When fun happens, the bloggie camera records it all in 1920x1080 high definition MP4 (H 264) format MP4 is a popular multimedia format that compresses the size of your audio and video, making files small enough to easily transfer to your compatible PC or Mac Swing out the built-in USB arm and connect your camera directly to your compatible PC or Mac It's the quick and easy way to upload videos and charge your battery without having to hunt for cables Show your videos to the world Just use the pre-installed Picture Motion Browser (PMB) Portable software to pre-select videos and images in the camera and easily upload them to a compatible PC and popular internet sharing sites No additional software needed At approximately 0 9" thick and 2 2" wide, the bloggie is ultra-compact and easy to carry in your bag or pocket And don't worry about the lens - it swivels out of the way for protection while not in use The bloggie camera features a unique lens that swivels up to 270 degrees and instantly powers on the camera when you rotate it outward It's perfect for spontaneous moments - just grab the camera and start shooting immediately
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This is a very smart little device, with Sony's usual high build quality. Very simple to use, just press 'record' and you're off. Picture quality is excellent, and the rotating lens is a great idea that allows you to film stuff at odd angles, or even yourself.
The 360 attachement is great fun, though you might find it not worth the extra cash. It is basically just a conical mirror that attaches over the lens, allowing you film in all directions at once. You can then use the software that comes with the camera to 'unwrap' the cylindrical image, giving you a super-wide angle picture. The quality suffers, as you might expect, but the novelty value more than makes up for it. It's lots of fun, and you can get some great effects with it. I'm imagining things like holding it up above your head at a party and filming everything, or leaving it running in the middle of a table at a family meal and filming the whole thing... lots of possibilties!
Battery life is fantastic, and the camera is about the size of a chunky mobile phone. Easily small enough to always carry with you, and quick to start and fantastic for filming your life. The rotating lens also has a trick, in that with it set at the correct angle, you can very easily film people and things while 'appearing' to be using a phone to send a text message. Excellent for candid shots. There is a tripod screw at the bottom, and the camera will stand up on its own. You can also rotate the lens so that you can lie it on its side and film.
However, this camera does have some downsides, and they are silly ones. Sony always makes beautiful objects and then spoils them by overlooking the details.
Firstly, image stabilising only works on the lowest quality setting, 30fps at 720p. Not a huge problem, but why? Stills camera is very poor, not much better than a mobile phone. And no flash! Given the excellent xenon units sony uses on its mobile phones, there's not much excuse for this. Low light perfomance is essentially non-existant. This is the biggest downside - this camera is meant to be always with you, and your most fun is usually in the evening, out with friends. The user interface is very unintuitive - pressing 'play' to view pictures often results in you going back to record mode, or at least, not actually showing you the image. Deleting a picture or recording takes half a dozen key presses, which means you rapidly fill up the memory card as you're too busy recording to stop and file through things to delete stuff. Silly things, but they get in the way, they slow you down.
The supplied software is awful, and is really only useful for 'unwrapping' 360 images as I've mentioned above. For example, you can't rename files! There is just no option to do so. If you 'manually' rename a file in windows explorer, the sony software promptly crashes. The 'upload to internet' functionality is poor (no facebook! no flickr!), although you can manually add sites to upload to. However, this works by simply copying the file location of the video to clipboard so you can upload from the site's upload page which the software opens for you. Clunky, but it works - oh, except that Sony for some reason have decided you must use Internet Explorer rather than your default browser. It also can only copy the location of a single file. Sony's usual poor attention to detail here - it's a good idea, but not much use in practice.
Despite my whinging, this is a really fun bit of kit and I'm really pleased with it, hence the 4 stars. It's simple to use, discreet, excellent quality, looks good and is a lot of fun. However, this camera sells at a premium and if Sony want to compete with the likes of the Flip or Kodak's excellent cameras (which sell at almost half the price), its very disapointing not to be much, much, better.Read more ›
This is yet another addition to the pocket camcorder/camera market. I have already reviewed the Kodak Zi8 Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera - Black which was generally a very good item. The Sony is smaller and lighter, and the lens folds away to protect it. A genuine pocket camera.
The Sony's main selling points appear to be the 360 degree function, and the moveable, angled, camera head. To make use of the 360 function, you have to load the Sony software to your computer. This, as so often, did not go smoothly. In fairness, it may have been my PC (although it does have a fast Pentium processor) but I have found camera manufacturer's software to be lacking in ease of use and transfer generally. I prefer to stick with my own software so that the PC doesn't become burdened with too many different types. Anyway, once I got it to work, had snapped on the 360 degree adaptor, and taken still and video images, I had a look at the results on the computer. They were disappointing. Poor definition, nothing like the quality I had hoped for; but this is frankly far too modestly priced a camera to really expect otherwise. The angled head is something useful though. I took video of my cat hiding in a box and being silly (like cats do) with just the camera head poking over the top of the box; the results were good. You can swivel the head right round to take pictures of yourself if you want to. The stills picture quality I found quite acceptable for a pocket camera. Video images were good, a little jerky, as is the zoom function. The more computer memory, the smoother the images as you would expect. Video will not play on Media Player, Quicktime is needed.
Now some issues. Incredibly for an HD camera, there is no HDMI connection. If you want to view true 1080 HD images on your TV you have to use a component A/V cable, which is not supplied. And if you do have this connector, there is a total of six different connections to make. Why on earth didn't Sony fit an HDMI socket? I found the buttons for taking still and video needed a fairly hefty push to activate. And they are positioned to one side; I found the central large button on the Kodak Zi8 a doddle by comparison. The Sony battery life has been excellent so far, but to charge it you have to plug the camera into a USB socket on a computer. There is no facility to charge it from the mains; yet you may (like me) find yourself away from a PC but next to a mains socket. So you will need to purchase a spare battery, not the end of the world, but there you are. The viewing screen is bright (and its brightness can be adjusted), but it's small. I would prefer a larger viewing area.
The camera comes with a basic 'get started' leaflet in dozens of languages. There is a proper, very good and clear, instruction manual on the enclosed CD, battery, wrist strap, the 360 degree adaptor, a basic a/v cable (not suitable for true HD), and Sony's own 4GB Pro Duo Memory Stick. In fact you can use an SDHC card, which is what I used.
Overall, this is a good pocket 'fun' camera, but with the, for me, disappointing issues I have listed above.Read more ›