Sony HDR-CX350 review

Full review: Robust high definition camcorder joins Sony's Handcam range

Image 1 of 2 Sony HDR CX350 lifestyle
Sony HDR-CX350 lifestyle
Image 2 of 2 Sony HDR CX350 side
Sony HDR-CX350 side

Sony HD digital camcorder with 7MP images and GPS

Most of us use camcorders to record the antics of family, friends, or ourselves, but for those holidays in exotic climes, we might also conceivably be shooting landscapes. And for that a wider than average lens reach is handy to squeeze in those expansive panoramas.

Majoring on such a feature is Sony’s robust feel Handycam, the CX350, combining wide-angle 27.4mm lens, 7.1 megapixel stills and Full HD 1080p AVCHD format video from a Exmor R CMOS sensor. Sony claims its wider lens allows for a shooting area twice as big as competitors, whilst the new sensor has doubled sensitivity to light – partly due to a back-illuminated chip design that ensures wires don’t obscure photosensitive areas – meaning in theory a better performance in lower lighting conditions.

----------------------------------------------------

More on Sony imaging products:

Sony Bloggie PM5 review

Sony NEX-5 hands-on

Sony DSC-W380 review

----------------------------------------------------

Auto focus is furthermore twice as fast to lock on target as predecessors, with composition courtesy of 2.7in, 230,400 pixels widescreen touch panel LCD. This flips out at right angles from the body in conventional camcorder fashion, though we did find some of the screen icons a little too small and therefore awkward to operate swiftly with pinpoint accuracy.

Still, the CX350 feels comfortable gripped in the palm at a weight of 320g (without battery/card), being of sufficient size to snake your fingers around almost its entirety for a firm hold. Footage is stored on the 32GB internal memory, or Memory Stick or Secure Digital card, both which share the same slot.

Sony HDR-CX350: Features

Showing its mettle there’s also built-in GPS that tracks your position as you travel, allowing you to relive your journey back home in conjunction with Google Maps. But features such as this come at a price (of around £750) and aren't perhaps essential to everyone.

The modest 12x optical zoom is supported by Optical SteadyShot anti-shake mechanism to help avoid tell-tale jerkiness when shooting handheld, or whilst walking and filming at the same time. The result is impressively smooth shooting.

Sony HDR-CX350: Stills, sound and video

iAuto combines face recognition functionality with the ability to recognize ten different scene types, ensuring the Sony CX350 delivers optimum results. There’s even a special golf shot mode that breaks down your swing into a series of images to allow scientific scrutiny - all you do is point and shoot. Elsewhere there’s stereo recording and zoom microphone provides the ability to zero in on your subject and avoid background chatter or otherwise audible distractions.

In terms of video quality, this being a Sony, colours are warm and well saturated – reds particularly eye popping and skin tones bright and healthy looking – with detail and sound impressively clear when viewed back on a flat panel telly. So if you like distinctive colour, you’ll love this.

For those looking to go wide and occasionally shoot in low light too, the Sony CX350 literally has all angles covered.but if you don't need the extras, consider rivals like the Panasonic HDC-SD600 offering similar features at £150 less.

The Sony HDR-CX350 is out now, find out more from Sony

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Specifications

Sensor: 1/4 EXMOR R CMOS
Max resolution: 1920x1080i, 24fps
Still images: 7MP
Lens: 12x optical Sony G Lens
Stabiliser: Optical SteadyShot Active anti shake
LCD: 2.7inch, 230,400
Sound: Dolby Digital
Connectivity: USB 2.0, component, HDMI, S-VIDEO
Storage: 32GB, MSPro, SD/SDHC/SDHX
Dimensions: 112x64x52mm
Weight: 320g (ex battery)

Tags