Top critical review
85 people found this helpful
Useful camcorder, but by no means perfect
on 22 June 2012
I took this camcorder on a 2-week trip to Japan where I hoped to film some street scenes and the parades at Tokyo Disneyland. In the end, I used my Canon S95 to shoot the most videos, with far better results.
It's not a bad camcorder, but could be so much better.
Firstly the good:
Very simple to use. 6 physical buttons for stop/start, zoom, photo, mode (switch from video to photo and back), playback and power. The power is slightly redundant as it powers up when you flip the screen out and shuts down then you close it again. I found the position of the stop/start and zoom ok, but big hands will have to bend fingers too much to work comfortably.
Excellent zoom. If on a safari, you should get cracking close-ups. more reach than my S95
Lightweight. Easy to hold for extended periods without too much fatigue. Standard tripod screw is fitted.
Built-in USB. This is a brilliant idea as you can use it to sync and charge from a computer or a USB charger. There is an extension lead supplied but I found the connectors too lose. My Amazon Basics lead was of a much higher quality.
Image quality as fine in daylight, but at night I found it hunted to lock onto the parade floats and the signs in Shinjuku. There are some bad points too with the quality.
Feels flimsy. While lightweight, the plastic does feel cheap and creaks when pressed lightly. I suspect a heavy knock will break it.
Image quality can let it down. Colours can look washed out ans when zoomed in, the focus can be slow, especially when there is poor contrast.
For me, there are what mean it gets only 3 stars.
Video files. The box proudly announces "works with iMovie. In reality it should read "barely works with iMovie". I found the importing painfully slow and any form of editing causes my MacBook Pro (i5 2.3ghz with 8gb or RAM) to go to 100% cpu and the fan to hit full speed. Secondly, you cannot import video onto an iPad as it's not recognised and won't appear. S95, imports no problem.
Battery (and this is the real kicker for me). Anyone who buys electronics these days will know how the manufacturers love to upsell accessories like spare batteries. Normally the manual comes with dire warnings of what can happen if you use anything than their own make. Users generally ignore this and buy 3rd-party batteries, saving ££££'s with no ill-effect. Seeing as I would be away from the hotel for hours at a time, I bought 2 spare batteries for £25 the pair (Sony own, £80 each). All charged up and fitted, I was ready to go. Turned camcorder on, pressed record and all was well. Well for 4 seconds. Then a message popped up on the screen announcing "For use with compatible battery only" and the camcorder shuts down. Change to original battery, no issues.
I understand that Sony want to sell their own batteries, but to force a shutdown because it's not their battery is, in my view, punitive and petty. Fine, pop a warning up that could say "For best results, use Sony original battery" but let you carry on. Not a way to win customers and something every prospective buyer should be aware of.