Sony HDR-PJ710 Camcorder Review
Sony's new HDR-PJ710V is one of the most impressive camcorders we've reviewed this year.
Lens & Imaging System
The Sony PJ710V is equipped with a big sensor and a big lens. The sensor is a 1/2.88-inch Back-illuminated CMOS, while the lens has an f/1.8 aperture and 10x optical zoom capability. Additionally, the lens has a very wide angle of view, which means you can fill a lot of subjects in your shot (but this also means you have to use more zoom to get closeups). The complete lens and sensor specs are listed in the table below.
We should mention that the lens on the PJ710V has very similar, but slightly different, specs to last year's HDR-CX700V Handycam. The main point we'd like to emphasize is that the new camcorder is branded with a Zeiss lens, while the CX700V was stuck with a Sony G lens. Is this why the PJ710V showed an improvement in low light performance? Maybe. But the fact that the lenses have such similar specs makes us think there really isn't much difference from last year other than the Zeiss logo on the side.
LCD & Viewfinder
On the left side of the PJ710 is a rotatable LCD that measures 3-inches diagonally. The screen has an impressive 921k-pixel resolution and it can rotate up to 270°. These specs are no different than last year's HDC-CX700V from Sony, but the PJ710 has an extra notable feature—a built-in projector that lives on the back of the LCD panel.
Something odd we should point out. Two years ago, Sony's flagship Handycam, the HDR-CX550V, had an even larger LCD than today's PJ710. The screen was 3.5-inches diagonally, which Sony may have decided was, in fact, too big. Hence the reduction in screen size we've seen over the past two years. Frankly, we liked having the extra half inch of screen real estate. It certainly helped with menu navigation, especially when Sony's touchscreen interface is so integral to the user interface.
The HDR-PJ710V does not have a built-in viewfinder. But if you're really itching for an EVF, you can upgrade to the HDR-PJ760V camcorder instead. The PJ760V has the same lens, sensor, and specs as the PJ710V, but it includes a viewfinder and 96GB of internal memory (instead of 32GB). It's also one of the priciest consumer models on the block, with an MSRP approaching $1600.
The Sony HDR-PJ710 has a lot of connectivity options. Most prominent is the built-in USB arm that tucks into the handstrap on the right side of the camcorder. Some may dislike the way this cable can get in the way during recording, but if you tuck it into its holder, the cable shouldn't distract you. Either way, we think the benefit of having an attached USB cable outweighs the drawback of clutter.
Behind the hand strap is a sliding door that covers three ports: 3.5mm mic jack, headphone jack, and a Sony-proprietary AV port. The AV port works with the provided Composite cable, and it can also be used with Component, S-Video, and LANC products that are sold separately. Turning around to the back of the camcorder is a lonely DC-input, covered by a flip-down door near the base of the battery compartment.
On the left side of the PJ710, inside the LCD cavity, is another sliding door. This one covers the HDMI, USB, and memory card slot. The card slot works with both SD and Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, although we had a much easier time getting SD cards in and out of the slot than Memory Sticks. Finally, on the top of the camcorder is a powered (hot) accessory shoe that is designed to fit Sony accessories. The shoe is covered by a unique door that remains hinged to the camcorder when turned to its side. This is a far better cover than the removable slips of plastic we've seen topping accessory shoes from other manufacturers.
The camcorder comes with an NP-FV50 rechargeable battery pack that fits in the slot on the back of the PJ710 and hangs out from the camcorder by a quarter-inch or so. The camcorder will work with larger battery packs, the NP-FV70 and the NP-FV100, available from Sony or generic models from third-party manufacturers. The battery charger is not a stand-alone unit, as the battery pack must be inserted in the camcorder and the camcorder must be plugged in for the battery to charge.
32GB of internal flash memory is included on the Sony HDR-PJ710V, which is enough to capture a couple hours of video at the highest quality setting. If you want to record more video, you can load a memory card (SD or Memory Stick PRO Duo) into the camcorder's memory card slot. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various media types.
- Product Tour
- Color Performance
- Low Light Performance
- Motion Performance
- Sharpness Performance
- Ease of Use
- Recording Options
- Other Features
- Sony Handycam HDR-CX700V Comparison
- Panasonic HC-X900M Comparison
- Canon Vixia HF G10 Comparison
- Photo Gallery
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