Sony NEX-C3 Review

October 29th, 2011 116 Comments   Posted in Digital SLR Cameras

The 16-megapixel Alpha NEX-C3 builds upon the successes of its predecessor — the NEX-3 — sporting a slimmer body and redesigned APS-C sensor. It also adds a reported 20-percent boost in battery life, improved low light performance, and a slimmer, more attractive design. We spent well over a month using the NEX-C3 as our primary camera for product shoots, trade shows, hands-on videos, and vacations, and were blown away by its performance as both a versatile still snapper and a powerful video camera.

It’s important to note that while the C3 does capture 720p video, it can’t shoot in 1080p, so you’ll need to look elsewhere if you need full HD. Like all mirrorless cameras, there’s also no optical viewfinder, nor is there a traditional hot shoe. Instead, Sony included the same propriety connector found on the NEX-3 and NEX-5, enabling connectivity with a dedicated external microphone and a limited variety of external flashes, including the compact strobe that ships in the box.

While some photographers may find the NEX-C3 inadequate for their needs, we absolutely loved shooting with it, and we think you will too. Jump past the break to see why.

Panasonic HM-TA1 Review

April 2nd, 2011 115 Comments   Posted in Digital Video Cameras

The Panasonic HM-TA1 is a pocket-sized HD camcorder for the Web 2.0 blogging set. Dubbed a “multimedia mobile camera”, the Panasonic HM-TA1 can be used to shoot video, snap digital photos or even as a webcam. It boasts Full HD video recording, an 8-megapixel still image mode (via interpolation) and inbuilt software that lets you upload your creations directly to Facebook or YouTube.
The Panasonic HM-TA1 is an enticing proposition for casual videoographers. Its video output is very impressive for the asking price, with a reliable low-light performance. On the downside, it lacks the advanced features found on some budget HD camcorders, such as the Kogan Full HD 1080p Deluxe Touchscreen camcorder and Millennius Memmoir Gold.
The Panasonic HM-TA1 is basically a high-def pocket camcorder in the mould of Cisco’s trend-setting Flip Mino HD. (Sony and JVC have also entered the pocket cam market, with the Bloggie MHS-PM5K and GC-FM1 respectively.) Measuring 104x52x17mm and weighing a mere 110g, the Panasonic HM-TA1 is smaller than most digital still cameras. However, it remains easy to shoot with thanks to its large, tactile buttons. Like most pocket cams, the controls are limited to basic functions, such as zoom, record, playback and photo mode.
In terms of design, the Panasonic HM-TA1 is pretty hard to fault. The version we tested sported a glossy black finish with silver edging (white and red variants are also offered).
The HM-TA1′s 5-megapixel CMOS sensor captured some attractive looking video, with accurate colours and sharp detail. We noticed some minor ghosting during fast camera pans, but this is a common issue with pocket camcorders (after all, they are designed primarily for blogging, which is a stationary activity for the most part). We were particularly impressed by the HM-TA1′s performance in low lighting, with less noise than we are typically used to. Panasonic has also included an inbuilt camera light — something that most pocket cams lack.

The Panasonic HM-TA1 is a pocket-sized HD camcorder for the Web 2.0 blogging set. Dubbed a “multimedia mobile camera”, the Panasonic HM-TA1 can be used to shoot video, snap digital photos or even as a webcam. It boasts Full HD video recording, an 8-megapixel still image mode (via interpolation) and inbuilt software that lets you upload your creations directly to Facebook or YouTube.
The Panasonic HM-TA1 is an enticing proposition for casual videoographers. Its video output is very impressive for the asking price, with a reliable low-light performance. On the downside, it lacks the advanced features found on some budget HD camcorders, such as the Kogan Full HD 1080p Deluxe Touchscreen camcorder and Millennius Memmoir Gold.
The Panasonic HM-TA1 is basically a high-def pocket camcorder in the mould of Cisco’s trend-setting Flip Mino HD. (Sony and JVC have also entered the pocket cam market, with the Bloggie MHS-PM5K and GC-FM1 respectively.) Measuring 104x52x17mm and weighing a mere 110g, the Panasonic HM-TA1 is smaller than most digital still cameras. However, it remains easy to shoot with thanks to its large, tactile buttons. Like most pocket cams, the controls are limited to basic functions, such as zoom, record, playback and photo mode.
In terms of design, the Panasonic HM-TA1 is pretty hard to fault. The version we tested sported a glossy black finish with silver edging (white and red variants are also offered).

The HM-TA1′s 5-megapixel CMOS sensor captured some attractive looking video, with accurate colours and sharp detail. We noticed some minor ghosting during fast camera pans, but this is a common issue with pocket camcorders (after all, they are designed primarily for blogging, which is a stationary activity for the most part). We were particularly impressed by the HM-TA1′s performance in low lighting, with less noise than we are typically used to. Panasonic has also included an inbuilt camera light — something that most pocket cams lack.

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V Review

August 8th, 2009 36 Comments   Posted in Digital Video Cameras

The Sony HDR-XR520V packs a lot of punch—and a lot of hard drive capacity—into a relatively small consumer camcorder. The retractable viewfinder and the return of last year’s excellent manual control dial are just a couple of the features that will intrigue proficient camcorder users. Also intriguing? The incredibly low noise levels, clear and smooth motion, built-in GPS, and 240GB internal hard drive.

There are some downsides that consumers of every ilk will have to weigh for themselves: no manual aperture/shutter control, mediocre low light performance, the lack of 24p or 30p frame rates, and an intimidating array of buttons, switches, and layered menus. It’s not the ideal camcorder for a first-time user, nor does it offer every bell and whistle that the experienced videographer could want. It does have some intuitive features and excellent video performance: a combination that might be just what some consumers are looking for.

There are some downsides that consumers of every ilk will have to weigh for themselves: no manual aperture/shutter control, mediocre low light performance, the lack of 24p or 30p frame rates, and an intimidating array of buttons, switches, and layered menus. It’s not the ideal camcorder for a first-time user, nor does it offer every bell and whistle that the experienced videographer could want. It does have some intuitive features and excellent video performance: a combination that might be just what some consumers are looking for.

Buy the Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V