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4.5 out of 5 stars28
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The first thing you notice when opening the Sony HDR-PJ530E box is just how compact and stylish this camcorder is; as you would expect from Sony. Included in the pack are; an AC adapter/battery charger, a rechargeable battery pack, a micro USB cable, a USB extension cable (more about that later) and an HDMI cable.
What, disappointingly, is not included, especially as there is no inbuilt memory, is either of the supported media cards on which video and photographs can be recorded. So, if you don't want to wait to try out your new camcorder, add a memory card to your order. Also disappointing is the printed Operating Guide which gives only the basic instructions and no description of the menu structure and function. Fortunately, this is where the disappointment ends.
Two types of memory card are supported, MicroSD/SDHC/SDXC up to 64GB, Class 4 or faster, and Memory Stick Micro (Mark 2). The card slot, which is suitable for either format, is behind the monitor in a neatly covered compartment which also houses the HDMI and Multi/Micro USB terminals, which allow connection to external devices. Connection to PCs and mobile devices can also be made through the camcorder's inbuilt Wi-Fi controller.
While you're waiting for delivery, if you intend to store your videos and images on a PC visit [...] and download the Sony PlayMemories software. If you intend to store them on a mobile device, you can download the PlayMemories app from Play Store. Very useful too is the Media Remote app that lets you control your camcorder from your smartphone or tablet.
Having unpacked the box, the first thing to do is to attach and charge the battery pack, which is done either through a computer USB port or by the supplied mains charger. Unusually, the USB charging cable is permanently attached and tucks neatly away in the handgrip; if using the mains charger the USB extension cable can be used if necessary. There was already some charge in the battery, so the first charge took just over two hours.
To get started, just open the LCD touch screen monitor and follow the instructions to set; language, time zone, daylight saving, date/time format and date and time. If, like me you find the operating sound annoying, it can be turned off from the "beep" command in the "General Settings" menu. Insert a memory card; choose the recording quality for video and photo and you're ready to start shooting. I purchased a SanDisk Ultra Android 64GB MicroSDXC Class 10 Bi-coloured Card with Adapter, which performs extremely well.
Frame your picture using the massive 60x power zoom (30x optical) and press the start/stop button to start recording, "REC" is displayed on the monitor. In bright light, change the monitor brightness from "normal" to "bright". Press the start/stop button to stop recording, "STBY" is displayed on the monitor. Whilst shooting video, or in standby mode, pressing the PHOTO button captures a single image of the current scene. The extensive options menu allows manual setting of most functions and a number of recording modes but, as these are not documented, it's a bit "trial and error". As an experienced photographer, I have a pretty good understanding of the functions, but this could be quite daunting for a novice. Fortunately, the "auto" setting gives excellent results for most shooting situations, giving time to experiment. Being so small and light, smooth control when zooming or panning is very simple but, in any case, the inbuilt "Steady Shot" image stabiliser takes the technology to a new level.
Audio recording is good, but even with wind noise cancelling, wind noise can be intrusive. However, for the more experienced, sockets are provided for headphones and microphone.
A really useful feature is the Media Remote app which uses the Wi-Fi connection to display the image from the camera on a smartphone or tablet screen and also allows touch control of recording and image capture; great for recording wildlife.
By default, video is recorded in both AVCHD (Full HD) and MP4 (online) formats, but this can be changed to just one of the formats if desired. Still photographs are stored as JPEG images which can be either 2.1 or 9.2 mega-pixels in size.
There are several options for viewing recorded videos and images. For quick review, the camera monitor it very good, but to get the maximum benefit of the superb quality they can be played back on an HD TV through the supplied HDMI cable. Alternatively, videos and images can be transferred to, and viewed on, a smartphone, tablet or PC using "PlayMemories", which also provides a number of sharing options to most social media sites. Video transfer is quick and simple using the inbuilt Wi-Fi function or, optionally, by USB cable to a PC or other device with a USB connection. Connecting cables are available separately to connect to devices which don't have USB or HDMI terminals. My preferred option is to transfer the video clips to my PC and edit and publish them using the excellent Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro Mini Box Retail.
The really exciting feature of the HDR-PJ530E is the inbuilt video projector which is incorporated into the monitor. If you don't have a TV available, and you want to share your videos, instantly, with other people, you can project them onto any flat surface. Image size isn't huge, but videos are eminently watchable, even in quite high ambient light level. In low light conditions, on a reflective screen, they are quite stunning. I first tried this function at a friend's BBQ, where I projected the video onto an indoor white wall; I was quickly surrounded by a number of fellow guests who were very impressed with the show and extremely interested in the technology. Everybody was amazed that so much functionality could have been built into such a small package.
My instinct was to drop a star from my rating because of the failure to provide a memory card and the poor documentation, but the sheer quality and functionality of this little camera, at such a modest price, prevents me from doing so. I have other video cameras, but this one is so portable, and fits so easily into my jacket pocket or car glove box, that it has already become my constant companion.
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VINE VOICEon 22 March 2014
The recordings my family have produced off this so far look very smooth and extremely professional. This has included filming from a moving car, where the picture remains clear and smooth.

The built in wifi has made it very easy to access to show the family and friends the films we've made and I really like the built in projector feature. The zoom is exceptionally good with no blurring.

Overall, I would highly recommend this camcorder. It stands up well alongside far more expensive options, and more than meets expectations in my case.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been using this for filming student interviews as part of a school A-Level and it is providing crisp, clear picture and sound. The battery life is not amazing, but it managed 2-3 hours. The biggest issue I had was shock that it came with no onboard memory at all and no bundled card, so I had to pay £30 for a 64GB microSD. It now will take hours of footage. It has an odd system of recording as both HD and lower quality mp4, but this does give choice and can be altered.

Entering details of my wireless router on a touch screen so small was bloody awful, and it is the software side I have found most irritating: 1. I couldn't access the camera even by USB on the school laptop. 2. I can't delete files on the camera from the PC with any ease at all. 3. why can I not do the fiddly set-up tasks on the pc software (with a keyboard) when it is connected by USB?

The software though is a minor issue and I've found workarounds for everything that was irritating (not from the online help, which is weak). I really like the projector function for giving instant feedback to students (and my own children like seeing themselves too); I really like the ease of use and positioning of buttons; I am baffled as to why there is a USB cable and a USB input slot both doing the same things, but it makes the choice of cable easier. I have seen advertised microphones, stands, etc. to give even greater functionality and could be tempted.

For the money this is really good.
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on 8 October 2014
It's good but it's not great. Records excellent quality video with good colour replication. Sound recording isn't as good, so I'd recommend a separate mic. The projector is a useful feature for quick reviews of shoots and the dual file HD/web option is a nice touch.
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on 16 November 2014
Excellent camera with amazing stabilisation function - the lens literally floats within it casement so the camera shake is much reduced. I'd say it's slightly better than the Panasonic 750 which is in the same price range. However, I personally prefer the Panny in the way it works, the UI etc. I also think the Panny focuses quicker than the Sony.

I have to say that the Sony does everything that it says in the description above so would recommend it if you wish to buy into the Sony ecosystem. However, I do prefer the Panasonic V750 for about the same price.
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VINE VOICEon 7 May 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am mostly used to using my iPad or iPhone for taking videos so I was looking for something significantly better than these to warrant carrying another device with me whilst out and about.

Pros:

* Handy small size and light - 374g on the kitchen scales with battery and SD card

* Projector is very handy addition for quick previews

* Image stabilisation is really good

* 30x optical zoom is good

* Was able to plug straight into my Macbook and import movies into iMovie without installing any extra software (via USB)

* About 2 hours of battery on a full charge

* Dead easy to use (touchscreen fiddlyness aside). I didn’t bother with the manual and was up and running very quickly.

* I like the wifi option where you can get access to the images and videos wirelessly from you phone or tablet and share on the web - though on iOS devices you have to go through the hassle of adding the camera to the same wifi your phone is on (it doesn’t work on public wifi where you have to fill in a web form)

Cons:

* The user interface is a bit clunky if you are used to smartphone/tablet videos

* The touchscreen is a bit hard to use and inaccurate (especially clicking the OK button in the top left)

* The camera doesn't ship with an SD card and should be clearer in the details

* The camera also doesn’t ship with a USB cable for connecting to a computer - the camera has wireless

* I love the built in USB cable that tidily tucks into the carry strap but it only charges the battery rather than allows access to the SD card data. It would be better if it could also access the contents of the memory card without needing to carry additional cables.

* Digital zoom is poor (esp in low light)

The image quality is good and the image stabilisation is amazing. 5.1 audio is good but I was unable to test as I don’t have an 5.1 setup. The projector is a bit of a gimmick to be honest (but does have a bit of a wow factor when showing it off) and I would have liked it to have had a built in USB data cable to make it easier to get hold of the videos on a computer whilst out and about.

Despite the negatives this is a really good HD camera for the price. If I know I am going somewhere where I will be taking a video then I will deffo bring this camera as it is better than a smartphone or tablet.
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on 1 December 2014
bought this at knocked down price and have just claimed my £50 Sony cash back as well , arrived next day,great video quality and stabilisation, have shot some video at 1920x 1080p at 50fps,(outside) and I am impressed,not great indoors in lowlight but good enough,simple to use...happy
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on 26 August 2014
Brilliant Camera very good quality. The automatic setting needs to be set to manual for indoor use as the quality is less good than outdoor.. Very easy to use, the little projector is very useful and good quality. The sound is reasonable but you can purchase an external mic which improves the sound. I am very happy with this camera the only downside is that you DO NOT get a power adapter. This needs to be purchased as an additional item. The battery life is very good on this you get about 3 hours of use in a full charge however I do expect this to degrade after several use's throughout the years. I would also like to point out that you will not receive a memory card with this, this also needs to be purchased as an additional item.
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on 6 September 2014
Previous reviews show the PJ350 is a very good camcorder as indeed it is.
What a great shame that Sony themselves let it down by having such useless software-which you have to download online.
There's absolutely no details or instructions anywhere for this Play Memories Home. The instuction booklet for the camcorder is very poor.

All I get are error messages saying it has stopped working. I have been able to get around some of these problems but I keep heading into a deadend while trying to download the images into the computer.

Amazon, you should contact Sony and tell them of these problems. It seems impossible for the man in the street to make contact with Sony Support.
I'll never purchase another product.
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on 14 March 2015
I Bought this Sony HDR-PJ530E 'Handycam' in december 2014 and used it for the first time on our hols in tenerife in February and especially at 'Loro park' Fantastic Zoo there (it impressed my wife that I could show her the filming that day on the wall of our hotel room when we got back !)

When we got home I re-played filming via my panasonic 38' TV, I found it very easy to connect up with the lead supplied, the pictures and sound are of excellent quality, and even the touch screen controls easy to use .
Also the built in projector gives amazing quality pics on the right surfaces i.e. white walls or a door ! its very handy for quick re-play to check footage, Or to show friends !,

Also the 'Gimbled' - 'steadycam'- 'shakefree' effect of the lens system is very impressive, it gives a very smooth picture when zooming in and out and panning ect.

I bought this model not only for its quality of pictures and its versatility but that it had a 'hot shoe' so I could use a directional mike with it for 'tight' sound for 'Utube/Vimeo' clips, and also that 'Which' highly recommended it. there are many other features I have yet to try out like using the Wi-Fi function.

This is an excellent camera for its price, of course it does not have a viewfinder which I would of liked but thats another £200 !
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