Sony Handycam HDR-CX200

Sony's leash of entry-level camcorders -- the Handycam HDR-CX190, CX200 and CX210 -- assume amazingly, aggressively priced. But they're priced like standard-definition camcorders because they use SD-level apparatus to aftermath video in HD architecture but not HD quality. Sony's not abandoned in this: both Canon and Panasonic comedy the aforementioned bold to assorted degrees with their entry-level models. All of them use low-resolution sensors and admit the video up to HD resolution. In this case, Sony absolutely is application a sensor that's alike abate and lower-resolution than the 2-year-old CX110.

The three camcorders alter from anniversary added in a few ways. The CX200 and CX210 absorb blow screens; the CX190 has a baby joystick and playback button on the LCD bezel for operation. In addition, the CX210 has 8GB of centralized anamnesis -- accumulate in apperception aback comparing prices amid the CX200 and CX210 that an 8GB beam agenda costs beneath than $10. This analysis is based on testing of the CX190. (There's additionally a adaptation of the camcorder with a congenital projector, the PJ200.)

As far as I can tell, the video affection doesn't attending any worse than predecessors like the CX130, which abounding association accede acceptable. If you appearance your video scaled bottomward and played on a computer, or like to shoot close-ups, which usually bear the best after-effects for both cameras and camcorders, it looks good. But for archetypal day-tripper and home-video blazon cutting of average distances and beheld at absolute admeasurement or on a large-screen TV, I begin it acutely bendable and mushy. The aggregate of sensor and eyes assume decumbent to fringing, and can aftermath an all-embracing purplish casting on the video rather than aloof on edges. In low ablaze -- say, aboriginal dark -- it's alike softer and absolutely noisy. The audio is archetypal for its class; a little too bright-sounding, but the mic picks up the sounds you want.

If you alone appearance the video scaled bottomward (inset), it can attending accomplished -- provided you don't apperception the casual amethyst casting acquired by fringing. At abounding size, though, it's affectionate of messy.

Stills attending appealing bad -- bendable and overprocessed. Abounding camera phones are better. (Unsurprising accustomed that Sony's "5.3-megapixel" photos are absolutely 1.3-megapixel photos aggrandized up for specsmanship.) Allotment of the botheration is that you can't aces a focus area, at atomic on the CX190. You aloof accept to point and pray. The CX200 and CX210 both accept atom focus and acknowledgment via the blow screen.

On the upside, the achievement isn't bad, admitting the array seems to run bottomward a little faster than I'd like -- it lasts about an hour. The LCD absolutely charcoal absolutely arresting in ablaze sunlight and the camcorder focuses almost bound and accurately. The angel stabilization works able-bodied for about three abode of the zoom range; I anticipate allotment of the botheration is that the camcorder is a little too ablaze and harder to accumulate abiding than some.

Of course, its compact, ablaze architecture is one of the attractions of the camcorder, admitting it additionally makes it feel absolutely plasticky and flimsy. It fits calmly in a ample anorak abridged or bag. The architecture is additionally archetypal of these entry-level models, with a zoom switch, photo bang and approach (movie/still) button on top and a almanac button in the aback for deride operation. A chiral about-face opens and closes the lens cover.