Pros This camcorder is a solid bang for the buck! The HD is good (not great), the features are good (not great), the low light performance is actually very good, and the ease of use is very good...just point and shoot. The zoom lense is quite good!
Cons ALL the camcorders these days are too small and light. Makes it hard to hold the camera still and to see what you have in frame in the tiny LCD viewfinders. The microphone is sorta weak. Camera feature is barely passable.
Summary I bought it in a rush this weekend after barely reviewing the CNet ratings. But the Best Buy guy really pushed Sony. I was bound and determined not to do my usual over buying thing as i'm a casual camcorder user at BEST. I like taking stills with my SLR better than video...but I wanted something that would record pee wee tackle football this weekend in HD...without dropping $1,000.Update: The poor DVD rendering was supposed to be described as NOT a knock on this camcorder. Mostly just a fact of DVD resolution. (I omitted the word NOT in my original posting)
I literally charged the camera and learned to use it on the way to the game. My results: I pretty happy. I don't think it's going to wow a really video snob, but the HD output streamed to my 65 in plasma were really very good. I then spent an evening playing around with low light video around the house. Still pleased.
The Sony software is a little funny to use, but simple and effective in the end. You can burn DVDs from the tool complete with menus, but it's a very low end movie maker. I was able to use my Pinnacle Studio 11 to make nicer movies with these video files. Be warned though: DVDs are not High Definition. Your DVD of your new home movie will look disappointingly pixilated on any TV over 42 inches...much worse than a store bought DVD for some reason. (this is so much a knock on this camcorder...just a fact of DVD and video resolution).
The good news is that video streamed from the camera via the mini HDMI port (cable purchased separately) or disks crated using the Sony-provided AVCHD HD video movie maker were very good! (a DVD burned with these AVCHD files can be played on a PS3 and probably some other Blue Ray players and on computers with the right codec installed...but not on a regular DVD player.)
Bottom line I'll keep this camcorder and do recommend it to others looking for HD on a budget.
Updated on Oct 5, 2010
Pros In Singapore, this is one of the cheapest Full HD video camera in the Sony range. This handy camera was showing the best recorded HD quality on a 52 inch monitor against similar priced Panasonic and Canon Full HD video cameras.
Cons The Canon had a nicer LCD viewfinder than the Sony. Instructions manual not as good as Panasonic's.
Summary If you judge a video camera by the recorded quality results only, then this Sony HDR-CX150 is real winner!! Some video cameras seemed to have very sharp LCD viewfinders giving the impression that it is equally great when recording but this is not true at all. Many video cameras especially the non HD video cameras are built this way but when is connected to especially to large plasma or lcd tv monitors, one can certainly see the blurring and slight pixelation particularly on 37 inch or larger. This is where video cameras such as the Sony HDR-CX150 and other genuine full HD video cameras come in and blow the lesser ones away. This is a genuine' best buy' for me in a long time.
Summary I bought this camera in April at BestBuy, I used it during the first three months and it worked fine, after a month and half without using it, it did not work. It had an error message "E:61.00", something like that; and it did not focus any object. I contacted Sony and they told me to perform some "reset' on the camera, it did not work. They said I had to send it to Laredo, Texas for repair. Something I refused because I bought a new camera, not a disposable o refurbished one. I went to BestBuy and they told me the same thing and besides that I going to be charged for the labor costs to fix the camera: Sony Limited Warranty. Too bad for BestBuy because I would consider to buy my electronics products somewhere else. Back to the camera, I can not understand how a new product is unusable after 5 months. I never bought a Sony product because they were so "proprietary", only Sony cables/products could be connected to each other. I regret I bought this camera. Evaluate JVC and PANASONIC, they have better quality, at least they have worked for me for more than three years.
Pros GREAT video quality in both SD and HD. Easy to use, light weight, software works great with my Dell and windows 7!! VERY HAPPY!!!
Cons Pictures are useless and it takes some time to get use to holding it with the thin hand strap.
Summary After three months of researching between Canon and Sony, then asking questions on cnet forums. I'm glad I waited for the new Sony's to come out. Even though the editor reviews aren't out yet on this camcorder. I'm VERY happy with the camcorder so far. I think I've used it everyday since it came in mail. The camcorder is light weight but with the sleek design your finger really have nothing to grip. It takes a while to find the best way to hold and operate with out shaking it. The hand strap is thin and it doesn't give stability. You can't change the options for balance and exposure that fast but I don't really mind.
My primary use for this product will be film my baby as she grows up. Also, I have 7 nieces that I need to chase around the park.
I knew I wanted a camcorder that had HD, a good zoom and a good lens. I would've preferred optical image stabilizer but the electronic steady shot on this camcorder works great. With Sony's ability to film in SD and HD, I'm able to make Dvd's for the families that don't have blu ray players. The video quality is great!
The first night out I had to film a birthday bash in a low light restaurant. I started filming in HD, NO PROBLEMS! The video wasn't grainy, or dark with shadows. The camcorder has face detection, so it made sure every one was seen. The pictures weren't great but I have a Nikon D40 that takes care of that.
All in all, I'm glad I got this one and not another one in Sony's line. I know I'll be able to have it for years and by then it will pay for itself!
Pros Almost too light, this camcorder is great for soccer games, casual wedding videos, school events. With easy set up and use, this is sure to please most any casual user. Good battery life and allows Standard Definition Playback.
Cons Only 16 Gigs of storage for video. Record/Zoom buttons not good for large hands. Mic performs poorly in windy conditions. Does NOT come with mini-HDMI cable or "starter" SD card. No viewfinder. No Apple/Mac Software. No separate charge cradle.
Summary Overall, this camcorder will please the casual user. From the camcorder, you can still playback in Standard Def which is still important given a large population of standard def TV's out there. Of course playback in 1080i HD, (of course since this is a 1080HD output camcorder).
Do NOT consider this camera for its manual settings capability, because you will be disappointed. The time it takes to set it up manually, you would miss the shot you are trying to achieve. Enjoy it in "auto" mode, and enjoy a good compromise of image quality and personal event enjoyment. For those of us who do the video/photography, you know what I mean. We spend more time/effort trying to capture the event, than we do, enjoying the event. For example, you can manually focus a shot, you will miss the shot trying to wade through the menu to set it. The point is, there is NO physical manual focus ring. It's done by touching the LCD screen. Also there is no provision for external microphone, or flash, that I'm aware of (still learning the camera)
The HDR-CX150 is great for family events, such as outdoor sporting, camping, etc., or for indoor school plays, as long as the lighting is reasonably good and you shoot in "auto". Low-light performance is not the best, but acceptable in most situations. The controls are not large-hand friendly, making it difficult to activate the record and zoom controls!
At this point, weight is a non-issue, with camcorders barely 8-12 oz. As a matter of fact, now they are too light, and maintaining shake, is just as hard whilst holding the camera up for shooting. We are now at a point that arm-ache comes from holding the camera in a certain position, and Not from weight. The auto-focus can lag a bit on transition shots, and this can be a nuisance. There are no short-cut buttons for the most-used features of a camcorder, such as manual focus, white balance, iris control and the like.
The on-board memory (16 gig) is Too Small.
Also, the fact that Sony refuses to support Mac Software, may sway me away from keeping it, unless I can find a software solution.
Sony does not supply a charge cradle for the battery, a big disappointment, as you cannot have a spare battery on a charger, while using the camera. (I would assume Sony sells a charge cradle?) Out of the box however, you must charge all of your batteries, when the camera is not being used.
The supplied battery seems to do a good job, and provided several hours (about 3) of initial use.
What you get in the box:
Component (RGB) Cable
Composite (Yellow, Red, White) Cable
Battery and power supply cable.. (battery must be charged ON the camera)
Sony (Windows ONLY) VIdeo Software.
Nice (almost required) additions would have been a Separate Battery Charger, HDMI cable, MAC software, carrying pouch, and lens cleaning supplies.
Overall, I would recommend this for the family that wants to capture family memories in HD, as long as they realize there are limitations in control, and limitations in video quality.
I would highly NOT recommend this for the enthusiast, or pro user, for obvious reasons.