2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent camcorder with superb picture quality..., 23 July 2012
The Sony CX570E is classed as a premium camcorder, and for the price, it does offer great value for money (£50 cash back willing), but only if you need the added extras, which include 3.5mm mini-jacks (external microphone / headphones). I bought this camera because it was within my price range and the picture quality was reported as being exceptional. I had considered buying a video enabled DSLR, which would have produced better results, but I wasn't happy with the limited range available for under £450.
Firstly, the build quality of the Sony CX570E is superb. I would even go as far as to say the CX570E is beautifully designed. Yes, the body is plastic, but what isn't these days? The camera is small, but not too small. That said, the grip belt (hand strap) is too small, even for medium-sized hands. You can loosen the strap, but not by much. Personally, I'm planning on buying some form of pistol grip.
Now down to business; the picture quality is superb, even in low light. Video can be recorded in 50i, 50p and 25p.
While both manual exposure and focusing are available, you cannot set your own shutter speed or iris f-stop. That's a problem if you're trying to create film-look, something that is more easily achieved with a DSLR. The camera does shoot 25p (25 frames per second) and has a cinematone setting, but the effect is slight. To create a more realistic film-look appearance you will need additional editing software, like Magic Bullet Looks, which works with Final Cut Pro and Premier.
Unlike the Sony CX580 (which comes with inbuilt memory), the CX570 doesn't come with GPS. That's not a problem. I won't miss it, but what I might miss is Night Shot. It's missing on the CX570E. You might not need it, but on previous cameras I`ve used, it proved useful.
The Sony CX570E does come with a 26.8mm lens. This is extremely useful and welcome. I'm hoping to make a few short documentary films, in the style of Direct Cinema or Cinéma Vérité (no interviews, no direction, no intervention, no narration). This camera is ideally suited. It's small and has everything one needs for this genre of low-cost film-making.
What's wrong with this camera? Not much!!! Yes, I could have done with manual shutter/iris control, while Night Shot would have also proved useful. The biggest issue is the Active Interface Shoe (Sony's own accessory hot shoe). This means you are limited to Sony's own brand of external microphones, or you can buy an adapter.
One design flaw is perhaps the positioning of both external microphone and headphone sockets. Both are hidden behind the large 3in LCD screen. This means you have to manually reconnect the external microphone/headphones every time you switch on your camcorder, which is achieved by opening the LCD screen. I would have positioned these sockets elsewhere on the camcorder, so you can keep any external microphone fixed to the camera and ready to roll.
If you go with a Sony brand microphone, you are limited to one or two models, which aren't brilliant (ECM-HGZ1 included). The Sony CX570E comes with 5.1 surround sound, while most external microphones are mono. On the subject of the CX570E's inbuilt microphone, it is slightly obscured by the lens hood, but it's not a problem.
One microphone which comes highly recommended is the Sony ECM-CG1, which sadly has been discontinued (I`m currently awaiting a reply from Sony in Latvia, who still have the product listed on their local website). You could always buy an adapter and a third-party microphone like the Rode VideoMic Pro...
Back to the camcorder; the menu is extremely intuitive and easy to follow. Auto focus is a dream and the camera is almost silent, but not quite, and that's puzzling. The CX570E is a solid state camera. Although it records to a memory card, apart from the zoom motor, the camera should be 100% silent, but it isn't! I wonder why? Perhaps buried deep inside is a small fan to keep the processor cool? That said, you have to hold the camera to your ear...
I love my new camera. In the past I've used Video 8, VHS, Hi8, DV, DVCAM, DVCPRO, Betacam and even 16mm, and now I'm heading towards the exciting world of AVCHD. If you only have £450 and need a decent camcorder, then I highly recommend this camera.
UPDATE (31st July 2012)
Having played with the camera for over a week now, I thought I'd comment on one or two issues. Firstly, the slow motion effect isn't that good. The quality is more standard definition that HD, and I would even go as far as to say the quality is more VHS than DV. However, overall the picture quality is brilliant, except in low light. No problems uploading footage or in charging the battery. I'm still glad I bought the camera.