Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 – For People Who Aren’t Too Picky With Quality
There isn’t lot that can be said about the entry level camcorders from Sony – XR160, CX160, and CX130. The design is no frills and so is the feature set and hence i expected them to be a lot cheaper. However, these models are improved a lot as compared to the CX110 which is still available. These 3 models differ a lot in terms of storage- CX130 doesn’t come with any internal memory, CX160 has 16 GB of built in memory, and XR160 has 160 GB hard disk along with 5.1 channel audio. I will write about CX130 in this review. The manufacturer is coming out with PJ10 which is a fourth model in this series but it has a projector built in and I am planning to review it separately when the manufacturer sends it in my offices.
HDR-CX130 Video Quality :
The video quality of the Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 is quite good in bright light conditions and you get full HD video. However, in a lot of places where there is plenty of background detail like trees or grass along with breeze, sensor of low resolution isn’t good enough for resolving all that you will start to see the artifacts from interpolation and the video compression in spite of the bit rates which are relatively higher.
Handycam HDR-CX130 Colour Quality :
Colours were looking quite pleasing and they are saturated sufficiently. Things were well white balanced and the bright white highlights were blown out. This is acceptable consdidering the low price which most of the users will not mind.
HDR-CX130 Video Quality :
Video taken in moderate low light conditions look quite decent and there is some noisiness and softness in living room dim shadow level of light. Colour is traded off by this camcorder to give you better sharpness and visibility. You get video that is usable and there isn’t plenty of graininess.
Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 Photos :
Photos that you take with the Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 are serviceable but you shouldn’t on this device to replace your standard camera. The photos looked colourful and bright in my tests but there was that processed and smeary look of digital and cheap camera as they are scaled up from native res to 1.9 mp from 1.67 mp.
Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 Display :
LCD is small and it goes well with the compact body of the Sony Handycam HDR-CX130. Just like most camcorder screens, this one too is hard to see in direct sunlight conditions. It can be used as touch screen but the response isn’t good enough. However, I didn’t mind the unresponsiveness as there isn’t a lot to touch either.
Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 Features :
Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 can autofocus accurate and quick even when there are dim lighting conditions. But just like all the other camcorders, this one sometimes chooses wrong subject or simply jumps in to the mode of face detection when you do not want. The exposure and metering decisions are quite incorrect. You get to turn off the IA and then use touch focus of the touch exposure for forcing it but I didn’t have to do this too often in my tests. If you work in last ninety percent of range of zoom or just hold this camcorder along with arms that are outstretched, then you should keep this camcorder on the Active Steady Shot for all time. However, overall, image standard stabilization works quite well.
CX160 and CX130 are relatively small but they aren’t smallest in this class. XR160 is a bit heavier and larger due to the presence of hard drive inside and if you are having bigger hands, then you can use it for your advantage. Top of this camcorder has photo and mode buttons and they feel really close together and the zoom switch too is a bit loose. Controlling the speed and zoom was a bit hard during my tests. USB cable is tiny and tucks in to strap and this will come in handy when you are on road.
Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 isn’t fully automatic but it still comes close. You get choice of 4 modes of shooting – Smooth Slow Record (three motion seconds are played back at twenty five per cent speed, photo, movie, and the Golf Shot (two motion seconds are captured as the multiple frames). ‘Manual’ settings are spot meter, focus, exposure compensation, and white balance. However, they are in menu system and aren’t accessible for being too useful. Camcorder is meant for use in the auto mode and it runs very well from this perspective. Best feature is wide angle lens and they start at about 30 mm.
Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 Price :
Price of Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 is $244.00
To conclude, I would say that due to trend in this class of price for using sensors that are underpowered, by the longer lenses, it is really hard for making recommendations that is unreserved for this category. If you aren’t really picky regarding video quality, then you may not notice any difference and for this case, the series is good choice. Things here aren’t too different from the rest out there. I will recommend you to go for the CX130 as it isn’t really worth paying extra bucks for the hard drive of the built in memory.
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