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266 of 273 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Sony HDR-CX280e camcorder turned out to be just the right camera for me. Being much more from the still DSLR digital camera background as a former professional and now enthusiast photographer, I would not pretend to be a great videographer and could honestly admit to only using a real video camera half a dozen times or so in my whole life hitherto. The arrival of baby Thomas changed all that. I did take some very good videos with my Canon DSLR but I needed something altogether more compact and dedicated to the task.
The little Sony is very light and ideal for travel. It really is palm-sized and simplicity itself to use. There are very few hard controls, most of the set up and management is software driven via the menu on the flip-out LCD screen. Opening the screen turns on the camera, which immediately gives you a Live View and then there is as just a zoom toggle switch, a still frame capture button and a record stop / start button in terms of finger controls. In that sense the camera can be used straight from the box (aside from inserting a SD memory card - not supplied, of course) though when you start for the very first time, you need to go through the typical language and region and date / time set up screens. There is also a `pull out' USB 2 connector lead next to the grip which can be plugged into your computer to transfer across files and also as a back-up charger (the battery is charged on-camera - see below). Other than that, there is just a connector slot for the battery charger and one for a mini USB multi-connector, both covered by a single, shared fiddly plastic cover. Underneath the screen there is a separate socket for a mini HDMI connector. The only other control of any description is the slide switch which opens and closes the iris shutter to protect the lens - no small lens cap to lose, thankfully. The lens is Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar and optical quality seems to be as you would expect of this quality marque. Build quality is good - good enough for everyday use - though I wouldn't go mountaineering or white water rafting with it!
In terms of features and functionality the camera is pretty much idiot-proof but for the intended market it offers excellent bangs-for-bucks and must be very good value in the grand scheme of things. There is a 50x extended digital zoom (I shut this off and relied on the built in optical zoom and stabilisation), a stereo microphone that works well enough and doesn't pic up any system sound - the camcorder is completely silent in operation, a standard ¼" female tripod bush on the base and the usual wrap-around leatherette palm grip. File (quality) selection gives the option of AVC HD FX file format, with FH, HQ and LP versions giving progressively longer record times but poorer quality. MPEG4 format (non-HD) can also be used for recording. There are a good range of features buried in the menu, like HT TV set up for playback (e.g. 4:3 or 16:9, etc), editing and highlight functions. Manual override is available for things like exposure, low lux, white balance, etc but I left these alone, as I am sure most users will.
Using the camera is a breeze. There is face recognition functionality that focusses on faces automatically and generally the optical and autofocus system is very good. The optical stabilisation works very well and resulting playback quality is excellent, viewed either on the built in LCD screen or when connected to a full-sized TV. My friend who works in media says the files are near-broadcast quality - though I am sure the functionality of the camera would be laughable for a professional, it certainly provides good-enough quality for me. Low light images are commendable noise-free.
As other reviewers have commented, the battery supplied is a stingy 500mAh one, giving barely an hour's recording on HD, so my first task was to buy a spare battery. A genuine Sony 980mAh higher capacity one was less than £20, so a good investment. This gives about 2.5 to 3 hours of use. There are also several others available with even higher capacity but the penalty is a more bulbous lump sticking out of the back of the camera, I guess. Batteries are charged on-camera using the USB connector (slower) or the dedicated supplied Sony charger (faster). I find charging on-camera a faff, so my second purchase was an after-market travel charger that allows the spare battery to be charged off-camera. My third purchase was the bespoke Sony camcorder case.
You'll need to buy an SD card for recording images - or poach one from one of your other devices. There are three main things to consider. Firstly, the brand. I would advise keeping to SanDisk, Lexar or similar. Mainstream manufacturers make the best quality cards that are least likely to get corrupted. There are also a lot of forgeries online, so beware. Buy direct from Amazon or one of the reputable Marketplace retailers (etc). Secondly, you need to consider the card capacity. Most SD cards these days are of the SD HC (high capacity type) and given their relative cheapness, buy at least 16GB - this size gives about 1.5 hours of recording at highest quality on the Sony. Lastly, you need to consider the write-speed. Don't look at confusing terms like 144x (etc) - look for absolute write speed, like `30mbs' of '45 mbs' (mega-bytes per second). 30mbs should be enough but 45mbs is better given the Sony's HD file size output. Avoid cheap card bargains or slower versions of the mainstream manufacturers' cards, as they often have a slow write speed and are not suitable for video recording. There'll be a bottleneck in recording and you may get drop-outs as the camera cannot write to the card quick enough. I didn't have this problem with a SanDisk 45mbs card Extreme 3 version, which can be bought for a very good price online. Finally, remember that the cards should be used for temporary storage only - back up every day - don't leave the SD card as the sole repository for your work or you'll regret it. I used an external card reader rather than connecting the camera to the computer.
The instruction manual is quite poor. The written English is fine but there is very little in the way of in-depth information - it doesn't tell you much that can't be worked out from the onscreen menu. I would have preferred some more technical discussion of file types and pros and cons but I guess Sony don't think this is important for the intended user.
Software. There is no CD supplied with the device, you need to go online and download Sony Play Memories software. I also got a PDF version of the instruction manual. The software is really for the `home user' and I found it frustratingly simplistic. I used Adobe Photoshop Elements and found this much more useful and I was able to splice together and edit videos easily and output in many file formats.
In conclusion, the HDR-CX280e (the `e' denotes external storage - i.e. the SD card rather than internal memory storage) is a fine piece of engineering and I would recommend it strongly for non-professional use or for a first foray into videography.
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2013
Bought this camera for recording flights and at airshows. Easy to set up, get battery charged etc. You have a choice of 720i/p or 1080i or p. Stick with 1080p. It also auto sets if you have a HD TV. Sound is Dolby Digital 2.0. The zoom is fantastic and gets real close, the lens is excellent, the clarity of the picture is something else. One of the best Handycam's I have bought. Would highly recommend. It is easy to use. With a 16gb SD card you will get about 1hr 30mins of HD recordings. The battery lasts about 2 hours, so I bought another one for £19.99 on amazon as a back up. There are test videos on youtube for this camcorder, and I would recommend you check these out, this will show you how good the camcorder is. Also there is no noise when you zoom in and out which is excellent. Again the sound is superb as well.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2013
Great little camcorder!!!. What a really like about it: it's small and light, not to many buttons and functions to operate. It's HD, and can take photos as well up to 8Mb. The battery life appears to be up to 1,5 hours, and i kept the camcorder on charging for about 20 mins. Delivery was very quick, it actualy came a day earlier.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 May 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Sony seem to have launched a rather large range of Handycam's with some only having very small differences e.g. Steadyshot and different zoom ranges and auto lens cover.

Reading the manual some may not even include a charger (all models charge via the USB connection or via a dedicated charger).

This version includes a charger has optical steadyshot, zoom up to 50x (using digital zoom for higher range which degrades the picture) and a manual lever to open/close the lens cover and stereo sound (non touch screen LCD).

Camera is lightweight, easy to hold in right hand, the non touch screen viewfinder screen is clear and the menus are fairly easy to navigate with a four way joystick control with push to select.

Like all the other models it uses Sony's playmemories software and the camera has a small amount of internal memory which when linked to your computer mounts as a drive letter. This has links on it to install the software from their website (I use windows but there also appears to be mac support).

I fitted my camera with a 32Gb SDHC Class 10 memory card which just slots in underneath the camera.

No problems in operation but I have found the still photo button on top of the camera is sticky and tends to take two photos when you operate it.

Zoom is smooth and the camera does a good job of recording the audio with no noticeable camera noise.

It does not come with a carrying case but the Sony Ultra Compact Case for Handycam - Black does the job.

Bad points (all minor)
Manual lens cover (still at least it wont go wrong)
Still photo button sticky (hopefully just on my one)
Comes with a male to female USB cable typically needed to connect to it your PC as the inbuilt USB lead in the camera is quite short.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2013
This camera is easy to handle and light to carry. It takes a good movie and would recommend anyone to buy it
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm going to start with a comparison, because Amazon reckons the CX280E is the new version of the CX250E and I happen to have access to a CX250E.

Checking the specs, the CX280E is inferior in several ways, notably 2.7" non-touch LCD vs. 3" touch, which I'll return to below. It also lacks tracking focus, golf shot and a mic input socket, but few casual users will miss those. The only thing that did irritate me was the manually-operated lens cover. On the other hand, it retains all the most valuable features, such as face detection, and has the benefits of lower weight and price.

I shot a lot of comparison footage and found it hard to detect any significant difference between the two models on picture quality, stabilisation or sound quality. When it came to usability, the smaller LCD of the CX280E made it slightly harder to see and review what was being shot. Against that, to my surprise, I preferred the CX280E's joystick to the CX250E's touch-screen controls (prod-screen would be more accurate). The joystick is very intuitive in use and much more positive and responsive. It was very easy to set the machine up and start using it without reference to the manual.

The CX280E's low weight, ease of use and high-quality footage make it a great buy as a snapshot camcorder. It's a perfect machine to keep on the side, for grabbing shots of children or pets when they decide to `perform', but it's also very portable and will do a good job when you want to capture planned events. If it hits your price point, don't hesitate to buy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been a user of Sony camcorders for a few years now and use them for vlogging and other activities, I generally opt for the entry level models as they now shoot full HD video and generally do a pretty good job for what I need.

The Sony CX280 is pretty similar to my last Sony both in looks and features. It's well built and feels solid, unlike other brands of camcorders I've tried which feel light, plasticy and cheap. It has all the features most people could want such as a wide angle lens, image stabilisation, decent zoom, good low light shooting and it captures full HD video at 50p if you need it. Using the camcorder is relatively easy and I like the way the menus are laid out and every is easy to find and operate, coming from a previous Sony model it was virtually identical so was easy to use straight out of the box. The video it captures is great for most people and the 1080P footage I've been getting looks brilliant, I've been able to import and edit it in Final Cut Pro X on the Mac without any issues. Most of my shooting is done indoors and with the various options built into the camcorder I'm able to get a nice bright, clear image. Battery life is about average and what I would expect from the included battery, although you can buy batteries with a larger capacity if needed.

There are two areas that let me down slightly with this camera, one is the wide angle lens, whilst fine for most things and for most people I couldn't help but need it a little wider. I tried a Panasonic several months back and the entry level model I tested had a wider lens than the Sony and something I appreciated. The second issue is with the flip out screen, in my older entry level Sony it had a 3 inch touch screen, with the newer models they seem to have opted for a 2.7 inch screen with controls for navigating the menus. Small issues I know but the screen was an issue for me having gotten so used to a larger touch screen on my two year old entry level model. I don't know why they've opted to downgrade this part of the camera, to keep costs down I would assume.

A great camera overall and ideal for most people's needs if you need a point and shoot camcorder that captures great full HD video in any situation. It doesn't cost the earth and for an entry level camcorder it has a lot of features that many will find useful. 4 stars from me due to the above mentioned issues, but if Sony could go back to a larger touch screen on their entry level models then I'd give it 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2014
This device produces excellent quality pictures in true "HD" and is relatively easy to operate in the field. With a 32mb card you can get 2 hours or so of recording. The HD pictures can be played back on a TV using the "HMD" input and will not disappoint.
However there are some issues I should like to point out ;
(i) The battery supplied does not have a great life span on one charge and you will need to upgrade to a higher capacity one.
(ii) The printed guide supplied is a joke and the one I got seemed to relate to some other model which had a touch screen (not present on the CX280 !) Why is it that so many guides are rubbish these days ?
(iii) Given the lack of info in the printed guide, I had to find out by trial and error how to operate the menu. In "Playback" you have to access the options via the usual OK button surrounded by 4 direction buttons. However, these buttons are so sensitive the slightest "over-pressure" causes the cursor to jump several place, so you need a light touch. In addition the cursor seems to move in the opposite direction I would expect, so that the "TOP" button makes the cursor move down and the bottom button moves it up and the right and left ones also work in the opposite way you would expect.
(iv) The first time I used the recorder I had several clips from a couple of dates I wished to play back and it took me ages to work out how to select the correct clip mainly by trial and error as, once again the handbook proved irrelevant to my model and utterly useless !!
(v) Do not expect to be able to RECORD in HD to a DVD disc using a DVD recorder. This is not possible with any device as conventional discs do not have the capacity for HD recordings. Given this, why don't Sony provide a lead to connect to a DVD Recorder with the conventional Red/Black/Yellow input plugs, so that one can record video (Albeit not in HD but in the next acceptable format ?) Again I had to buy one of these in addition to the higher capacity battery. Incidentally if you wish to continue to play your HD clips through your TV the only conceivable way seems to be to retain what you have recorded on the memory card and, when that is full, get a new blank- expensive as this may be.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2013
While the camera does have many options you can tinker with when browsing the menus, it is still fairly idiot proof and very easy to use out of the box. Just charge the battery, pop in a memory card and start recording. I don't consider the lack of internal memory or a bundled SD card to be a problem as other people have mentioned. Most still cameras don't have this and pre-digital cameras had no equivalent either. The only thing worth noting is that when you buy an SD card, make sure it is class 6 or higher or it may struggle to cope with the speed of recording HD video.

One nifty function of the camera is the ability to take still photos either during video recording or as a separate function. I don't think the quality of the photos is truly 8.9MP as I had an 8MP DSLR camera eight years ago and if you went by numbers alone, the CX220 should be better but when viewing pictures full size on a computer they appear slightly grainy. When shrunk down so they fit the screen the quality is fine and the quality doesn't bother me anyway as this is more of a bonus rather than a primary function of the camera.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2014
After reading many reviews, as I needed to upgrade from mini DV to HD, this was one the one I picked, and glad I did. It is a fantastic piece of equipment. The quality is second to none, I run it via HDMI through the TV and going from mini DV tape quality to HD is incredible. The quality when used in poor light is also brilliant, I have perhaps been so used to tape quality, and I am still in honeymoon period, but for the price, I would certainly recommend this to anyone. I am not a serious film maker, and only use it for family holidays and birthdays etc, but you will not be disappointed with this piece of kit.
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