Easy to use and has a touchscreen.
Video is poor, especially in low light conditions.
It's good as a basic budget camcorder, but don't expect much else from it.
Does the Sony SX-45 Handycam Stack Up to the Competition?
- Contains a built-in LED light
- Easy to use
- Contains a touchscreen
- Video quality isn't HD, despite what it says
- Video quality lessens in dark light
For a budget-friendly camera (it retails for around $200), the Sony SX-45 Handycam is brilliantly designed--being both lightweight and easy to use. The hand strap is fairly secure and makes it easy to maneuver the device; it comes with a built-in USB cable as well, which means you won't have to constantly look for a USB cable when trying to charge the device or upload videos.
For improved visibility, the camcorder also comes with a built-in LED light, which, oddly enough, seemed to improve video quality during testing. It also comes with a flippable touch screen, which is where you will also select all of the necessary menu options--from adjusting the brightness to adding fading effects to videos. Overall, the design is extremely consumer-friendly, and couldn't be easier to learn.
Although the Sony SX-45 says it is a HD (high definition) camera, this couldn't be further from the truth: The video quality isn't crisp, and is hardly passable as a standard definition camera. During testing, the video quality seemed to worsen in darker light, displaying grainy and often unclear video. Using the camcorder's LED light seemed to alleviate some of this graininess, but still the video quality was not good--to compare, the video on my four year old camera is better than this camcorder, and this camera currently retails for $27. So, if video quality is your main concern, this probably isn't the best camcorder to get.
Something they do not advertise as much--or at least from my experience--is that this camcorder also contains a photo feature, which allows you to take photos in standard or macro mode. This too was a disappointment, however, as the Sony SX-45's photo quality was also grainy and poor. Ample light alleviated the problem slightly, but not enough to make the quality passable. If you plan to use this camcorder to also take photos, I would recommend buying a dedicated camera instead of relying on this camcorder.
Luckily, this camcorder is more versatile when it comes to menu functions compared to other similarly priced cameras--and the functions are easy to use. All of the camcorder's functions are done through the flippable touch screen, which is also where you’ll access the menu, which I was able to access and use easily. The menu options are extensive, from selecting the video's quality (from lowest to HD), the color saturation and brightness, and even how certain video scenes fade in or out. You can also change the focus from auto to manual, should you want to control that--I found it nearly impossible to focus on manual, so I stuck with auto. Overall, this was my favorite feature of the Sony SX-45 Handycam.
Though the Sony SX-45 Handycam is an excellent budget camcorder, it falters on one major problem: video quality. Its HD label is misleading, not even containing video quality passable by standard settings. If video quality is a must for you, then you may want to consider paying more for a higher quality camcorder, such as the Kodak Zi8; if it's not a big problem for you, then this camcorder should meet all of your needs. Overall, I think it's a good budget camera, but definitely don't purchase it expecting excellent video or picture quality.
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