Customer Reviews: Sony HDRCX580V High Definition Handycam 20.4 MP Camcorder with 12x Optical Zoom and 32 GB Embedded Memory (2012 Model)
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on February 11, 2012
I just purchased this video camera on Monday evening, Feb. 6, 2012 from Beach Camera and received it today. I have only been able to work/play with the camera for a few hours, but these are my experiences so far.
1. This was my first experience ordering from Beach Camera, through Amazon. Was a little concerned at first when product didn't ship for a couple of days, but when they did ship, it must have been shipped two day priority, because it arrived halfway across the country by Saturday. Package arrived in perfect shape and sealed in factory condition. So far, impressed by Beach Camera and their service.
2. Camera is physically much smaller than I expected. It feels about the same size of a can of soda laying on it's side. Very nice! My last video camera was a Panasonic mini dv. That camera was a decent size, but this Sony is even more compact and fits very nice in my hand. The controls, zoom, photo button and record button all line up nicely and are easy to use. The camera feels solidly built, just as most sony products.
3. One item that I was concerned about was whether there was an available SD or memory card slot to add memory. The Sony website doesn't really make it clear whether there is that feature, or if it's just the internal memory. Well I can positively confirm that there IS a SD memory card slot on the bottom side of the camera. A little door flaps open and you insert the card. It probably accepts a memory stick too, but I only tried a SDHC extreme memory card 16gb card. Worked perfectly!
4. Now, for the feature that was the biggest hit with my family.... the built in projector! This is truly amazing technology. I projected a few of the short movie clips I just took, onto a large empty wall, and we were all totally amazed at the quality and sound. I backed up about 15 feet from the wall and projected an approximate image of 8 feet across. I am impressed at the image it can project at such a distance. Our wall is painted a medium brown color and it still looked good. Of course it would look even better if the wall was white or was actually projected onto a movie screen. Sound is pretty much what you'd expect from a pair of small speakers, sort of tinny, but it was pretty loud and definitely good enough to sit around and listen to our home movies. Good job Sony!
5. As for the quality of the video, this is what I've experienced so far. I played around briefly with the top two quality settings, 60i and 60p. I hooked the camera directly to my HD tv via the HDMI cable that came with the camera. The 60p looked slightly better, but both videos looked great. The video I took was at night, with only interior lighting on and it still looked great. I can't wait to see what daytime video looks like. It was super easy to view the video on the tv. As soon as I plugged the camera into the tv, the tv recognized the device and displayed exactly what was on the LCD screen. The only annoying thing was the sound coming out of the video camera and the tv at the same time, gave it an echo sound. I'm sure there is a way to turn down the sound on the video camera when plugged into the tv, just haven't figured it out yet.
6. Another feature I love is the crispness of the LCD screen. The high resolution of the screen makes the image so clear and easy to view. Love it! The only minor complaint I would have of the screen is the touchscreen feature. So far it seems like I have to press on the screen twice in the same spot to activate what ever button I was trying to push. Maybe it's just me being to careful and not wanting to press to hard on the screen or the screen isn't as responsive as it needs to be. Either way, I'm sure after a little more use, I'll get use to it and it won't be a big deal.
7. As for software, there is no cd/dvd's that come with the camera. There is a "lite" version of Home Memories software that comes preloaded on the internal memory of the camera. When you first plug the camera into your computer, you upload the software and install it. The software then offers to download additional features from it's servers. I downloaded and installed the additional features and it worked perfect. I have a computer with windows 7 that is about 4 years old. The software looks pretty basic, but it does do a nice job of importing and organizing your old photos and then imports your new video and pictures from the camera. I haven't worked with it enough to know how easy or hard it is to edit video or burn discs. I was able to import the new video clips I recorded tonight and was able to play all of the clips, including the highest quality video on my computer no problem. I played the video in both windows media player and in the Home Memories software and both looked really good!

Overall my initial impressions are very good. The still picture quality appears to be average to good for a video camera. Definitely not as good as a stand alone digital camera, but truthfully I haven't taken very many pictures, so maybe it will be better than I think. I plan on buying an extra high capacity battery, since I have never had good luck with batteries lasting very long, plus it's always good to have a backup.
One feature I haven't been able to figure out yet is what happens when you're recording video and either your internal memory or memory card gets full, does it switch over to the other memory seamlessly? Or does the recording stop and you have to switch to the other memory. When i determine the answer to that question, I'll post an update.
In summary, this appears to be a high quality camera that seems appropriately priced for the features it has. I definitely recommend it. My kids can't wait to make home movies with their friends and have a movie/popcorn night and watch their creations projected larger than life up on the wall!
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on May 13, 2012
I have had this camera about 2 months and have not found a single thing wrong with it.
I am a semi-pro photographer filming and photographing weddings, parties. style shows and many other things.
I just finished a weeding where this Sony HDR-CX580V worked outstanding.
Yes it will not automatically switch to the SD card when the memory fills, but never in my life have I recorded and event of over 4 hours. It only takes 4 or 5 seconds to switch, which is plenty flexible for me.
This last wedding I did 2 weeks ago was outside and I feared the wind would be a problem. I use wireless mikes for most of the wedding, but several scenes without the wireless showed no wind problems. I don't use the ridiculous 5.1 sound. I also don't use the ridiculous GPS feature.
The picture quality is as good as advertised. They are near 30mb with very true color. I typically use a Nikon D200 DSLR and find, to the naked eye, there is little difference.
Both versions of the "PlayMemories Home" software loaded with no problems. I used this software to review and transfer all files to hard drive and that works easy enough. I use dedicated software for editing pictures and videos so I don't use the included software for these task.
I highly recommend this camera.
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on May 15, 2012
I had this for 2 Months and I have to say the picture quality is Great as long as there is bright lighting. In dim (Indoor) conditions the quality gets very grainy, almost unusable. Sony should have went with a bigger sensor for the price this year. Last year they included alot of features such as a mode dial and night shot. They took all that away this year. I ended up selling my CX580v and getting a better Camcorder..

Just becareful before purchasing:

On Sony's website they say it has the mode dial which it does not. Also the 20.4 MP stills are not good at all. My 8MP cell phone camera takes better pictures. If you want a great Sony Camcorder from this years line up then I would suggest going with either the HDR-PJ710v or the HDR-CX760v. They have all the features as last years CX560v & CX700v did plus a few extras.
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on June 16, 2012
Overall, I am very happy with my latest purchase of the Sony Handycam HDR-PJ580V. I've had it for just under one month, have made two completed FCPX projects and am working on the third. After looking at several camera brands and models, it came down to three cameras: the Sony Handycam HDR-CX580V, the HDR-PJ580V, and finally the HDR-PJ710V. I discovered that the HDR-CX580V and the HDR-PJ580V are identical except for the projector. The HDR-PJ710V, which also has the projector and costs much more, comes with a few different upgraded features which didn't convince me to spend the extra money. Here are a couple extra features that I found on the HDR-PJ710V that the HDR-PJ580V doesn't have:
1) CMOS Sensor - 1/2.88"
Res: 6.65 megapixels
2) Min Focal Length: 3.8mm
Max Focal Length: 38mm
3) JPEG 6544 x 3680,
JPEG 4672 x 2628,
JPEG 4912 x 3680
But, that simply didn't make a big difference to me.
I like the fact that the Sony Handycam HDR-PJ580V works perfectly well with Final Cut Pro X, iMovie and iPhoto. The HD quality, color and the stabilization feature are excellent. The owner's manual is not as detailed as I would have liked, but Sony on-line real time support has been excellent for what I didn't understand or for what wasn't included in the manual. For example, there is no on-screen button that tells you when to change from the internal memory to your flash memory card. The manual does not explain this. However, there is a very small "pin-like" icon (the GPS Triangulating Meter) in the upper left hand corner of the screen, which allows you to view the time remaining. Just gently press the icon and you will see the remaining time for a few seconds.
Another feature, the projector, which works very well, is somewhat limited to the raw footage you shoot, or perhaps what you can edit on the camera itself in terms of what you can project. I was hoping that after I edited my FCPX projects, I would be able to import the footage back into the camera for showing on the projector. Not the case...this camera does not allow for that.
One more thing that may be my doing: I noticed that while I'm filming video and totally unaware of it, I apparently am also producing a number of still photos, which are then uploaded to iPhoto when I connect my camera to the computer. I don't know why this is happening yet.
Overall, I found that this was a best buy for my criteria which was 1) able to use with FCPX, 2) not too expensive (under $1,000.00), and reliable with good customer support. Also, I have had good luck purchasing from in the past. This was no exception. They had the best price for what I wanted and are a trusted commercial web entity .
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VINE VOICEon November 14, 2012
Style: CX580 - Camcorder|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an excellent camera overall, packed with tons of features. With so much going for it, I might say 5-star, if so much greatness outweighs a few drawbacks. But having had the phenomenal Sony HDR-CX160 ( (2011 model at a lower price point & feature set) that I absolutely love everything about, there are a few drawbacks that matter to me. The picture quality and image stabilization is superb at all light levels for me, including indoors in various lighting, and appears identical in picture quality to my CX160. The audio quality is also equally superb. Where the CX580 improves upon the CX160 is in other features, such as 32GB built in memory, 5.1 surround sound mic which shows you which direction sound is coming from in the LCD, built in light/flash, forward-facing recording indicator so others know when you are recording, comes with an HDMI cable to view on a TV without downloading, top-mount port for accessories like external lights, a few more configurable options (than the CX160) and both with lots of options. This camera is highly configurable. Btw, I really like smile detection that automatically takes photos. They are fun to find later.

It does an excellent job with the automatic and default settings (same as my CX160) so that you don't have to tinker with it if you don't want to. For example, if you are on vacation at Disney World, you want to just pull out the camera, snap a quick video, and not worry about adjusting anything. This does a great job capturing moments. I love a camcorder like this in place of a still camera. It is so much more natural to take a short 30 second video, capture audio, and explain what is going on as it happens. It used to take me longer to pause, wait for smiles, and take a static photo. The key is to keep videos short to capture quick dynamic memories in place of still photos, but not take overall longer. And beware, avoid recording everything like shows and attractions, because you will not really enjoy yourself live at the experience, and some would say your camera is going on vacation, not you. This can take self control for some. I pull it out before & after a show to capture our thoughts, and maybe once for a seconds in the middle to capture the essence for memory sake. I took my CX160 to Las Vegas, it boy did it do a good job capturing the night time lighting indoors and out. The CX580 is very similar in such quality.

The noticeable drawbacks to me are:
1. The zoom is only 12X when my CX160 was 30X. For video reviews and zooming in on attractions, I notice the difference right away, but you can easily live without it. I've now done several reviews with the CX580 and have been happy, I just don't get quite as close up as I sometimes would. You can turn on digital zoom, which goes up to 160X, but gets very grainy, but nobody says you have to zoom that much, so in-between it is okay. The problem for me is that (like the CX160) zooming goes blurry out of focus at some point, and this CX580 goes blurry out of focus while zooming much earlier than my CX160, and takes longer than the CX160 to correct itself back into focus.
2. The software for the CX580 is the new Play Memories Home (PMH), which has more functionality than the older Play Memories Browser (PMB) for my CX160. The font size in PMH is noticeably smaller than in PMB, is not configurable, and doesn't follow the Windows setting to use large fonts. With my eye sight, it gives me a headache when it is too small. But this might be perfectly fine for you. You can still trim, split, and combine videos. But the new PMH software in an attempt to make it more intuitive also adds an extra step, so it takes more clicks. In doing video reviews, I find it noticeable, but acceptable. The PMB software can be upgraded to PMH, but I downgraded after. You can still use this CX580 with PMB but only if you already have an older camera that activates PMB. And from within PMB you can select to import, and pick the CX580 camera once attached, instead of it auto-launching.
3. The CX580 is a little larger and taller than the CX160. My CX160 was so small and fit so comfortably in my hand. It felt so light and easy to control the zoom on top. This CX580 isn't much larger, but it is a tad taller, and I can feel it. It isn't quite as comfortable. I was a little surprised that the higher end model (CX580) was larger. Side by side it is noticeable, and noticeable to me only because I know what the CX160 felt like. But apparently to get more functionality packed in, you have to let in a tiny bit more space. However, after using the CX580 for a while, I really didn't notice and it is perfectly fine, especially if you don't remember a smaller one. It still easily fits in one hand, just a bit tighter.

The CX580 also sports a few other tricks. One that I like is that you can more easily quickly delete videos. It is subtle, but I like it. Often enough I make a bad shot and just want to start over. I wish you could click a button to delete the last video. It can waste time to wade through later, by watching a partial one to see which ones finish or not, or have multiple takes. With the CX580, the quickest way is click Menu, Edit, Delete, Movies and then start selecting, which is rather quick to do. With the CX160, you have to enter play mode first by going into Event view, then can back out to Edit menu or else the delete action is disabled. Both work in Event view mode directly to play and delete once playing, but that takes longer. Btw, for me the CX580 cinema mode wasn't very useful. I made things darker and less natural. I prefer my vacation videos to look exactly as my eye saw them in real life, which is what these camera do a good job in under any lighting.

For a low light example, see my Coast HP2 flashlight video review ( taken with this camera (converted to SD). For an indoor example, see my Harmony Touch video review ( or Sony Multipod video review ( taken with this camera.

So for video & audio quality alone, Sony does have less expensive models that do as good of a job. This CX580 packs more features than lesser models. Feature sets and value to you is the main decision factor. I don't think you can go very wrong with any decent Sony Handycam. This just has more.

Travel Charger Video Review:
Sony Multipod Video Review:
Case Logic MSEC-4 Case Video Review:
Case Logic EHC-103 Case Video Review:
Sony HDR-CX160 Text Review:
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VINE VOICEon September 19, 2012
Style: CX580 - Camcorder|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
- Excellent video quality - but to get the best quality, make sure it's either set to "HD quality" in 60p or in 60i, be in FX (Highest Quality 24 Mbps); when you first receive it, it's default is set to Standard HQ and only 9 Mbps.
- Dedicated External headphone and microphone jacks! Yes!
- You can turn off the recording lamp and can also continue recording even if you close the LCD (go to Menu->Setup then the wrench icon "Power On By LCD" to "Off")
- Built-in Light
- Built-in USB is very convenient
- 32GB internal memory
- 3" screen is "Xtra Fine LCD" is VERY clear; if you're shooting in HD, you want to be seeing it in HD when you're recording!
- Peaking/Zebra mode to know what's in focus/contrast
- Lens hood
- I like that the swivel screen is smooth and doesn't seem flimsy; sometimes I like to tilt the screen while I'm shooting and adjust from going from high angle to low; with a flimsy screen, it would mess up the shot but it's smooth.
- Good stabilizer
- Smooth zooming
- Automatic lens cover opens/closes fast
- Sexy body/look black finish

- Why don't they include remote controls on cameras anymore? They used to be a standard.
- Videos are great, but photos aren't the strongest point of this camera. Don't be fooled by the 20.4 MP. Also, it takes awhile to capture a photo. For still pictures, stick with a real still camera.
- 5.1 surround sound just sounds like echo for me.

The camera uses 30mm threads if you want to attach a wider lens on it.

Unfortunately, you can't have everything in this model. You have to go higher if you want that nice manual focus dial to be able to manually focus easily. No nightvision on this model either.

Of course what differentiates an expensive camera to a lower-end one is when it comes to low-lighting. This camera isn't going to perform miracles in low-lit areas - it's quality really shines in bright daylight - but that is to be expected for the price. With video cameras, you really get what you pay for. I used to work in camera sales and it's really surprising how people expect really detailed super picky HD quality from cameras that cost only a hundred dollars. What do you expect?

You also can't go by buying a camera just because it's advertised as 1080 HD. There's a lot of crappy "HD cameras" out there that even video tape/standard definition recorders perform better. I've owned HD cameras around this price range in the past claiming 1080p quality, but the quality on this camera blows them away. It's definitely time to upgrade even if you have an older HD camera. The quality is night and day.

This is a true HD camera for consumers.
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on July 9, 2012
I shoot video in various settings and for the money this camcorder does amazing. With or without an external mic this camera does a very good job at picking up sound even in windy outdoor situations. I believe the only way you could get better quality is to pay 1,000$ or more for a camcorder. The picture quality is super clear on HD 60i. I've seen a few folks complain about the software but once the raw video is on my computer I transfer it to another program to edit and organize. If you need a camcorder for semi-professional uses I highly recommend it.


I just did a project indoors in the past few days and I experienced grainy footage due to low light. So yes if you want to use it indoors get some brighter lighting. No big deal in my book. They sell all sorts of lights for video work and most of them are very inexpensive. So I will maintain my 5 stars and still recommend it.

UPDATE 07 19 2012

After purchasing some photography lights I tested the camera again on a project indoors at night. Problem solved! Footage came out crisp and clear without any of the issues I had the last time. So my review stands. It's an excellent camera for the money. Just get some photography lights and you will be good to go with this camcorder.
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VINE VOICEon October 17, 2012
Style: CX580 - Camcorder|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have had several Sony HD camcorders the past several years and they have all been excellent. This Sony HDRCX580V is no exception. The video quality is excellent and the stills are great as well. Others have complained about poor quality still pictures but I have seen nothing but excellent results. The video performance has been great in both bright light and low light situations. I know others have complained about low light performance but I found no issues with low light performance on this camcorder. We use this for filming our babies and for family trips to the zoo, amusement park and other places. It is small and easy for my wife to fit into her midsize purse. It has been dropped several times and has never had any performance issues. I just pick it up and keep on going. Babies have gotten their greasy hands on this several times but it has just kept on working. Overall this is an excellent camera and is probably exactly what most people need if they are looking for something to take video with their family or even at sporting events. I would highly recommend.
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on July 17, 2013
The technical specifications of this camcorder are excellent, given its price range.

Moreover, Global Online, the seller, is helpful, efficient, and honorable.

First, the seller made an extra effort to ship my camcorder on an accelerated basis, as I needed it for a school project. We exchanged numerous e-mail messages, text messages, and even phone calls in a short period of time. Second, we had a mix-up as to whether the camera came with a lens hood, which was shown in the photo. Global Online stepped up right away and sent me a lens hood, without argument and without charge.

These are efficient, honest business people--exactly what you want when you buy a big-ticket item.
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on September 20, 2013
My mom is technologically challenged. I still have to set up recordings for her on the DVR, but this she was able to figure out without problems. I left her the camera when I went into the hospital to have my son and she had no problem using the camera for recording and watching video. I've used it and love it. I love how I can just open it and start recording and then close it and it turns off. When you have kids--you want to be able to grab the camera and start recording right away. This camera not only does that but the video is gorgeous.
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