Full HD Camcorder w/ 30x Optical Zoom
I bought this as a total impulse buy at Costco due to the great price and i couldn't be happier. The 42X zoom is amazing. I can look at player name tapes and numbers from the nose bleeds at Candlestick park.
May 28, 2012
It does what I expected.
I was looking for a value driven high definition camcorder to replace my old trusty Sony digital tape model with a firewire interface. This one with the USB interface was very easy to operate and I was shooting high quality video's soon after the battery was charged. I did not use any of the Sony solftware from the included disk and I was able to easily drag and drop video and photo files onto my computer for storage and video editing with other software. My computer played the HD files and I was able to create SD DVDs for distribution to friends without HD DVD players. It does just what I expected it to.
May 2, 2012
Nice small unit that is easy to use. Picture quality is awesome. I bought a 32 gb card so I will have more than 12 hours use plus if needed there is the internal 16 gb memory that will give me 6 more hours.
February 24, 2012
Great entry-level HD camcorder
For an entry level HD camcorder, the HDR-CX160 is awesome. My old camera is a Sony digital 8mm I bought in 2004, so for me this is a huge technological leap forward. My old camcorder took very good standard definition (SD) shots, but it's nothing compared to the world of HD video.
The CX160 records great picture quality. I am even more impressed with the sound that the built-in stereo mics can pick up. I took a few test shots and used separate software to burn an HD DVD (AVCHD format). I stuck it in my Blu-ray player and watched it on my 55" LCD TV and was blown away by the picture - very, very nice. No, it's not going to give you the same quality as professionally edited video, but then this is an entry-level HD camcorder. Even so, the camera has a pretty versatile set of outputs - HDMI, USB, component video and standard video. I hooked it up to my big TV with the included component video cable and was duly impressed.
The CX160 is very light and quite small. Because of its size, some of the controls are quite close to each other, which takes some getting used to. You just have to memorize where stuff is so you don't hit the wrong button by mistake.
The image stabilizer is lights out. The camcorder being small, you'd think shaking would be a problem, but the stabilizer has two levels and the higher level (active stabilization) even improves jittery video on full zoom. And under normal zoom levels the video is very, very smooth.
The LCD menu is pretty easy to use. The touchscreen is not anywhere near as sensitive or efficient as, say, an iPod Touch, but the main thing is that it works and isn't that hard to use.
The built-in 16Gb flash memory is enough for a little under 4 hours of HD video at very good quality. Coming off my 8mm camcorder, that would be like 4 one-hour tapes' worth right out of the box. And of course you can add an SDHC or Memory Stick Pro card for more on-board storage.
The CX160 lacks a viewfinder, and the LCD panel brightness has only two levels, but for how I plan to use the camcorder those are minor issues. I also noticed that while recording, there is some latency (delay) in that the LCD display is maybe a tenth or fifth of a second behind whatever you're recording, but again that's pretty minor and shouldn't really pose a problem.
Note: Some reviewers thought they couldn't share videos online from this camera. Actually, you can. Sony includes PMB software that you can use to import M2TS (high-def) video from camera to computer. You can also use PMB to upload video clips directly to YouTube, Facebook or other social sites. And PMB can convert your M2TS video files into Windows Media or MPEG format on your computer for sharing later. (Other video editing software like Adobe Premiere Elements 10 can do the same kinds of things.)
If all you want to do is shoot-and-share, I would forget about camcorders like the CX160 and instead go with a bloggie camera that is meant for that sort of thing. Camcorders like the CX160 are designed to capture high-quality video, where it is presumed some amount of editing or pre-processing of raw video footage will happen. This camera stores raw video clips in M2TS format which is meant for making HD discs, so it must be converted before it can be conveniently shared online. (Note also that M2TS is a common high-def format and is *not* proprietary to Sony. M2TS stands for "MPEG-2 Transport Stream". Google it for more info if interested.)
December 29, 2011