Rated 4 out of 5 by HorseMoney I'm Very Disappointed in Sony
I've had this camcorder in my hands for 4 days now. First off Sony didn't have the weight of this camcorder listed in their specifications when I first pre ordered the camera several weeks ago. It's way too large and heavy for my small hands. Second I was very disappointed in the image stabilization, I was hoping it would be at least as good as my PJ-650's, it's not, it's about on an equal with my old Panasonic. On active mode it bounces around quite a bit before it settles down. The image quality is wonderful, however they don't tell you that you can't edit 4k video with Play Memories Home. When you first start the camcorder it tells you to go to Sony.net/PM to download the software. After you shoot the video in 4k and can't edit it on PM. I contacted Sony online support and they told me that I have to buy Sony Vegas Pro 12. I like Vegas but it's rendering is too slow for the number of videos I turn out.
March 23, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5
by RickBennette The BEST Hanycam Made So Far
This camcorder is well beyond the needs of most users as it borders on the realm of a pro camera in a small body. Yes, for a home unit, it's large. For a Pro unit, it's small. For video, this thing outperforms any DSLR on the market, including the new 4K DSLRs from the competition, albeit by only a small margin compared to 4K DSLRs.
Image quality is tack sharp from corner to corner with absolutely no loss of sharpness and no visible chromatic aberation anywhere in the image. The corners look as crisp as the center. There's also no moire effect when shooting intricate patterns. Details are simply stunning. Even the feathers of birds show every bit of detail in the ribbings. It has a 12x optical zoom, which is darn respectible for a one inch sensor. Digital zoom works flawlessly out to 24x with no visible digital distortion. Beyond 24x the artifacts become visible, and by 160x they make the image useless.
The color is rich and lush, but not overly saturated, even in the automatic mode. Skin tones look film like in the correct light. Depth of field is way better than any three chip pro camcorder, but not so shallow that noses look out of focus when the eyes look clear. Everything seems well balanced in the full auto mode.
The pro features really shine on this little gem. Every major function like focus, iris, white balance, shutter speed and gain has its own dedicated button on the camera body and is totally independent in its function. They retain their manual settings even when the camera is powered off and back on. Other pro features include video peaking and zebra stripes. XLR inputs are available through an optional adapter that sits in the hot shoe.
The eyepiece is so crisp you'll swear you're looking through an optical lens and not at an electronic device. The flip out viewfinder is crisp as well.
Low light shots are simply amazing with grain held to a minimum even at 33 dB video gain. At that setting, it sees things brighter than my eyes, and any grain simply is masked when viewing at normal distance from a TV. In good room lighting and obviously outdoors, grain is not even visible in the image. Digital artifacting is barely visible only if you sit too close the TV looking for it. Othewise, you won't see it.
The 4K mode looks tack sharp even downsampled on a 2K monitor. The X-AVC 2K mode looks almost as good on a 2K monitor, but lacks that razor sharpness of downconverted 4K. It goes without saying on a 4K monitor, the image is simply breathtaking. Only reality is sharper, and that's only if you have 20-20 vision. Set this thing in Cinema Mode, 24 frames per second at 4K and you'll have an image that will look as crisp and rich in color as an iMax movie. In fact, iMax is 4K.
Stills are also very good, approaching the quality level of a mid priced DSLR. 14 megapixel gives the most bang for the buck. The 20 meg setting interpolates more pixels with little added sharpness, so stick to 14.
Batteries last a respective 2 hours or more for the small one, four hours for the medium and nearly seven hours for the largest. a 64 GIG card shoots over six hours at the highest AVCHD mode, and over two hours at the 4K mode.
The native 4K files import easily into the Sony Vegas editor, even the older version 11. Vegas only outputs the finished project in 2K, however, unless there is some new plugin for that. A quad core machine is enough to handle the high data rate sufficiently to edit 4K on a PC.
Bottom line - using this in the full auto mode will get you great video in all regards. Use of the manual controls by a capable user will yield incredible results usable in any feature documentary.
July 21, 2014
Rated 2 out of 5
by SonicJ DISAPPOINTED in XAVC-S Card Problems
I like the way the camera feels in my hands, and most operations are fairly easy to change on the fly. But, Why Oh Why sill an 80 MBps EXTREME 1 Type 10 SanDisk 32 Gig Memory Card not work in XAVC mode?? This is the fastest card I have right now.
On Page 12 of the so-called manual it says you can do 4k at 60 MBps. I have reformatted the card in the camera and still no go. XAVC-S HD says it works at 50 MBps, but again, no go. Does the camera only like Sony Media??
Prior to owning this, I had tried a Sony RX 10, and the video quality was great. But, there was some lens wobble due to the way Sony has set up the servos on the lens.
If/When I get this working, I will get back. But for now, two Stars and that's about $1000/star........
March 26, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by SuspendedMoments Great performance, unbeatable price level
Manual controls and full frame sensor are the BIG deal with this little camera.
It's a grab and go for me, compact and inconspicuous in low key situations such as theatre performances or chamber music performances.
The lens is super sharp and fast when zoomed out and wide open... razor sharp focus.
Though I don't have much demand for 4K, it's a top performer at 1080p as well.
Solid build, love the optic automatic cut on and off when looking or not looking through the viewfinder. Diopter is a great function also, so I can fine tune the focus to my own vision.
Card that came with is was not fast enough, so had to replace it for full 4k performance/read/write. Also added a larger capacity battery.
Solid build, natural feel in hand. Added the Sony Stereo mic and that was a vast audio improvement, though wind noise is still a tad bothersome.
Very happy with this camera, it's my favorite video cam without interchangeable lenses.
Would definitely recommend it to serious amateurs or low level professional work.
You can view video samples on You Tube.... look for it by Model name/number. You'll be impressed.
September 26, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by Geneo157 Excellent video
I have owned the camera since March and have produced some stunning videos. However I have a problem with the OLED EVF, its brightness is so low that it is unusable in bright sunshine. Two other EVF cameras I own have at least double the brightness. I also found the complaint on websites dedicated to this camera.
The video certainly rates 5 stars but for the EVF
July 21, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Vishnevsky My Best Camcorder Ever ,
I have Sony 8 mm PRO , Sony Hi 8 , Sony DV - and FDR AX 100 Simple the BEST
September 26, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by eugene157 Proud owner
Did a few test videos, results better than expected . I edit with Power Director 12. It was awesome to watch the video on a Sony 4K TV. Test pattern I use says 1800 lines resolution PPH.
This reminded me of the HC-1 I bought in 2005, same wow factor!
Good compromise in performance vs cost ratio.
March 21, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by plummervideos AWESOME
It is easy to handle,performs very well,works well in-hand,on a dolly slider,on a crane jib,on a shoulder rig and on my flycam. The quality of the video footage is simply awesome,I love it.
September 26, 2014