A stark reminder of one of the perils of this age of Internet bargains: the Sony is a lot bigger than we imagined just from looking at photos. And justifiably so – it uses MiniDV (and not, curiously, Sony’s own MicroMV format), it has a three CMOS sensor and an image stabilisation system, albeit electronic rather than optical.
We were interested to see if Sony’s vertical form factor provided any advantages over a more traditional style – a tricky question that has split office opinion. The consensus is that while wrist position is more natural with the vertical format, it doesn’t feel quite as secure. Our suggestion is to get some hands-on before you buy – and check out the size while you’re at it.
Using the Sony is also hampered by an over-complicated control deck – it has an impressive widescreen LCD touchscreen, yet still has buttons below the screen and on the back. They all do a job but it looks less sexy.
Having mastered the beast, are you rewarded with glorious images to match? In a word, no. There’s evidence of three-sensor colour saturation, edges are sharp and rapid movement is well dealt with, but overall the pictures are on a par with a HDD or DVD cam.
Very good then, and the 2.8megapixel stills are solid, but the Sony is too expensive for anything less than excellence.