Pros Excellent HD or STD video, ease of operation, great stills, easy to carry around! 5.1 DD, See below for full details.
Cons No wind filter, proprietary software, not true 1080p, factory battery short life, no HDMI cable w/purchase.
Summary Spectacular camera! Replacing 10 yr. old Sony MiniDV camera that finally took a dive. Placed this on backorder after researching HD camcorders for months. Recently took a trip to Branson Missouri and was amazed with picture quality. Went to a tobyMac concert took pictures. Great quality at 10.2 MP, easy to use even my wife can navigate which was important to the purchase. The ease of operation is amazing between movie and picture with a simple thumb move on the control. Patience has paid off – if you have more patience than me, you might wait for a slight price drop, which I am sure will happen in the months to come.
The Pros: Hard drive has a lot of space even with HD. 60GB is a lot. 120 on the SR12 is nice, but I have already taped hours on the 60GB with plenty of space. If you are one to procrastinate on transferring data, 120 might be the way to go. I went ahead and bought the 4GB Pro Duo card in lieu of the HDMI cable. Money spent either way and it’s easy to transfer the pictures or video to the Duo and put into the PS3. Conversion is simple and unbelievable. You can convert to standard DVD which is nice to play in the car for the kids to watch on long trips since it’s not AVCHD compatible. However, you can create both standard DVD-Video or the HD AVCHD which plays on PS3’s or Blu-Ray players and transfer to a DVD. The camera fits perfect in my hands, almost the size of a larger digital camera. The touch screen took a little getting use too, but once you start navigating it becomes easier. The engineers got it right for the consumer on this one! Hot shoe available for an external flash. The “quick on” feature so you don’t continuously turn on and off, but save battery power. 5.1 Dolby Digital! Face detection! Slightly time consuming on conversion to DVD, but well worth the wait. You can format picture size between 4:3 to 16:9. The features are endless and spot on for people to learn quickly at ease.
The Cons: the proprietary software (Sony needs to expand a little in this category with options on menus, etc.). The price, obviously ahead of the game on technology you will pay premium. HDMI cable not provided, but the card is nice. I was told by Sony tech support when researching cameras this was a 1080p and it is not. Windy situations picks up sound when taping, needs a wind filter. Be cautious at loud concerts, the microphone is sensitive and I was at a loud Christian concert where it sounds baffled. Could be I was 5 rows from the front stage though! Battery life is short on the battery provided, however, I’m a believer to have an extra one handy and the NP-FH70 is a good purchase that lasted much longer than I expected – 145 minutes or so
Overall, the SR11 is an excellent choice for HD fanatics! I’m addicted and only owned it for a short period of time. Friends are in awe of the picture quality and envious! Although, my goal was to replace an old camera that failed on me. This purchase by far was worth the money. The conversion to DVD was so easy, but be patient. The quality from HD to Dolby Digital and still pictures is phenomenal. I keep telling myself to not purchase Sony for several reasons and experience over the years (i.e., tech support, repair-terrible), but I end back with the purchase because of the cutting technology in the product.
Pros Digital stills at 10.2 MP, Easy to use, Basically Plug and Play, Software that came with the camera allows auto conversion to publish to YouTube and other popular sites. Great!
Cons Size of Hard drive, wish I had gottn the SR-12! Same camera just a bigger hard drive.
Summary I have had a mini DV for a number of years and this is light years better. I cannot believe the ease of use and the easy conversion to a standard def. DVD. I will be getting a blue ray player because this camcorder is unbelievable for the amateur family videographer. I was very nervous about the price, but now that I have used it I am so happy with the performance. No more tapes and mini DVD's sitting around! Love the camera.
"Outstanding HD video and photo quality with excellent sound for most situations"on by Double Eagle
Pros Clarity of video and photos. Good low light performance
Cons Touch screen controls. No shoulder/neck strip, HDMI connector or FULL users manual provided in package. Proprietary battery provided has small capacity. Recommended altitude limitation of only 3000 m
Summary After having many different Canon Camcorders, I finally bought my first Sony because of it's clearly superior HD imagery and excellent still images. The lens on this camera is outstanding. The sound pick up is also excellent without an external microphone. While a wind filter is desirable if it detracts from the current quality sound, I can live without it.
I usually use the viewfinder and not the LCD screen for shooting my videos and the lack of an exension to the viewfinder when using it with even the small battery is an inconvenience and more difficult with a large capacity battery.
Sony should definitely provide a shoulder/neck strap with this and every camcorder. I often carry my camcorder with a DSLR or point and shoot still camera. In fact, I'm using a Canon neck srap with this camera as I could not find a suitable one for sale.
I'm very concerned about the low level altitude restriction of only 3000 meters (9800 feet) since I routinely shoot video and photos in Colorado above that level. They also have a narrow 50-86 degree farenheit temperature recommendation. If, in fact, operation outside of these ranges is not possible I will rank this camera much lower. We spent January in South America and Antarctica and my Canon cameras worked fine at temperatures down to 10 degrees F. The Canon stated operating conditions are 32-104 F and no limitation noted on altitude. Canon also provides a Full printed manual and not just a softward .pdf download.
I dislike the SONY touch screen and much prefer using a joy stick and not having to open the LCD display for practically all actions; however, I'm getting used to this limitation. The one touch knob control on front of camera is useful for fine tuning the focus (or any other single function you may desire). My wife likes the "Easy" record function provided and we took great video and photos on our first weekend with the camera at a zoo and on the beach
I loaded the Sony software but don't use any of it as I find my existing Photo Organizers and ULead Video Studio 11.5 software to be superior.
DO NOT but an HDMI cable for this camera at BEST BUY unless you want to waste your mony. You can get one for $10 on line that works fine as opposed to the Best Buy over $100 offering.
Pros Video & photos are amazing
Cons Battery life, remote control a bit useless, not much available for AVHCD software
Summary Making the decision to purchase a high-definition camcorder today can be very difficult considering the great number of choice to we consumers today. I had narrowed my search to three manufacturers, Canon, JVC and Sony, mainly because I had prior camcorder experience with all three. Preparing to part with $1,000 on a want and not a need is very difficult. Even at the store I found it difficult making a final decision after extensive research.
I settled on the Sony HDR-SR11 because of the features and, primarily, the 60GB hard drive, as well as having the option to use Memory Stick DUO Media cards. Having those options makes the camcorder flexible. I can hook the camera into my computer through the USB slot, or I can remove the media card and pop it into the card reader on my computer, or the memory card reader on my TV, as it is a Sony product that accepts the Memory Stick.
Another area where the Sony has allowed added flexibility is in the number of quality settings from which one can choose. The highest quality records in full 1920 x 1080i. This permits you to save up to 7 hours & 10 minutes worth of video on the hard drive. Plenty of time for me, but for those who need more, standard definition settings are available to allow up to 41 hours of recording time.
The high-definition movies are stunning! Very rich in detail and bold in color. It truly is a case where watching the movies are almost better than being there. For fun, I connected the SR11 to the TV via the included composite cable, and connected a JVC GR-D22U MiniDV through the firewire port. I put the TV on split-screen, and there was absolutely no comparison in the quality. The Sony blew this SD camera away. With the Sony, I could see every bubble in our swimming pool, every drop of water on the kids faces. With the JVC, I could tell the water was blue and that the kids were wet.
Not only are the videos great, the photos are just as rich. Sony claims 10.2 megapixel resolution. Considering that 10MP cameras can cost $400-$500 on their own, it is a feature that adds even more value to this camcorder. You can take take photos and records at the same time. Other nice touches are the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround recording. There isn't a windscreen on the microphone, so a slight breeze can become annoying, but beyond that, the sound is quite good.
The LCD screen is a 3.2" touchpanel with widescreen format. As it has 921k pixels, it's looking at a mini 720p HDTV. I like the touchscreen, but I have to wipe it down after each use. Looking through the regular viewfinder is kind of dull, small, and not very clear. Kind of a disappointment.
A docking station and remote control are included. You can attach the camera to the station to charge the battery, and it also contains the high definition component connection as well as a USB output. Surprisingly, there is no firewire output considering Sony has been a champion of the i.Link interface.
On the camcorder there is a mini-HDMI output, though Sony does not include the cable. S-Video and composite outputs are available also, and Sony does include that cable. For inputs, you can attach a separate microphone and there is a "shoe" available for adding lighting equipment.
There are a host of additional features and specifications I could include in my review, but you can read about those on Sony's website. I will mention one final cool thing. The night vision setting is great in a pitch black area. Yes, the images are green, but the infrared capabilities are really good. It's like watching an episode of "Ghosthunters".
Now that I've written of all the good things, I have to write of the mediocre. This camera records in the AVCHD format. This makes it great for transferring video to your computer in no time, but there isn't much available in the way of software. Also, as with any high definition media, unless you have a Blue-ray player, you can not view your finished video in high-def format on a DVD player. They will be in high-def from the camera to the TV, and you can transfer AVCHD to DVD, but it will not be high definition. I have to say though, it's still great.
I have not had the opportunity to see videos from what would be considered prosumer HD camera, costing $2,000 - $5,000, but based on what I see from this camcorder, they can't be much better.
Pros 10.2 Megapixel Stills. 12X Zoom.
Cons No HDMI Cable. AVCHD Format.
Summary This is a great camcorder. If I were to go back and choose another I would get the SR12 due to its larger hard drive. This thing is fun and easy to use and captures excelent video quality. Also if you wanted you can upgrade the lense for $100.00. They make a wide angle and a telephoto lense. I like the fact that this records directly to a hard drive it makes it much easier to edit. But you need a powerful computer to edit this format. My desktop is about 2 years old and kind of struggles in editing this format, I use my Alienware laptop for editing and it does great. The software that comes with camcordr is easy to use but not much you can do with it therefore I use Pinnacle Ultimate and its great. I guess that the jist of it, great product.