When In Manila family events are essential to every Filipino and although taking high quality pictures using your DSLR is more than enough to induce tears of joy, nothing compares to feeling while watching a home video as you relive a very special moment of your life. That is why I personally suggest that each family should have a video cam ready for occasions such as graduations and weddings. One particular model that caught my attention as of late is the Sony Handycam HDR-PJ50. This camera won best of CES (Consumer Electronic Show) 2011 due to its great specs and first of its kind built in projector.
The Sony Handycam HDR-PJ50 is a pretty standard camera when it comes to looks but the real magic comes with the interior and the software of the camera. The HDR-PJ50 sports a 220gb storage which is more than enough to store a week’s worth of video although if you find it insufficient you could add in more storage using a memory card. This makes it perfect for travels since you won’t need to bring a laptop or computer of some sort to store all your precious photos and videos. Speaking of travels you will find that the camera is compact and light enough for travels although you might find it quite heavy when holding it up for long periods of time while taking videos.
One particular thing that made the HDR-PJ50 an absolute joy to use is the simplicity of the controls, I mean it isn’t as complex as using a DSLR and yet the 7.1mp shots produced by its built in lens and 1/4″ Exmor R CMOS sensor is of good enough quality for your standard photo needs. Switching from video to taking photos is pretty much done with a press of a button plus the 12x optical zoom works wonders to take candid shots from long distances. On the configurations, setting it to smart auto is only thing you need to set it to unless of course you need specific video configurations but basically smart auto pretty much covers everything without the hassle.
Video quality is very smooth even at the lowest frame rates (29p) on HD recording, while recording you could also take snapshots so you could capture awesome stills without the need to cut your video. The camera also has an optical image stabilization which reduces blurring on stills and shakes while taking videos. With that said it is a great plus when taking videos while on tours where you tend to move around as you are taking a video. One particular qualm that I have is the short battery life on the device, this could be remedied by bringing an external battery supply such as Milli or a spare battery. With this said, I always find it a plus for a device to be able to charge through USB since it makes the device more flexible in terms of acquiring power.
What makes the HD-PJ50 unique is its ability to project video and and pictures through its built in projector. After testing this in an actual video projection room (ones we have on the office), I could say it exceeded my expectations… the projected images and videos were very clear and the sound coming from the camera was loud enough to fill the room. Sadly it could only project videos that was recorded by the camera (was hoping to watch an AVI movie from it) and the projector also drained the battery quite quickly so I would say that its main purpose is for that end of day family get together to review clips taken from earlier festivities.
Sony really deserved to win a CES-2011 award with this piece of equipment, while it looks all gimicky with the built in projector. The simplicity of this device assures users that they need not to be tech savvy to be able to operate it. Overall, I would highly recommend it for those who don’t really want to bother much about tweaking the camera to get that perfect shot but is instead more focused on recording more of the moment. The projector while more of a feature than a utility is pretty darn good, this makes the video editing software in the device quite useful when trying create a quick presentation of the days events. So next time When In Manila be sure to consider the Sony HD-PJ50 when picking out your next video camera.
Video Camera Review: Sony Handycam HDR-PJ50