Rated 4 out of 5 by 5
Rated 3 out of 5 by Channel70Productions Good, but.....
We are huge Sony fans, but this camcorder tests our loyalty. We use several Handicams to shoot b-roll footage and to keep at hand for when something interesting occurs during our travels. We make frequent use of Sony's pistol grip/triods with controls and well as Sony pan arms adapted to our Sachtler and Miller tripods for our Z5U cameras. Since these camcorders get hard use in the field, they occasionally get destroyed, hence the purchase of the PJ540. We primarily bought the PJ540 is because it was the lowest price Sony with specs we needed and had threads for mounting filters (now 46mm rather than 37mm) and shades and covers. The picture quality is excellent for such a small sensor. The zoom control has a great, smooth feel and the variable zoom linear speed is pro quality.
One thing that is fun is to point the camera at your face and watch the lens track you as you move the camera body side to side and up and down. (Shades of HAL 9000) Optical stabilization hard at work. The stabilization system can be tricked by moving water (river, inlet,etc) and the lens will begin to drift, so beware and watch what's happening on the display.
The images look great and the projector feature is a nice novelty. This model has a lighter, cheaper, plastic feel to it more so than our other Sony handicams. Also, note the manual is woefully inadequate. Perhaps Sony will publish a real manual in the near future.
-We usually use audio captured by handheld or lavalier mics, but one of our editors happened to listen to the audio from a person about three feet distant into the PJ540's mic and was impressed. Not nearly as bad as other camcorders we've owned.
-The stabilization is strong. Once locked onto a particular target, it stays locked. We use a matte box on the the PJ540, but when the lens swivels to its left or right limits, we get slight vignetting at 11, 2, 5 and 7 o'clock positions.
-The 1/4"-20 mounting hole isn't deep enough for the 1/4"-20 bolts on any of our tripod mounting plates.
-Sony now has chat support for this product on their overall support page, but can't help with down in the weeds tech problems.
May 8, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by oldbirdwatcher Excellent for Poor Vision
The 30x optical zoom means I can still watch birds despite declining eyesight. If I record, then later I can copy to a computer to view birds in magnificent detail. Highly recommend for people in my predicament. Only drawback for bird watching is the slow start up time. Birds move so fast that if the camcorder has turned off, I miss the next bird that flies in. I'd buy this camcorder again, regardless. USB charging is very handy. Camcorder is lightweight and easy to handle.
September 26, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by guest82 Exactly what we needed!
We work in Law Enforcement and needed a camcorder to record scenes without sound. This is so easy to mute for those times. We also record training programs, and this camcorder makes it easy to make copies for our members. If it works this well for such high profile reasons, I would get one for personal use.
September 26, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by GOBLUE love it
great video easy to use definitely recommend it.
September 26, 2014
Rated 3 out of 5 by kelro04 great sound and pic quality
I bought this at best buy at the suggestion of the sony direct rep that was there. I liked the image stabilization lens that moves as you move the camera. I specifically questioned about the view screen because I was concerned that it wouldn't be good in strong sun. I was assured that it would be perfect in the sun. He was wrong, you can't see anything on a sunny day which renders this camera useless in strong sun. I'm very unhappy about that.
March 22, 2014