The GPS seems to work much better than the last similar model I tested, last year's CX550V. Though it faced the typical signal problems posed by NYC's buildings, it did obtain a lock more frequently (last time it failed unless I sat in an open area for 20 minutes) and a lot more quickly. However, there are still no geotagging metadata standards for video, so you're restricted to in-camcorder geographical organization for playback and whatever tools the bundled Picture Motion Browser software supplies. And that means the video geotagging is useless on the Mac (since PMB isn't supported).
Though brown isn't the first color I'd choose for a camcorder, the CX360V's matte plastic body looks attractive and feels comfortable and well-built. It's not tiny, but it's reasonably small given its capabilities. The large microphone underneath the lens supports 5.1-channel recording, though given the mic's placement, surround sound is moot. If you want to use that, you really should get an add-on mic for the accessory shoe. There's also an LED video light on the front of the camcorder, but be careful about pointing that at a person's eyes.
Inside the LCD enclosure the CX360V includes headphone, mic, HDMI and USB connectors, while the AC jack and composite video output are under a hatch beneath the grip strap. There's also a short, captive USB cable that tucks into the strap for added convenience; you can use it to charge the battery.
|Panasonic HDC-TM90/SD90||Sony Handycam HDR-CX360V||Canon Vixia HF M400/M40/M41|
|Sensor (effective video resolution)||2.6-megapixel CMOS||2.65-megapixel Exmor R||2.07-megapixel HD CMOS Pro|
28 - 729mm
|Closest focus (inches)||n/a||0.4||0.4|
|Min illumination (lux)||standard: 1400 |
low light: 4
Color Night View: 1
|recommended: n/a |
low light: 3
|recommended: n/a |
low light: 0.1
|LCD||3-inch 230,400 dots||3-inch 230,000 pixels||3-inch 230,000 pixels|
|Primary media||16GB/0GB flash; SDXC||32GB internal; 1 x SDXC||0/16/32GB internal; 2 x SDXC|
|HD recording||AVCHD: 1080/60p 28Mbps; |
1080/60i @ 17, 13, 9 ,5 Mbps
|AVCHD: 1080/60p @ 28 Mbps; 1080/60i/24p @ 24,17 Mbps; 1440 x 1080/60i @ 9, 5 Mbps||AVCHD: 1080/60i/24p @ 24,17 Mbps; 1440 x 1080/60i @ 12, 7, 5 Mbps|
|Manual shutter speed||Yes||No||Yes|
|Audio||2 channels||5.1 channels; mic and headphone jacks||5.1 channels; mic and headphone jacks|
|Body dimensions (WHD, inches)||2.0 x 2.5 x 4.7||2.4 x 2.6 x 5.1||2.9 x 2.8 x 5.2/ 2.9 x 2.8 x 5.2/ 2.9 x 2.8 x 5.4|
|Operating weight (pounds)||10.1 (est)||13.1 (est)||14.5/14.5/14.8 (est)|
|Mfr. Price||$539.99/$494.99||$799.99||$649.99/$699.99/ $799.99|
|Ship date||March 2011||March 2011||March 2011|
Except for zooming, snapping photos, and switching between video and photo modes, as well as power, playback and the video light, the camcorder's operation is touch-screen driven. Though it doesn't offer many truly manual controls, including shutter speed and aperture, it does provide the usual touch-screen-facilitated options such as touch focus and touch spot meter. Unfortunately, they're in the menu system, which is straightforward to navigate but just a little too cramped on the smallish LCD, and it takes too long to get to them when you need to.
And while I recommend shooting in 60p (as opposed to 60i), you have to go through three warning screens, which is really annoying. That's because 60p support was nonstandard when the camcorder was released, but is now standard under the recently announced AVCHD 2.0 spec. A firmware update to get rid of that would be mighty nice.
The relatively high-quality stereo speakers are a nice touch for users who like to share via in-camcorder playback.
The Sony Handycam HDR-CX360V is a competent, attractive camcorder with some unusual features like stereo speakers and geotagging. But it's also pretty expensive compared to competitors which offer manual controls and possibly better video quality.
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