8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2013
The camcorder is small and light in a piano black finish. Closed it looks good, but there is a cheapness about it that doesn't really fit the current £500 price tag.
The box includes several manuals for various languages, but no software CD. The software is available to download online, but is only suitable for Windows computers XP (SP3) and above. On the plus side the camera can be mounted as external storage and the movie files can simply be dragged to your computer. Also included are an HMDI cable, USB and power adaptor. The review model appears to be the American version so came with a 2-pin plug, but I would expect the sale version to be the correct UK version. The camera can also be charged via USB (although the computer must be running at the time to provide enough power) and doesn't add that much time compared to charging with the power adaptor.
For some reason Sony, in their wisdom haven't included a memory card and with no internal storage you're not going to be filming anything without buying a card to go with it. The device takes SD, SDHC, SDXC cards as well as Sony's own Memory Sticks up to 64GB.
In use the camcorder is both light and responsive with a very smooth zoom mechanism. There are a few issues, the battery clips on to the back of the device, so is a little in the way of the record button, particularly if you have big thumbs/hands. The fold out screen is a touch screen, and the finger prints did make it harder to view in some light conditions, so an appropriate LCD cleaning cloth would be handy to keep to hand.
After recording some footage, the video capabilities are quite poor for the price. Forget taking still photos, they're dull, flat and grainy, it's out done by a lot of camera phones. The video was better, but still rather poor for the price. You needed the highest quality setting to get a usable video clip along with very good light. The camcorder gave very washed out and grainy results in even average lighting conditions. Don't even bother with low light conditions, nothing was usable.
Video taken outdoors in bright light conditions was crisp and the colours seemed well reproduced. However any movement resulted in lined distortion throughout the image until movement stopped. I'm not sure if this was due to my unsteady hand or a flaw with the inbuilt picture stabilising system or if it's just a poor quality lens.
The selling feature (or gimmick depending how you look at it) is a built in projector allowing you to project your recorded footage or connect another device for projected playback. Whilst this could have its uses, I can't help but feel they should have put more effort and cost into the actual recording side rather than the abiity to project you tv or computer. The projected image is surprisingy crisp, although due to the size the image isn't as strong as it could be, so you need quite low lighting to see it properly and once it's past about 17" of image the detail of the image starts to get lost.
If you're only planning to film in bright light on a tripod this would work well, but it will struggle in all other conditions. I would suggest looking at other options given the current price tag.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Sony PJ320E is an HD camcorder with a neat trick: it is also a projector, making it a true all-in-one device. Shoot your video, dim the lights, sit back and watch your creation on the nearest wall. You can also use it as a projector for any device with HDMI output, which includes most new laptops and some tablets.
The perfect camcorder then? I wish it were; but unfortunately its core feature, making videos, is disappointing considering the price, plus there are a few other limitations to be aware of.
What you get is the camcorder, mains adapter, a micro to standard HDMI cable, and a USB extender cable. The reason for the extender cable is that the camcorder has a very short (4cm or so) USB cable built-in, which tucks into the handle when not in use. Handy, and will work OK with a laptop, but if you have a desktop PC you will probably want to use the extender cable.
What you don't get with this particular model is any storage. There is none built-in, and no SD card is supplied. So you have to supply your own SD card. It supports SD, SDHC, SDXC, and Sony's own Memory Stick media, up to 64GB. For the SD cards, class 4 or faster is specified. I used a 32GB class 10 SDHC card.
My camcorder came with a Euro-style mains cable which is slightly annoying, but fortunately I have plenty of adapters.
Like most camcorders, this one has a grip handle and flip-out screen. You can twist the flip-out screen around so it faces forward, handy for the self-timer. Menus are chosen by touch control on the screen, and while this works OK it is a rather small screen and fiddly to operate. There are also some physical buttons: zoom lever, photo button, and start/stop for video recording. On the inside panel are buttons for projector mode, play and power, and along the top a focus slider for projecting. The camcorder can be mounted on a tripod.
There are two shooting modes, video and photo. In some video modes you can still take photos with the photo button, but not vice versa.
Connection options are generous. There is a flap on the side covering power in and multi video out (for TVs that lack an HDMI input), though the multi video connector is an optional extra. On the inner panel you get HDMI in and out (the in being for projecting), and microphone in with plug-in power.
The device is light and compact and basic operation is easy. The main snag is the slightly awkward menu system.
On paper this is a decent camcorder. Here are a few key specifications:
- 30x optical zoom extended to 55x for video recording.
- Still photos up to 8.0 mega pixels, 16:9 format
- 1080 HD video recording, 16:9 format
- Focal distance 1.9-57mm
- Frame rate 50i or 50p
- Projector resolution 640 x 360
- Projector brightness 13 lumens
- Battery life: typical 75 minutes recording, 240 minutes playback
My biggest concern with this device is that I could not achieve excellent results. Don't even think of using this for still photos; they are poor quality despite their high pixel count. Videos are better but still only average, and I suspect that the lens is just not very good. I got the best results using the highest available quality (no surprise).
I compared the Sony to my excellent Canon S100 camera. Still photos on the Canon were miles better, as you would expect. The S100 can also take videos, and here the main reason to prefer the Sony was not the image quality as such, but the fact that it is much better at steadying the image, for handheld videos. Credit to the Sony for that.
The video quality is not that bad, but less good than the resolution would lead you to expect.
Note that the lens is a Sony G lens, not a Carl Zeiss as used on some Sony models.
The audio side is pretty good. Built-in stereo mic on the front, option for external mic, Dolby Digital recording.
Of course the Sony is also a projector, which is a lot of fun. The projector is the DLP type which is ideal for portability. The downside is that it is low resolution and the lamp is not very powerful, but that is expected. It certainly beats having to peer at the tiny screen to watch a video, though if you have a TV handy you will probably be better off connecting to that with HDMI rather than projecting.
The HDMI input means you can connect other devices. I tried this with a Sony Xperia phone which supports MHL, meaning that the USB port can be used for HDMI output with a suitable adaptor. This worked well, and I could project a video from the phone through the Sony camcorder.
Will you use this much though? What about purchasing a separate pocket projector and a conventional camcorder instead - you will probably get better quality for both, and spend no more money.
There are a range of options in the menus though documentation for these is not great. Features include Spot focus, which focuses automatically on a subject you touch, and Smile shutter, which automatically takes a picture when it detects a smile! I tested this and it actually worked, good fun.
There is a useful feature called My Button. Four buttons on the left of the touch screen are user-assignable, so you can quickly access a feature without having to scroll through the menus.
Other features include white balance adjustment, self-timer, manual focus, low light optimization, wind noise reduction for the mic, and of course image size and quality.
Sony supplies free software for PC and PlayStation 3, called PlayMemories. You can import images and video from the camcorder, upload to a cloud service for sharing, and burn DVD or Blu-ray discs. Mac users miss out on this, but can still easily import from the camcorder.
I like the features of this camcorder and if the image quality were better I would love it. As it is, I feel it is a nice device let down by poor optics. It is light and convenient though, with some fun features. Recommended if the combination of camcorder and projector in one unit is particularly useful, but for pure video quality you could do better.
Well I must say the 'Sony PJ320 Projector Camcorder' is not bad, not bad at all ... for what it is.
A Camcorder AND projector.
This means that as the technology provided is dedicated to neither projector nor camcorder but to both, unfortunately the quality has to suffer somewhat. But as a family quick use camcorder or projector it is still great fun and a very useful bit of kit.
This Sony Camcorder is fairly compact measuring 11.7cm x 5.7cm x 5.7cm, a good size to carry around with you for the unexpected shot.
The Camcorder is also capable of pretty good quality stills as the camera element is 8.9 megapixels.
I quite like the idea of being able to hook the Sony PJ320 Projector Camcorder up to a tablet and then play a film from the tablet directly onto a wall, works great with Tom and Jerry. Perfect for keeping the kids amused whilst away from home.
Our teenagers have also had fun using this camcorder and projector for showing YouTube videos to their friends on their bedroom walls.
We have a large family of two adults, six children plus many pets and over the last few weeks we have managed to capture some really great moments and then have a real laugh projecting them instantly onto our living room walls. In fact, so successful has this been, my husband is now becoming a bit of a nuisance recording all manner of embarrassing moments.
In fact as a camcorder the Sony PJ320 is not actually that bad and we have been able to capture some really good shots.
Here are some of the most memorable ...
We've had the dog falling UP the stairs.
Our daughter having the worse tantrum ever (and an even bigger one when this was played back on the wall)
Our Lizard NOT doing anything (he was supposed to be eating, but by the time my hubby got recording he was finished)
One of our teenage boys snoring in his bed with sound effects.
Me snoring in a chair complete with mouth open (not an attractive sight)
And the parrot pooping ... lovely.
Note, NONE of these videos include my husband. One of us, one of these days will get him when he least expects it ...
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I've read the other,less than favourable, reviews of this camcorder but in my honest, layman's opinion this is the bees knees. I have never used a camcorder before but I had no problem with this one as the instructions are simple to follow and clearly written. The only thing wrong with the videos that I produced was my own inability to think camcorder rather than camera - some of the footage that I produced swings wildly all over the place before alighting briefly on the intended subject, but in photo mode I was much more comfortable and produced some excellent results. I'm sure that in time I will adjust my thinking and hopefully produce some videos that are worth watching : ).
I was amazed at how clear the video was when projected onto a wall and the audio pick-up is really sensitive. The first test I tried was to shoot some footage of garden birds that were about 40 - 50 yards distant from me feeding from some hanging feeders. Not only did the Sony PJ320 capture every little visual detail of the birds it also produced excellent audio recording of all their chatter. What's more, I found that when I had uploaded my video onto my iMac that I could grab freeze frames from within the iMovie software and use them as still's - which were as good a quality as a lot of photo's produced by digital cameras that I have used.
* Attractive, ergonomic styling in piano black finish.
* Built in USB lead that tucks into the hand strap
* Easy focusing and zooming
* Articulated 3" LCD screen
* Powerful built in projector
* Easily connects to other devices such as TV, PC, Smart Phones, Tablets etc.
* Good, crisp images from both the photo and video modes
* No built in memory so a memory card is needed (SD, SDHC, SDXC, or Sony's own Memory Stick are all supported)
* The power cord has a two pin continental plug on it so an adaptor is needed to plug in the charger for re-charging the battery.
* A basic case would have been nice as when this much money is invested in a piece of equipment it's nice to have some protection for it.
I think that people who use camcorders are often working to a different set of criteria than photographers so it is perhaps unfair to try and compare the two media. However, I feel that the Sony PJ320 is a strong contender when it comes to bridging the gap between photography and videography.