"A fine device, definitely better than CNet says"3.5 starson by jrt-thx
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