Sunday, December 5, 2010

Quick Look At Sony HDR CX300 & 350V Camcorders

You get what you pay for and sometimes it is worth it. The Sony HDR-CX300 Series of camcorders is designed for folks needing a balance of portability, features and good optics.

It appears to be a rock solid camcorder and for the price it has got to be; the base unit goes for about $699 to dipping into $1000.

Sony HDR CX300 Series Camcorders

The Sony HDR-CX300 has 16GB on board memory in addition to a Memory Pro and SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot. This is the base level model.

The HDR CX 350V has 32GB on board memory and the HDR-XR350V Handycam Camcorder has a 160GB hard drive for image storage.


This is a demonstration video in low light. Girl in Dragon set up a hoot of a challenge, a gray cat, a moth and indoor recording.

Checking Out Some of The Specs:

The camcorders record in 1920x1080 full consumer level HD.

  • Sensor: 1/4" Exmor R CMOS Sensor
  • Lens 2.9-34.8mm, 30mm G-Lens, able to use 30mm size filters
  • Optical Zoom: 12x
  • Focal Length (35mm equivalent) : 29.8 - 357.6mm (16:9), 36.5 - 438mm (4:3)
  • MPEG AVC/H.264 1920 x 1080i (60 fps)

Loose Translation of the Specs:

These camcorders have a decent size sensor that will pick up an acurate recording of the image and video. The lens are of good glass quality and you can purchase filters to protect the lens or enhance the recording with special effects or image clarity filters.

The F-Stop of f/1.8 is about as fast (open) as you are gonna get on a consumer camcorder. A candle is rated at 1 Lux. These camcorders can handle about 3 Lux meaning you can be in a low light situation and be able to record.

For the record, no standard camcorder will record perfectly in low light situation. The more light you have, the better the video.

You get a decent optical zoom and depending if you are recording in 16:9 or 4:3 you can record from quite a distance.

Is This The Camcorder for You?

I don't know. Your needs are different than mine and mine are evolving. I can make some assumptions.

Reasons To Purchase

  • You are the family designated videographer that is always recording indoors in challenging lighting situation or outside at sport events.
  • You are using it for educational or business video recording where you need a certain level of quality but not complexity.
  • You are thinking about travel vlogging/blogging with a dual need for quality yet need something light and comfortable.

Reasons Not to Purchase

  • No external Line-In or Microphone jack. If you are planing to interview folks or record conference conversations this is important. There is a built-in stereo mic but that means it will pick up everything in the room. You might not want the guy munching on peanuts 17 seats away.
  • This is not a complicated camcorder but if you don't need to record in 1080i at 60fps you'll need to know how to change the recording settings.
  • If you record in standard definition on this camcorder be prepared to know how to convert the MPEG 2 video. Some video editing programs accept it nativity and others you might have to convert into another format before editing.
  • Mac Users need to snoop around to make sure they understand how to import video into their system.
Bottom Line - These camcorders will give you great images and videos. The lens and optics will help you to record in low light situation. They are small enough to fit in a good size purse or pocket. If you can accept no external audio and the price tag it could be a good fit.

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