There are just hundreds of high definition camcorders flooding to the market, and another offer from Sony is the HDR-CX520V. This hits the top end of the market retailing at well over $1000 making this an expensive piece of kit, so is this something that you are going to want to own, or is this just too expensive in terms of the functionality it offers? We have tested it for you, so you can see what you think. We know Sony tends to be the top end of the market in terms of price, but this is a place that they have long earned with their consistent production of quality goods that rarely fail to please, so let’s see what the Sony HDR-CX520V has to offer.
Looking at the camcorder straight out of the wrapping it is clear to us all that Sony has done it again. They really do know how to produce eye pleasing kit that just seems to ooze class, and this is just stunning. This is another black unit that has a crisp, clean appeal that makes it look very professional. The hand strap features a Sony logo padded support, and the start/stop button sits neatly under the right thumb making operation a breeze. The pull out screen is all screen. There are no buttons, and the size of the screen is excellent too. We are equally impressed with the location and arrangement of the rest of the controls and connectors, and this really does look like an industry standard piece of kit when assessed on looks alone.
Actual user review:
“I wanted a small HD camera for both video and stills – This camera gave me all that and more. The HD video is excellent and in low light there is little to no grain. The 12 mega pixel stills are also excellent and comparable to any sony cybershot. I love the size and ease of use. If you are after a HD camera and an all in one with a decent still then this is the one.” – M.Holko (VIC,AU)
The Sony HDR-CX520V has a very reasonable 64GB internal memory, and as with all Sony products supports the use of their own Pro Duo memory stick cards, which fit neatly into a slot on the bottom of the unit. One of the new toys that is being shown off by Sony lately in its camcorder range is the new GPS satellite tracking, which means the camcorder knows exactly where it is in the world and makes automatic adjustments to the time. This can be displayed on the video playback along with a location tag that can also appear as if by magic. This is a definite gadget that will either appeal to you, or leave you rather under whelmed and thinking ‘yeah, so?’ For us, it is kind of cool, although we couldn’t get the management to agree to overseas travel in the name of reviewing evidence – shame!
The camcorder obviously records in high definition and this is supported by their 1/2.88″ “Exmor R” TM CMOS image sensor, which is also in the CX500 model. This clever piece of technology enhances the images so they are captured at over four times density, and have added high resolution and high sensitivity. Ok, so we don’t understand any of that and we just pretend to, but basically what it means is that the picture quality really is excellent, the images sharp and crisp, and we were impressed in all lighting conditions with the way it dealt with the images. The Sony HDR-CX520V also has built in stability technology which we love to see included, as not all of us want to carry a tripod, and many people struggle to hold a camera stable without shake – we know we do unless we have had at least one pot of coffee that morning, and the stability software lends us a vital hand here. As well as the natural hand shakes when filming it also stabilizes images when you need to pan the shot to follow movement or to show a large landscape, meaning that you need to worry less about jerky or unstable movements as they will be smoothed out by the time you see them again on playback – we like this a lot.
This is a cracking camera. We really were sad to have to put it back in the box. It looks stunning and performance wise we didn’t really have any complaints. The Smile Shutter™ technology is clever. You are able to take a still of your video subject when they smile, even if you are recording video at the time, leading to an excellent combination of movie and still pictures. The stills are taken in 12 megapixel quality, which again is top of the range stuff. Yes, this is a pricey piece of kit, but you are going to want to own it. We certainly do. It was user friendly yet the pro shooter has plenty of scope to set the camera to suit themselves, whereas a point and shoot amateur will equally be able to cope – a winner from Sony again, we feel.
More user reviews:
• “All I can say is, “WOW”!! After using a standard definition camcorder, this is light years ahead. The low light videos are perfectly exposed and display natural colors. The picture quality is incredible, and the features are second to none. Still photos, at 12 megapixels are close in quality to my $1600 Nikon D90 camera. I LOVE IT!!” – W.Ludwig (AZ,USA)
• “Well, this is my first camcorder so I cannot say that I am much experienced with camcorder. However, I am very satisfied with this camcorder. Being a photography type of guy, I am very picky with picture white balance, especially indoor pictures. I am happy to say that the white balance from this camcorder exceeds my expectation. I don’t have to adjust the video color balance because the camcorder captures the color as is. Very nice. This camcorder can focus very well. I am extremely impressed. I took the camcorder out of the box and just used it. No need for the manual. It’s easy to get around the menu system. Low light performance is great with this camcorder. I am happy with this purchase and the price I paid for it.” – K.C.Nguyen (USA)
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