Pros See the description below
Cons See the description below
Summary This is what is written on the www.camcorderinfo.com review:
Sony camcorders with the 1/3” ClearVID CMOS typically performed very well in low light. Imagine our disappointment, albeit unsurprised disappointment, that HDR-HC7 performed so much worse than last year’s HDR-HC3. The reason is simple, but one that we see frequently repeated in cameras and camcorders. The Sony HC3 had a 1/3” CMOS with 2,103,000 pixels; the HC7 has a 1/2.9” CMOS with 3,200,000 pixels. When a manufacturer boosts the number of pixels on the same surface area (or in this case, an infinitesimally larger surface area), those pixels have to shrink. Smaller pixels mean a reduced ability to collect light. This is practically a golden rule of optics (though we've already seen the low-end Canon ZR850 (Review, Specs, Recent News, $265) buck that trend). While the overall resolution is increased (and boy, does that look good on the bullet point specs at Best Buy!), low light performance and color performance go down, and noise goes up.
At 60 lux, the HDR-HC7 looked considerably worse than the HC3, which was among the best low light performers of last year. We’re crushed to see Sony sacrificing something as crucial as low light for a boost in resolution. The picture was very grainy, and the colors had been compromised considerably. We ran the test over several times just to make sure we weren’t missing something. Sure enough, the difference in quality is evident. At 15 lux, the HC7 tried valiantly to retain some color, but the noise levels are tremendous.
The Sony HDR-HC5 ($1099 MSRP) is the next step down from the HDR-HC7 (Review, Specs, Recent News, $1128.56). It loses out on a lot of features, like the manual focus wheel and mic and headphone jacks. The HC5 must also cope with the fact that it has a slightly smaller 1/3” imager that produces 2100K gross pixels vs. the 1/2.9” chip found on the HC7, cranking out 3200K gross pixels. This may actually aid it in low light performance, though. We’ll have that review soon. Both camcorders share the 2.7” LCD panel, 10x optical zoom, and rugged body construction. The other major element is price. For $300 more, the HC7 gives you the higher res imager (which we saw produce terrible low light performance), mic and headphone jacks, and manual focus wheel. Are those truly worth three additional Benjamins? The real test won’t be known until we can get a unit in our labs. But if last year’s camcorders have anything to say about it, the HC5 might actually be the better buy.
Pros amazing hd video in proper lighting, still very good in less than perfect conditions, premium minidv tapes are an excellent media, decent stills, decent manual functions
Cons auto exposure not the greatest (blown pixels in lowlight), decent manual functions via on screen menus, digital stabilization could be better
Summary I consider myself to pretty much be a prosumer, not a quite novice but definitely not a professional. This camcorder fit my needs just perfectly. The video quality in good to perfect lighting conditions is simply stunning. Looks sharper and more vivid than broadcast HD and even cable HD television in some cases. Like all digital camcorders, it does suffer in lower light conditions with a reasonable degree of noise. That could be slightly remedied through messing with the manual settings (via the not so easy on screen menus). But that's a reasonable trade off for the cost. Also got the Sony $30 3- watt lamp, which does help.
Video is easily edited on my intel iMac, putting on dvd is another question. What I've been doing is encoding to various formats (i.e. h.264 at high bit rates)in order to retain a good degree of HDness while still fitting on a DVD. Overall, a great way to enter in the world of HD Video.
"Awesome Images"on by speedy5151
Pros Near professional quality video and stills in strong light
Cons No separate controls for manual image adjustments ie; focus
Summary Awesome picture quality. My only real complaint is thatthere is no manual focus dial/button/ring. I discovered that this cameras sensors are at times too precise. What I mean is that in some instances the camera will focus on objects other than the subject. For example, shooting through the window of a moving vehicle. The camera focused on my reflection rather than the outside view. The same thing occured while I was capturing footage at a zoo. The camera would focus on the bars of the cage instead of the animal.
For the reason listed above, I've decided to take mine back and exchange it for the next model up the HDR-HC7 which has a manual dial which can be programmed for various image control.
Pros Unbelievable video viewing quality on a 1080p television. Also, video captured in HD mode to computer was excellent quality. Photos in HD mode(3 mp) and standard mode (4 mp) both impressed me. Also, photo prints came out very very good.
Cons Working with menu was little difficult as my fingers are fat.
Summary If you change default configuration to record in X.V Color, the image came out crystal clear with vivid colors. Unbelievable viewing quality on a 1080p television. In a very low light condition also, it captured excellent colors. Video quality through HDMI output to TV amazed me.
Also, captured video in HD mode to computer and the quality was excellent. Normal photo shoot on HD mode (3 mp) and standard mode (4 mp) both impressed me. When I ordered prints they came out to be ultimate.
One tip: You do not need to take photos while capturing video. Firs, capture video normally and at home while playing the video, using your remote, click on the photo button. It captures photo of the playing video. Better option is, pause the video at a point you want to take a picture and click on photo button on your remote. Man, people stunned at the photos I have captured :). They were all captured from a recorded video while playing it on my tv.
Pros compatable baby
Cons none that i can see yet
Summary if you have a intel mac (not sure about g5 or older) it works like a charm... only tested it on imovie hd ...
one word... stunning... kudos sony