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Sony Webbie HD MHS-CM1 Camcorder Review
Cryptically, the Sony MHS-CM1 offers an optional onscreen histogram, which demonstrates the exposure levels within your current frame. With no tools for making manual adjustments, this seems like superfluous information to provide—and potentially confuse—your user. Even if the histogram tells me that levels are too high or too low, there's not much I can do other than find a flashlight or go shoot somewhere else.
There are almost no audio features on the Sony MHS-CM1, beyond the fact that is does record audio along with your video. The built-in microphone is mono, not stereo. There is no mic input jack, no accessory shoe, no special features – nothing. Audio is compressed in the AAC format.
With the MHS-CM1, Sony is attempting to duplicate the easy, swift YouTube upload process that is prominently featured on Pure Digital's Flip series of camcorders as well as other low-end models. Sony definitely didn't succeed at this task. Yes, the MHS-CM1 includes internal uploading software—but, no, it isn't easy or seamless to use. The software is too complicated to install, has far too many components, and isn't compatible with Mac operating systems.
The big software inclusion on the MHS-CM1 is Picture Motion Browser (PMB), which is commonly included with Sony's consumer camcorders. The software assists with transferring footage from the camcorder to your computer and can organize files using a variety of attributes (i.e. in albums, by date, etc.). New on the MHS-CM1, however, is PMB Portable, which is a program designed to upload your videos straight to video sharing sites like YouTube.
The software can be easy to use once you get it installed, but Sony provides too many 'Tools' along with the software that only make the program more difficult . For a system that is meant to be perfectly simple, why in the world does Sony include an Information tool, Location Settings tool, Media Check tool, PMB Portable Maintenance tool, and a Settings Initialization tool? All these extra installations make the software seem far more daunting than it really is. Some of us were left wondering whether Sony was parodying itself by making things as complicated and confusing as possible.
The PMB software features pre-installed upload setups for YouTube, Crackle, Dailymotion, Shutterfly, Picasa, and Photobucket. It also gives you the option of choosing your own sites or blogs for quick upload. The process is relatively simple once you get the hang of it, but don't expect to be able to plug the MHS-CM1 into your computer and get things rolling right away. The software installation process takes some time and getting used to all the aspects of the PMB Portable program is a lengthy process. For an overview of the software that ships with this and other camcorders, see our article: Video Editing Software For Your CamcorderSony-Included-Software.htm.
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