In previous years, HD camcorders were on the rise but they were just too expensive for the average consumer and they still need their own 1080p displays just to enjoy the content that they recorded. Now the prices of these HDTVs are going down below $1,000 and there are several new handheld cameras priced below $600. Even premium brands like Sony are realizing that there is a huge budget crowd that wants to get the mere essentials of a high-definition camera. The Sony HDR-XR150 is one of the models that keep things simple, but full of nifty features.
Latest Update: The Sony HDR-XR150 is now on sale at Amazon.com
The HDR-XR150 isn’t the lightest digital camcorder in Sony’s HDR series but it remains small enough for any person to hold the camcorder with ease. When the display isn’t extended, it can barely fit in a pocket or be placed in a small bag for easy travel. The 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD display is quite flexible as it is rotatable up to 270 degrees so users can get the clearer view of the display in different viewing angles. Many features including spot metering and spot focus are easily accessible through the display’s touch panel. Playing back high-definition videos on this 230K display looks good.
Here’s a video clip shot with the Sony HDR-XR150 and edited in Sony Vegas using Magic bullet:
“Wanted to replace my VHS-C camcorder with a more updated camera. After research, I picked the HDR-XR150. Loaded with features, but small enough to fit in pockets, fanny-packs,etc. Worked great for first communion and graduation footage. Battery runtime is great, would recommend upgrade for extended uses. Works well in low light, 25x zoom is awesome!! Need to learn all of the features yet, but easy enough for beginners to use. I also need to get a blu-ray player so I can take advantage of the HD. Easy to burn dvd’s with either computer or Sony DVDirect. Would highly recommend to those looking for a good family movie quality camcorder.” – M.Figlar (OH,USA)
The Sony HDR-XR150 comes with a built-in 120 GB hard drive which should be able to store around 50 hours of high definition video using the HD LP mode. The high quality SD HQ mode is also available providing 30 hours of footage. The storage features come with a few extras as well including the HDD Smart Protection feature which effectively prevents the device from losing data even if the camcorder is dropped. The Hybrid Recording goes beyond the 120 GB capacity by having the video stored in a removable flash media. Users can optionally copy or movie existing video and images from the hard disk memory to the flash media or to an external hard disk drive without needing a computer.
The large availability of disk space lets users take advantage of the full power of the Sony HDR-XR150. The BIONZ Image Processor plays a major role in image and video quality as it effectively reduces noise using its built-in Data Noise Reduction feature. Advanced data compression technologies preserve content better and are processed faster. This processor also enables a few other technologies like the Face Detection technology for optimizing the face color tones and the Dynamic Range Optimizer which achieves greater shots by adjusting the contrast and exposure automatically.
Thanks to the higher processing speeds of the BIONZ Image Processor, the Sony HD-XR150 enables Dual Recording so users can continuously capture video while having the option to take still images at the same time. The Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens makes these still images look nice and the 3 megapixel max resolution should be enough to take some good shots to back up any video. The advanced optics gives way to the SteadyShot image stabilization feature which corrects the problems of camera shake by dealing with the blur directly. The “Exmor R” CMOS sensor is back-illuminated as well so more light is gathered per pixel to brighten up low-lighting situations.
Sony expanded on its Face Detection technologies because other camcorders provide similar features. The Face Priority feature lets the camcorder remember a face even if it leaves the view. Based on its name, the selected face gets priority with focus and enhancements right after the face is touched on the screen. The Smile Shutter technology utilizes the Dual Recording feature by automatically taking still photos while filming whenever smiles are detected.
Additional flexibility is provided with its convenient zooming options allowing up to 25x optical zoom and 300x digital zoom. Digital zooms work better than traditional digital zooms as the Sony HD-XR150 corrects distortion to make the zooms clearer.
Sony BRAVIA owners will like the BRAVIA Sync technology which allows the camcorder to be controlled using the TV remote once it is connected via HDMI. The USB 2.0 interface is also provided for easy transfer of videos and images to computers.
The priced at around $600 which is a nice balanced price for a compact digital camcorder that is filled with disk space and features. The touch-screen interface is ideal for first time digital camcorder users.
Actual User Reviews:
• “Very nice and easy to handle. The touch screen is a bit too small for my old hands and the still pictures can often be blurry. Overall, a great camera for the price!” – S.L. Linton (USA)
• “Purchased this camera before our World Series trip to Orlando. Quickly picked up on all all the functions. The zoom is excellent and the anti-shake works very well as long as you are not fully zoomed in. The best feature for me is the super slow motion setting – allowing me to video my team as they swing and throw at super slow motion. The video in this mode is crystal clear and I am able to see minor flaws in swings and in pitching. I also ordered a wide angle lens for my recorder to use indoors at my daughter’s volleyball games. Downloads video easily. The software that comes with it gives you minimal support. If you want to create anything fancy for your DVD or Blu-rays, you’ll need to purchase better software.” – R. Hunt (AZ,USA)
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