Sony HDR-CX160 High-Definition Handycam Camcorder – Product Description:
Capture amazing 1920 x 1080 Full HD video with the ultra-compact HDR-CX160 Handycam camcorder. It features an “Exmor R” CMOS sensor for superior low-light performance and wide angle Sony G lens, plus 42x extended zoom feature for getting you closer to the action. Record and store up to six hours of high-definition video footage (HD LP mode) via the built-in embedded Flash memory. You can also compose and view your shots on the vibrant 3.0″ touch-screen display.
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Sony HDR-CX160 High-Definition Handycam Camcorder – Review:
AMAZING LITTLE HD CAMCORDER!
My new Sony CX160 HD HandyCam. The more I use it, the more I am loving it.
It is very convenient to use with a perfect size for my medium sized palm, and the zoom & record buttons conveniently placed on the camera body as well as on the touch screen. The touch screen is pretty good. I would recommend using a scratch guard which makes it easier to clean since it is prone to finger prints. The touch screen interface is very intuitive (one cant go wrong with the interface with Sony) and takes only couple of mins to get used to. I started shooting right after unboxing it. Coming to the most important aspect – the picture. The picture quality of the videos is absolutely stunning. Even under low light (indoors), the picture quality is quite good when shot at FX mode. I generally prefer FX mode (60i) which is actually the second best mode in terms of picture clarity but gives you that extra shooting time with negligible picture degradation as compared to PS mode (60p @ 28Mbps). PS mode is as close to a professional camera that an under $500 camera can get.
With a built in 16Gb memory one can shoot about 90 mins of HD videos in FX mode. I got a Transcend 16Gb class 10 for little less than 30 bucks to make the total to 3 hrs of videos at one go, which imho is quite a decent amount of video. The battery (Sony NP-FV50 V series) that came with it has a back up of little over 2 hours with a mix of record and play back times. I am very happy with these times though. For back up I did buy a NP FV 70 replacement (Vivitar brand); however, it did not work well and I used to get an error message after about 4 mins. I returned it and bought another Sony NP FV 50. I would recommend buying another Sony NP FV 50 battery only if you ever need a back up power (NOT EVEN origniaL Sony NP FV 70).
The sound recording quality is also pretty good. With about 3 hours of recordings so far, although I haven’t really noticed the sound recordings in too much detail, I can say that the sound is just perfect. We have enjoyed the picture as well as sound quality of all the videos that we had shot with it.
The small (about 5-7 cms only) USB is fixed on the camera body. I find this feature quite cool since you dont have to remember to carry the USB cable as such (of course, the extension cable definitely helps), as also it is sort of hidden in the camera strap so its not visible and does not cause an hindrance while recording.
Coming to the still pictures, I would say I was a quite disappointed with it in that the pictures are virtually useless. Due to this I have disabled the auto smile shutter which takes a picture automatically when it detects a smile, even when the video recording is in progress. The feature is good, but the pictures are not.
The software that came with it – Sony PMB – is a just about okay kinda software; in that it does what it is meant to do – manage and burn DVDs. You can create DVSs pretty easily with it. However, the number of screen layouts is very limited (only about 5 to be precise), and it does need a decent processing power. However, with HD videos, a decent processing power is anyways a must.
I would have given it a 4.5, but it certainly doesn’t deserve a 4; So, I gave it a full 5. If you ignore the still picture quality, imho is not what it is meant for, the other features such as golf shot, slow-mo shot, one touch focus in which the camera focus on an object you touch in the lcd screen and keeps in focus all through the shooting by following it, the more than decent battery back up, you won’t be disappointed with this one. I got mine from Costco for $490 bucks with taxes, inclusive of a decent pouch enough to carry its USB extension cable, an additional battery, along with the camera, of course.
5/23 Update on spare battery: Purchased a ‘High Voltage’ brand NP-FV 70 battery from Digi Acc seller. I am glad that it worked with my Sony CX-160. Initially, I was disappointed since even the Original Sony NP FV 50 did not work with it and I used to get an error message after every 3-4 mins. Digi Acc was prompt to send me a battery that worked.