camcorders
  • Editors' Choice

Sony HDR-PJ710 Camcorder Review

Sony's new HDR-PJ710V is one of the most impressive camcorders we've reviewed this year.

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Still Features

Sony's spec sheet for the HDR-PJ710V has some misleading information about the camcorder's still image capabilities. According to Sony, the max effective resolution for photos on the PJ710V is 24.1 megapixels—but this number far exceeds the image sensor's gross pixel count of 6.65 megapixels. What this tells us is that the PJ710V is interpolating its still images. The camcorder will capture a roughly 6-megapixel image, then stretch it to a huge 6544 x 3680 image. And just because the image is that big, doesn't mean it has tons of detail. So, in reality, the 24.1-megapixel mode isn't nearly as good as it sounds.

All that garbage aside, the HDR-PJ710V does have quite a few still image features. There's a self timer function, a built-in flash (with intensity settings and red eye reduction), six different photo size options (three of which are "interpolated"), and the ability to capture still images during video recording. Sony's Smile Shutter feature, allowing the camcorder to automatically snap photos when it detects a human smiling within the frame, is also included.

Other Features

Built-in Projector

Yeah, Sony makes a bunch of camcorders with built-in projectors now and the HDR-PJ710V is one of them. In fact, Sony's whole line of Handycams with "PJ" in the model name are camcorders that include projectors. If you don't want a built-in projector on your camcorder, you should take a look at the HDR-CX760V instead—it's got the same specs as the PJ710V except no projector and more internal memory.

Sony_HDR-PJ710V_Projector.jpg

But we're here to talk about the PJ710's built-in projector. From what we can tell, the projector doesn't appear to be any different than the DLP LED projectors we saw on last year's HDR-PJ30V camcorder from Sony. We thought the projector idea was cool back then, but certainly not a necessity, and we feel the same way today. We're happy to see Sony expanded its line of "projector cams" because we think it's a fun feature that people will get a kick out of playing with. But that's about it. This is not an essential feature, nor is it a game-changer. It's just a built-in projector that projects a decent image onto a white wall. Audio isn't great coming from the camcorder, the projector's output is only 640 x 360, and the only control you have over the projector is focus.

Viewing your videos on an HDTV will make them look far better than the built-in projector, but setting up the projector at a party or gathering is definitely a cool trick to break out once in a while. You can read more about the projector's specs and our review of it in our HDR-PJ30V camcorder review here.

NightShot

Night Shot uses infrared technology (like night vision goggles) to allow you record an image in total darkness. You just have to be willing to accept the fact that all your videos shot in this mode will come out looking bright green. This is a prized feature for people who love to take their camcorder camping, spelunking, or on nighttime tours of haunted houses.

Video Light

You can turn a video light on to give you a brightness boost when shooting in low light situations. The light isn't that bright, but the camcorder does have two intensity settings (normal and bright).

Golf Shot

This feature is entirely designed to capture and analyze a golf swing. When you turn it on, the screen is cropped on the left and right and a small white box appears in the middle of the frame. You are meant to position the golfer within this box and a message tells you to press the start/stop record button “right after impact” (we assume this is referring to the golf club hitting the golf ball). The feature works best if the camcorder is on a tripod or laying flat.

After you do all this, the camcorder will take the short bit of footage and divide into a bunch of still images. This way you can see frame-by-frame analysis of your golf swing. Maybe this feature could be used for other analysis, but the limitations on image size and record time make this difficult.

GPS

The HDR-PJ710V has built-in GPS that allows you to keep track of your videos by the location in which they were shot—and you can even view/organize clips by location on a map. Like most cameras and camcorders with GPS, the feature didn't work that well, and we couldn't pick up a signal unless we were in the great outdoors (it didn't work in our office).

Fader

You can add a black or white fade while you shoot your video clips using this setting.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Design
  3. Product Tour
  4. Performance
  5. Color Performance
  6. Low Light Performance
  7. Motion Performance
  8. Sharpness Performance
  9. Usability
  10. Ease of Use
  11. Handling
  12. Controls
  13. Features
  14. Recording Options
  15. Hardware
  16. Other Features
  17. Sony Handycam HDR-CX700V Comparison
  18. Panasonic HC-X900M Comparison
  19. Canon Vixia HF G10 Comparison
  20. Conclusion
  21. Photo Gallery
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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