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on November 9, 2009
Prior to ordering my camcorder I read all the negative reviews. While I appreciate that they warned me about the poor image quality under low light conditions, I was a little surprised that the camera even recorded under low lighting at all. Mind you, I am upgrading from a behemoth of Sony VHS camcorder that I bought in 1998, which just flat out wouldn't record in a dimly lit room without the lamp on (which also discharged the battery at 3x the speed of normal use), so my expectations are ,,, to say the least,,, much lower than most on low light recordings.
As soon as I got the camera I started testing the lighting requirements for recording. I started out in regular HD on an overcast day indoors and found that in a 20x14 foot room with 3 60 watt bulbs and all but one of the blinds closed on 3 windows I could record with moderate graininess but with surprising quality compared to my ancient camcorder under the same conditions.
I moved into my garage which had a small north facing window for a 20x20 garage and one 60 watt bulb. The graininess increased but surprisingly, I could even see the objects in the dark portions of the garage that were otherwise covered in shadow.
I moved outside on an over cast day and the quality was unbelievable.
When night fell, I recorded my wife in our 14x14 foot kitchen lit by 2 75 watt bulbs and one 60 watt bulb and the quality was again very impressive. I'm talking see the weave of the fabric on her shirt from 11 feet away with a little zoom quality.
Note that all lighting was florescent light, which in my experience tends to wash out color and the wattage I indicated for each shot is the equivalence to incandescent lights, not the actual wattage on the bulbs which are significantly less.
Using the camera for me was very easy. It felt intuitive to me, the buttons to record and zoom were fairly similar to my ancient cam. What I really liked was the size and weight of it. Man try carrying my other Sony cam around on your shoulder for an hour! This one fits in the palm of your hand and the lens cover is built in. Thats a good thing cause I lost my other cams lens cover a month after I bought it and had to buy another and lost that too.
The software is a snap to install and use.
I'm not into plugging in mics and lamps into the cam. I did that a couple of times with the ancient camcorder I have and learned they were just a big pain in the posterior so that doesn't bother me at all either. I do wish the user guides were written a little better though but besides that I'm stoked!
I didn't like dealing with Ace Digital Photo though. I paid for 1 day expedite and they sent it 3 day select. It barely got here before I went out of town and they never contacted me about reimbursing my money for the a shipping option I never got.
Oh yeah, and it should have come with the HDMIC cable instead of the component.
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on January 1, 2010
I don't have a lot to add over what has already been said by other reviews, except to confirm that the picture quality degrades rapidly with decreasing light levels. In good light, the picture is jaw-dropping excellent (played back on a 50" Sony HDTV), but in dim interior lighting, it can be just about as shockingly awful. My best advice is to turn on every light in the room and surrounding rooms. If that doesn't do it for you, upgrade the wattage of the bulbs. My reference point for low light performance is a Sony mini-dv cam form 2002, which was pretty good in low light - better than the CX100, actually.

Battery life with supplied battery is pretty poor. I got the bigger capacity Lenmar from Amazon and it works great. Grab yourself a 16G MS Pro Duo while you're at it.

I dinged the usability by a star, because even after 4 months of a lot of use, I find the menus on this cam to be awful. I have only had Sony cams, so it's not like I'm a newbie. I'm sure I'll eventually be used to it, but still...

One great thing if you have a PS3 - just burn a data DVD with the .MTS video files from the camcorder and stuff it in the PS3 to play it back. The quality is simply amazing.

Overall, this is a great camcorder, and the low light performance is the only issue which occasionally makes me wonder if I should have spent the extra money for the CX500. Now that the price on the CX500 has dropped significantly below msrp, I probably would have gone ahead and spent the money to upgrade. Having to buy a 16G MS puts the price much closer to the CX500, since it has 32GB built in, and it has the EXMOR-R backlit sensor which improves the low light performance significantly.
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on January 7, 2010
I ordered this as my wife and I sat in our delivery room waiting to deliver our baby. It came a couple days later, and it's been great. Very easy to start using, which was very important to me - I've never owned or used a camcorder. Here's what I've found after 3 months of usage:

- Easy to use
- Intuitive set up for those who use computers and digital cameras already
- The screen is big and moveable, so it's easy to film
- Great for use with a baby because it turns on quickly. We've captured many milestones this way, as well as quirky behavior as our baby has gone through different stages
- Picture quality is good for me - I'm not filming a commercial movie. Just footage for family to see as our baby gets older

- The battery has shown that it weakens. On the second charge, there was slightly less charge in it.
- Need to use specific Sony products, such as memory sticks. This can be more expensive
- Pictures captured using the camera function are not as good as with a camera. They tend to be grainy
- Not good in the dark. The less light you have, the more grainy the picture appears

Additional thoughts:
- If portability is important, buy one with a moderate amount of internal hard drive space, such as this one and download the files to your laptop/external hard drive/writeable DVDs. Use external memory chips for when you are on a trip. We find that this is more than enough space for taping footage of our baby - I think I've used about an hour of footage and not had to use the memory chip yet.
- Battery power seems to be the bottleneck, so consider buying a second battery for trips
- Buy a bag for it, because you will need to store different cords. I have a habit of losing them, so I need somethign other than the box to keep them handy.
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on January 7, 2010
Sony HDR-CX100 AVCHD HD Camcorder with Smile Shutter & 10x Optical Zoom (Black)

For the price, this is a remarkable camcorder. The HD (1080i) quality is acceptable when played back on "standard" size screens. However, there is some pixalation when played on my Samsung 61" DLP TV.

The major drawback is the lack of a light. As such, it is difficult to get good quality in poor light conditions. Also, there is sometimes a focusing problem which seems to require a "rebooting" (closing and reopening the viewfinder)in order to correct. This is quite annoying and inconvenient at times.

However, the sound quality is quite good on this machine.

When taking still shots, one must remember to hold the viewfinder in order to stablize the camera.

Finally, the software that comes with the camcorder is quite interesting. Although I have not used all of the options, I did notice that Sony presumes to know what I would like to do, before letting me decide to "creep before I walk." Some of the default features might become annoying.

I have had this camcorder for less than a month, but I am considering returning it in order to upgrade to one that has a night light. I find this to be a major short-coming, as indoor footage, shot under normal room lighting at night, is simply unacceptibly poor. I wish Sony had made a night shot light, even if it had to be bought as an accessary.

I also bought the carry case for this product, but I found the case to be far too cumbersome. I like the portability of the camera by itself, as it fits neatly into my pants pocket.
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on May 15, 2010
I had this camera then return it for the 110. This camera is very grainy in low light conditions. But when outside its very nice. My videos were clear and the colors were rich. And sony has some great software thats very easy to use. I've heard it doesnt work great on mac though. I havent really tried the software on my macbook pro. I would say if you have a budget then this is still a very nice camera but if you do alot of indoor video then you probably wont be impressed.
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on February 14, 2010
The CX100 is a nice little HD video camera. The user interface could be a little simpler. HD video quality is very good. The camera is small and light, but it's a challenge to hold it still (not a fault of the camera). The slow motion feature is OK, but the lighting must be very bright; medium lit won't do it. The slo mo is very slow which is nice; looks very cool. And in slo mo it only records for about 5 secs at a time, and then takes about 15 secs to write to memory. The supplied battery could last a little longer; I thought it would last a little longer given there's no moving parts except for the lens. It is small and light. I think the sound quality is excellent. You'll have to buy software to edit on your computer, the supplied software can import onto your computer, buy cannot edit. So plan on spending time comparing softwares, buying and learning to edit on your pc. My friend has a Canon HD camcorder and he likes his too. This Sony has a LANC port, which most people don't need, but I want it to control for skydiving video. For extreme sports, also look into the Gopro hero HD, I've heard and seen good things from it (except the mounts it comes with could be better).
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on February 2, 2010
I did a great deal of research before buying this camcorder. I was trying to decide between the SD and HD camcorder. I decided to purchase an HD camcorder because I have HD televisions, and picture quality. I read many reviews and found that Canon had the best customer reviews, but it was the most expensive. Lumix seemed to have decent reviews, but there were consistent issues with picture quality. This camcorder had some negative reviews as well, however, I did not find any of the reviews to be true. This camcorder takes great high definition video in different lighting conditions. The video is steady, and the sound quality is excellent. I will admit the deciding factor to purchase this camcorder was price. I am happy I bought it. This is very user friendly and it comes with all the software needed to burn DVD's and convert HD to SD for PC file transfer. This camera is small, convenient, easy to use, and a great value for HD quality video.
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on January 13, 2010
I purchased this camera because of the price, but this camcorder has a "good" with a "bad".

The good:
- Out doors with plenty of light the camera gives fantastic HD video! Even inside IF (and I mean a big if) you have much much light (like outdoors at daytime) the camera will give you a great picture.
-Very small camcorder is great to grab and go. I liked the smallness of it.
-Very easy to use. Just flip open and push record.
-I like the ease of snapping a picture during video taking or still shots.
-Charge held very good, although I did not record a full sporting event or anything like that. Simple family stuff.

The bad:
-Camcorder takes extremely grainy video if inside and not enough light. I was very disappointed in the poor quality. From decent lighting to hardly no lighting, the video was very grainy.
-Wish it had a larger memory (8 gb).

Overall, good camera, but with the poor photo quality indoors I did not want to keep considering the many events that I wanted to record indoors. I sent it back to Amazon for full refund which they refunded the full amount with shipping! A pleasure to do business with Amazon, which is why I have purchased the Sony Handycam HDR-CX500V 32 GB Flash High-Definition Camcorder from them. I am currently using it now and the low light videos are much much better. Obviously, this camera has many bells and whistle with a higher price tag, but was willing to pay the extra to record life moments in all situations with a very good picture. So far this camcorder is outstanding...
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on April 9, 2010
After reading reviews for other consumer HD camcorders, I decided on the Sony HDR-CX100 for the low cost and true HD quailty. In my opinion, the HDR-CX100 is the best HD consumer camcorder you can get for way under $400. The highest video quality is 1080p and with its internal 8gb memory, that would give you 1hr of video. The battery (fh40) that came in the box only last 1-1 1/2 hrs, therefore an extra battery (fh70, that last 2-2 1/2 hours) is recommended if you plan to shoot longer videos made possible with a memorystick expansion slot. Purchasing an external charger is also recommended if you plan to have extra battery. If you have read other reviews about poor low light performance, that is true; the low light videos are grainy. However, other more expensive consumer camcorders also have low light performance issues. The CX100 HD quality is better than SD camcorders, but for the fraction of what other HD consumer camcorders cost. I am happy with my purchase as someone who just uses his camcorder for trips, vacations, and special events; nothing professional.
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on April 30, 2011
I did lots of research on the Internet and I am glad I chose this camera. It is very small yet did fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. It was rightly sized so as to feel comfortable to use all its features by pressing the right buttons without issues. The pictures are superb, and usability is excellent. The battery life is very good, just remember to always turn it off if you are not using it. It charges real fast too compared to other previous units I have owned. Took it overseas and it was no problem charging on 220V either. If you are looking for something that takes perfect video, and has decent features you will truly use, then this Sony camcorder is the choice. I know there are other more advanced and more expensive units in the market with so many features for few hundred dollars more, but the real question is will you ever use them? The answer is most likely know. Trust me this is the best for your money. Hope this helps.
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