Sony probably considers its arrival to the pocket camcorder party to be ‘fashionably late’, but in reality the MHS-PM1 is an awkward bystander to a conga dance led by the Kodak Zi8.
Not that it’ll go unnoticed for long – its David Dickinson orange finish catches the eye, and there’s also a novel twist with a lens that can be rotated 270 degrees. This helps to protect the lens, and makes it ideal if for those who like to dabble in video blogging.
Sharing your HD movie clips and 5MP stills you capture is quick and easy. A Sharemark button on the PM1’s body lets you instantly ‘mark’ anything that you may want to upload.
Built-in (PC only) software opens when you connect to a computer and lets you share your masterpieces through popular sites like YouTube, Picasa and Dailymotion.
Mac users also won’t have too much difficulty in finding an app that can play the MP4 files the PM1 creates either.
Stuck with the Stick?
Unlike the most of its competitors, Sony’s PM1 records to Memory Stick PRO Duo rather than SDHC cards. This isn’t a major problem – the format is very reliable – but is frustrating if you want to swap cards from other devices.
While not quite a Full HD model, it can capture video in high-def at 1440x1080. It’s a disappointment, then, to discover that there is no HDMI output, so you can’t enjoy the full quality of HD on your TV. Connections do at least include AV and Component out, along with a USB.
For all Sony’s video know-how the PM1’s movie clips don’t always compare well with its rivals. Samsung’s U10 is more accurate on colours and JVC’s new Picsio has a better low-light performance. Both are marginally less expensive, too.
It’s not a simple knockout for the PM1, though; the cam succeeds in being very tactile – it’s very easy to hold, and is refreshingly straightforward to shoot and share with.
The embedded software isn’t too daunting, even for beginners. And, from a design perspective, the rotating lens is an absolute winner, especially as it’s craftily also capable of turning the PM1 on and off.
Blending such effective design with the ability to share clips and stills so easily makes the PM1 worthy of investigation. But the downsides of its movie performance means it’s still a little way off being at the front of that pocket camcorder conga.