me wonder how this camera will handle capturing sports or my child running around. I should also note that the zoom is phenomenal on this thing, and doesn't get blurry when going beyond the optical zoom either. From my back porch I was able to identify the make/model/color of cars driving down the road over a mile from my house.
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on March 22, 2015
Nothing really spectacular about this camera. The menu navigation is atrocious. Most of the icons are repeated, like your typical Volume icon or Microphone Icon are assigned to things that have nothing to do with either so it is a little confused in that regard. The interface and getting around the camera and doing things are just pretty clumsy. I'm a tech guy and I didn't think it was all that simple. I gave it to my girlfriend who isn't technical, told her to record me doing something when I was done, told her to play it back (which was connected to my TV at the time) and it didn't record because the button she pushed (that looks like the record button) wasn't actually the record button. So this could definitely benefit from a user friendliness boost.

Otherwise, didn't think the HD was great - looked fuzzy, audio quality was average. Seems you definitely have to spend some money to get decent HD and decent Audio, I'd like this camera better if it had a Microphone In option.
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on September 7, 2014
You can definitely record with this camera hooked up to a power source. use the chord that plugs into the wall. It works fine.
i just bought another one of these. It has excellent optics and is very handy. If you lose it you are only out a few bucks. I have 10 Sony video cameras ranging up to $2,000.

I have a high speed 32 gig card in it and am looking to buy some extra batteries.

Take it to a birthday party and have some fun. I know I will. (smiley face goes here)
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 5, 2014
I just received my camera yesterday and spent this afternoon setting it up and learning to use it. Then I did some tests recording video clips and taking photos in the highest quality setting. I realize the everyone has different needs and expectations but so far it is proving to exceed MY expectations. It seems to be very easy to use and the video, sound and photo quality I found to be exceptional. I was also able to transfer the video clips to my computer easily using the memory card and its adapter. I was also able to easily bring the clips into my corel video studio software without having to convert them which is what I've had to do with my older camcorders. And finally I was able to play the clips on my 100 inch HD home theater via the supplied hdmi cable with stunning results. So far I am very happy with this purchase and only hope I will continue to be happy with it.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 15, 2015
It's a great entry level video camera for any beginners and enthusiasts out there. Don't expect it to act like a top of the line video camera. It's lightweight and feels solid and durable, holding up pretty good even when I dropped it once, the silver metal part around the lens coming unattached which I promptly popped back into place. The camera shoots high quality video and every detail shows up sharp and crisp. The HD megazoom feature is excellent and works as advertised, every detail up close showing up with no blurriness. The controls can be a bit clunky and tedious to maneuver but after using this camera for about seven months, I've gotten used to these shortcomings. The one thing I don't like is that on auto focus whenever I move the camera around a bit the picture goes out of focus and then goes back into focus after a couple seconds. This obviously can be prevented by using a stationary tripod but for taking handheld video it can get annoying. I've noticed that when zooming in on a faraway subject, the shakiness really becomes apparent, something not even the anti-shaking feature can fix.

The photo taking feature on this camera is pretty good, but not the best, will not replace a real camera. I like that I have a lot of control of how to set up the picture from adjusting the brightness to the type of scene I'm taking. I was able to take some good pictures of the moon by turning down the exposure to almost none which removed the bright orb of light obscuring the moon on my screen and giving me a good detailed picture. The camera isn't HD and the pictures can be compared to those from an inexpensive smartphone. It's works well for the price though.

Pros:
Compact, lightweight
High quality video with 54x clear image zoom
Good battery life
Microphone picks up sound well, even from faraway
Comfortable handgrip
Quiet, no whirring of parts
Lots of controls and advanced features to use

Cons:
No interchangeable lens, can't adjust how much light enters the camera
Not possible to blur out a background and have the subject in focus
Videos always have a buzzing background noise
Not waterproof

All in all this is a decent camera for under $200. It's good for family trips and shooting videos for YouTube. I don't have a whole lot of bad things to say about this video camera because it's worked fine for me ever since I bought it. The only issue I've encountered is at start up the camera thinking the lens cover was closed when it wasn't and me having to close and open it for the camera to start working. That's about the only issue I had and obviously after using this for a while not everything is going to stay perfect. Buy this camera if you're looking for something inexpensive and within your budget that can still give you good quality video with the many bells and whistles.
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on October 29, 2014
Strange little device. It does what it says, and pretty well too. Real, 1080/60p video. But in a little rickety plastic package with a poor user interface. Changing settings is a little awkward & non-intuitive. Porting files to the computer requires a female-to-male USB extension cord which is not a problem but a little unusual. If you want to record at a lower bit rate you have to use an interlaced mode (why didn't they offer an option to shoot 1080/30p or 1080/24p?). Less than fantastic in low light, but acceptable. No matter how you cut it, though, getting full HD for $200 is a good deal.
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on September 21, 2014
I picked this up last spring for recording practices and matches for my high school soccer team. I wanted something light that I could hand to a player and get good HD video, regardless of lighting. I picked up a 64GB high speed card, which I can plug directly into my MacBook Pro and download an almost-full card in a few minutes. I also picked up a kit with pair of additional 1600 mA batteries, a charger, and some cleaning cloths from Big Mike's Electronics (http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B008O6R5ZK/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_76). The backup batteries actually last quite a bit longer than the Sony battery that came with the camera, and the charger can be used as a wall charger or car charger (works on a school bus, too). That's enough recording time for two full matches with time to spare in the batteries, and enough memory for at least 5 full matches, even if a couple go to overtime or PKs!

I found the camera to be solid and reliable, excellent for recording sports and action, but I would not recommend zooming in and out on a regular basis, and get yourself a decent stand with a quality panning setup, if you need to track action back and forth. The camera does an excellent job of tracking movement and auto-focusing, adjusting to changing light as the sun goes down and stadium lights take over, and so on. The zooming in and out, not so much.

Like other Sony cameras that I've used over the years, this is a solid little workhorse. Get the right accessories and take care of it, and it'll last you quite a while. You'll probably replace it for a 4k video model or an even smaller, handier model before it dies, if you make a decent effort to take care of it (trust me, it bounced around in its padded camera bag any number of times when we went on road trips during a high school season!).
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on March 26, 2015
There are lots fancier home HD video cameras out there, but this one was a good value and delivers beautiful pictures (even in relatively difficult light conditions) with little attention required by the user.
It has replaced my point-and-shoot still cameras for casual picture taking as well. It can capture still images while shooting live video, or it can be set to shoot in still frame mode. In still frame mode, you have the choice of HD resolution or a larger size. The only real drawback to taking stills while recording video is that the shutter button is pretty inconveniently located for my hand, and the result is sometimes obvious shaking in the video, and other times I miss the still shot entirely. On the other hand, the downloadable editing software can allow you to capture HD-resolution stills from the video itself, but that's more time-consuming than simply snapping them on site in real time.
The monitor can be tilted and rotated to almost any angle, as shown in the product illustrations. It's handy for shooting from awkward angles, but may not be bright enough to see clearly in every position. It's plenty good, though, in the default open position right beside the camera body.
For the size and price of this camera, the lens is something of a miracle! I've been able to do macroscopic closeups on objects that are so close, the camera itself begins to block the light.
You might not shoot a network TV series with one of these, but "handy" is more than just part of the name.
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on July 12, 2016
Great value! Great product at a reasonable price. Works well. Tiny, extremely light, easy to handle and to transport. Takes just a few minutes to learn. Looks even more amazing when reviewed on your TV! Sharp, beautiful videos...feels like you are there when you are viewing it! Definitely recommend! I would greatly appreciate it if you would please mark this review as helpful--thank you! :-)
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