Sony Handycam HDR-TG7VE

# Pure titanium body with scratch-resistant Premium Hard Coating
# Records up to 6 hr Full HD video on ...
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Item added by jedi58. Added on 11/24/2009
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1 Reviews

jedi58
11/25/2009

Sony Handycam HDR-TG7VE 4

When it comes to cameras I've always preferred to go with Canon, though that being said I bought a Sony camcorder when I first got one about 7 years ago. It was a fairly bulky digital camcorder that used mini DV tapes to record on and it did make it to several different countries - but due to it's size and poor video quality I didn't use it as much as I liked. SO instead I decided it was time to get rid of it and to try another, smaller, higher quality Sony camera in the form of the HDR-TG7VE.

This new camcorder came out in 2009 and has had some really good reviews from a lot of techie sites so I thought it would be a good choice. In the UK it is priced at around £550 - 600 depending on which online retailer you go to, in the high street it will probably cost slightly more. I've not been using it long but I already see why it's worth it's price tag.

To state the features on the box it records in full HD quality (1080i) and has 16Gb of internal storage which will last for about 2 hours on the maximum quality, or more if you're okay to reduce the quality a little. If you find that isn't enough then you can also use a 16Gb Memory Stick as well; which of course are silly prices at around £50, (inclusive of a USB adapter) compared to the cheaper SD and CF formats. One thing that is worth noting is that if you intend on recording long sessions of video on it that it will split the video into 2Gb files automatically so that it can be imported okay - it may also be a limitation of the file system used by the camera (similar to FAT32).

The build quality is excellent, and is made of a tough titanium casing with special protective coating. The lens, as with most Sony camcorders, is a Carl Zeiss lens which are fairly well known for their quality. My only concerns is the durability of the two spring-loaded flaps and the video screen as if anything breaks it will be one of those parts. It's not that they're poorly made though, it's because they have the weakest joints and a bit of force on them would likely cause them to break (I won't try it though!).

If you're someone who travels a lot then sometimes it can be helpful to know where you were when you took a particular photograph or recorded some video - which makes the GPS feature it has built in quite useful as it will automatically geo-tag the content with your current co-ordinates. Of course leaving GPS on all the time will drain the power quite quickly so it's best to turn it off when you're not using it. The GPS can also be used in conjunction with built in mapping software powered by Navteq - unfortunately I've not yet used this feature properly so can't really report on how well it works. It should however automatically adjust date/time for recordings as well based upon your GPS location and what was recorded as being the "home" location.

With the default settings you can apparently get 100 minutes out of the included battery, though this will of course vary depending on your settings and how you use the camcorder. If you're out and about and unsure of how much video you may need to take during the day I recommend equipping yourself with a second battery (NP-FH50) in case of emergency.

The camera itself includes a A/V R connector which is used for connecting remote controls (of which some of their tripods have one built in), and the connectivity of the docking station it comes with isn't bad either as it includes HDMI out, a mini USB 2.0 connector and an A/V out socket. For the A/V out socket the camera includes cables for component (RGB) and S-Video. Also included is a normal mini-A to B USB cable and a special cable which can connect the camera's "edge connector" to your PC or Mac using USB without the need for the dock. I was quite surprised that there was no way of using Firewire to transfer the video.

What I was totally shocked about was the size of the camera, it actually fits in my pocket no problem, even in loose fitting jeans it still fits in the pocket. The quality of the video is great, even in low light conditions. Sometime in the next few weeks I'll try and get some video uploaded to Vimeo / YouTube to demonstrate the quality.

An example photograph I took using it was sized at 1728x1249 and used the built in Flash. Zooming right in to the photo you can see some of the artefacts caused by the JPEG compression, but it isn't as bad as it could be considering it was taken with a camcorder.


(click to view full size)

The software included with the camera isn't something I've really used yet, but I hear if you're a Mac user that it's a little trickier to get working. I imagine though it will work fine with iMovie or Final Cut anyway. For Windows users it works okay with 32-bit operating systems, inclusive of XP SP3, Vista SP1 and Windows 7.

The playback of the video on the camera itself is done using the touchscreen which seems a bit "iffy" at first, but once you remember to press firmly it almost becomes second nature; although it still isn't as good as the touch interface on the iPhone. There are plenty of other features too, but they're all mentioned in the item description so you don't really need me to repeat them.

I've never been a big fan of Sony and have always considered them to be overpriced - you pay more for the name than the quality which is why for most things I try to avoid them. In this case though I'm glad I went with this camcorder and have so far been very pleased.

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