Having several camcorders ranging from SD MiniDV through DVD to SD card based my search for a true 1080 HD device led me in an unexpected direction once I'd seen the HDR-TG7VE. Although there are a number of 1080 HD camcorders available now, I ruled out HDD based camcorders as well as any any disc based immediately due to their fragile nature (especially with children). Additionally the inclusion of GPS has gone from novelty to necessity as my video and photo library grows and AVCHD is the preferred codec base. Whilst Sony was not at the top of my list originally due to the use of memory stick, the feature set of the HDR-TG7VE kept it in the running and ultimately I found myself purchasing one along with a 16GB Pro Duo HX memory stick.
After two weeks of heavy use on holiday there's no doubt that this is absolutely a brilliant piece of equipment with nothing significant in the way of faults. Switching it to Full HD mode with GPS and the Zoom Microphone function enabled we have been awed by the quality of not just the video, but also the sound and the brilliant "smile" detection. The colour reproduction and detail in the video, even in low light conditions, is simply extraordinary and watching photos and videos on an HD screen is like watching it again in real life.
The sound as well is amazing: Filming from the opposite end of the swimming pool I zoomed in on one of the kids as they threw their goggles in to dive and retrieve them - you don't hear the people between us however you hear the clear, precise sound of the goggles hitting the water and the splash of my daughter following them thereafter. Very impressive.
The photos it takes in photo mode are more than passable but better still are the photos it takes automatically when someone smiles whilst videoing; you find that not only do you have fantastic video at the end of the day but also a collection of brilliant photographs to go with them.
Whilst not a fan of Sony's software, they have improved dramatially and their PMB application is actually a reasonably well done package, transferring video from the device over, picking faces and scenes out so that you can hone in on specific clips, and allowing you to easily transcode it to different formats, record to DVD, BluRay, etc.
The diminutive size of this device coupled with it's rapid on/off and brilliant built-in screen have seen it used by everyone in the family including the children, who find the thumb operated start/stop Wide/Telephoto controls not only intuitive but simple to use.
This is simply a briliant piece of equipment that you can carry everywhere, get great videos and photos, as well as know WHERE you took them (the GPS is incredibly accurate and pinpointed our location even in small side-streets). I'd recommend you set it to full HQ HD, which will reduce your overall video time from 6 to just under 2 hours, however this matches the battery life fully and the quality beggars belief.
This is the best consumer camcorder I have used to date and the quality rivals that of much more expensive prosumer models. You will not be sorry if you pick it up and you'll love the memories you capture with it (especially since you can carry it non-intrusively).
97 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?