The Sony HDR-CX500V is another high definition camcorder to be released by the electronic giant Sony and hits the shelves in the just over $1000 category along with lots of others, and we are beginning to wonder if they are making far too many in this category and if there really can be a viable market for all of them. However, we do like playing with new technologies so we are more than happy to road test this one, and we still get a bit too excited when we get the next gadget out of the box for the first time. The Sony HDR-CX500V is the little brother of the CX520 so we had some idea of what to expect, but did it live up to our expectations or were we disappointed? Read on and see!
Looks wise there is nothing between these two camcorders. They are both neat, black and feature rather a lot in the way of sign writing, which can be a little annoying. However, in this case it is border line. We think they just about got away with it. This is the Sony that has the professional look about it, and for the money it may well appeal to the more professional user. The hand strap has the nice padding with the Sony flash woven across it, and the LED screen is a good size and free from any button clutter and features touch screen technology, which is good to see when it performs well.
It feels good in the hand, and is an excellent size and weight for the compact class, with the start / stop button within easy reach of the right thumb making one handed operation simple, so over all we like the look a lot.
“This is my third HD AVCHD Flash memory camcorder I have owned in the last two years and am very pleased with it. While this unit’s video is not quite as crisp and vivid in color/clarity as the Canon and Panasonic units (95% as good), it more than makes up for it in image stabilization and low light performance which is second to none. I found that much of the footage taken with the Canon was unusable and difficult to watch due to the jerkiness of the video while panning or walking. HD camcorders seem to magnify any camera shake and exacerbate movement which the Canon does little to eliminate with it’s stabilizer. The controls are a little limiting but I have found that leaving this unit on full auto will produce fabulous images you will cherish. Anyway, buy this camera if you want great usable (on the go) video or buy the Canon/Panasonic if you use a tripod most of the time.” – Brent S. (CO,USA)
Again, this is a camcorder that features a lot of Sony’s finest in terms of technology. It has half the memory of its big brother at 32GB which is still pretty impressive and more than enough for most things, as you are not going to want to keep most of the images on the camera when they have been recorded but move them to a more permanent store such as a DVD. Besides which nearly every Sony product we see has the capability for their own memory stick technology, the Pro Duo, which means it really is virtually impossible to run out of space.
Again we were pleased with the images on offer here. It captures images crisply and sharply, with massive amounts of clarity and excellent levels of resolution. This is thanks in part again to their 1/2.88″ “Exmor R” CMOS image sensor, which we have seen before in Sony camcorders and definitely adds to the performance, with clever gadgetry that manipulates the images in a way that we could explain but seriously you would be bored so we are not going to bother – all you need to know is that it works.
The Sony HDR-CX500V also comes with the Geotagging which is a clever function from Sony that sees a GPS tracking device embedded in the unit, meaning that the camcorder knows where it is in the world and can adjust its time and date accordingly and also provide tagging information that can show where in the world the footage was taken. This is a fun feature that adds a bit of class to the video too.
Standard Smile Shutter™ and Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization technologies are also built in, both of which add to the functionality of the unit. The smile shutter is designed to help get that perfect still picture as it centers on the target person and can take a 12 megapixel shot even whilst the camcorder is being used to record footage, which really is clever. Meanwhile, the SteadyShot™ is there to help with the inevitable camera shake that you get when recording from a hand held position rather than using a tripod and it does this really well too, and images on playback remain really still and focused which again is brilliant.
Of the two high definition camcorders in this set, the Sony HDR-CX500V is the one we would choose to buy, as it performs the same. Although it has half the internal memory, there is still plenty on offer and more, and with the memory stick capability it makes very little difference overall. However, what is different is the price, as this is the cheaper of the two units and therefore well worth the money. It coped well with the audio recordings as well as the picture clarity being first rate.
More user reviews:
• “I love this new camcorder. Easy to use and the low light footage is excellent. I film my kids inside more than outside so this was a must. The night vision option is fun and really does work. I like the compact size and the built in HD too. Less moving parts.” – M.Woodward (WY,USA)
• “I found the menu system easy to navigate, with nothing terribly hidden or buried in layers to access. I hooked the camera to the HDMI of my 720P TV and was just FLOORED with the quality of the images and video! OK, so it is around 7pm, still light out but no direct sun in the house. I have big windows so this presents a tricky backlighting issue for most cameras. The video and picture from this Sony were just a true as life. The camera handled the tricky lighting automatically with no manual backlighting adjustments. I couldn’t wait for dark to test the low light but I was really confident that I had a winner here. While waiting for dark I test the still pics in both video mode and normal camera mode. The pics were FAR superior to the other camera. I am not sure if it has a faster shutter mode because the pics were a little subject to blurring from movement, but over all they were as good or better then my old Cannon S45 5 MP camera that took some darn good pics. This camera captures video in low light as good or better them my normal sight. Then there is LOWLUX mode should you need it which takes two taps to set while recording. This setting is for extreme low light and works wonderfully. This Camera has FAR surpassed my expectations. It has fabulous low light, great still pics, small and light, great image stabilization, VERY quick startup time, and super easy to use for my wife, with plenty of more advanced gadget settings for me to learn to use. I strongly suggest you spend the money and get this CAM!” – J.Wortner (USA)
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