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Sony HDR-TD10 3D Camcorder Review

Sony HDR-TD10 3D Camcorder Review

Fun, easy and effective 3D video with the option of 2D video at any phase makes the TD10 an excellent choice for bringing depth to your scenes.

The uncertain future of 3D has left many video creators reluctant to invest in 3D equipment, and rumors of cumbersome file formats have left many shying away from the technology all together. Fortunately, the Sony TD10 soothes many concerns by providing users with both 2D and 3D shooting capabilities.

Well-rounded Features

By appearances alone, it's obvious that the Sony TD10 is not your run-of-the-mill camcorder. The two wide-angle G lenses instantly set the camera apart from typical 2D single-lens cameras. Additionally, its brick-like shape further distinguishes the TD10 from other camcorders. The rectangular form seems a bit odd at first, but surprisingly fits rather comfortably in the hand and balances nicely in a variety of holding styles.

The buttons found on the outside of the TD10 are standard to most consumer camcorders: a start/stop (record) button; a wide/telephoto rocker; a photo button for taking stills; and a dial for setting manual controls including new-kid-on-the-block, 3D Depth Adjustment, which provides manual control of convergence in your 3D scene. The 2D/3D switch on the rear of the camera makes it easy to quickly switch from one format to the other and a Mode button allows you to switch between video and photo mode. However, photo capability is only available in the 2D mode, as are a handful of the manual controls.

Should the 3D display cause any viewing discomfort there is an on/off button that allows the user to continue shooting in 3D while monitoring in only two dimensions. While we didn't experience any problems viewing the 3D image, it is a nice option to have available. In addition to physical buttons, a myriad of controls can be found within the Touch Panel LCD screen.

To power on the camera all one has to do is flip open the LCD screen. The 3.5-inch parallax barrier screen crisply displays your image in glasses-less 3D while in shooting mode or in playback mode. The clarity of the immediate 3D preview is really quite astounding and unmatched when compared to other models. Additionally, the glasses-less 3D screen provided us with an instant way to monitor our 3D footage.

Shooting 3D video with the Sony TD10 is as easy as turning it on and pressing record. That being said, the camera does require some practice in order to achieve a consistently good 3D shot. Due to the nature of fixed dual lenses, objects located closer than three feet to the TD10's lenses resulted in ghosting, a quality that is not only bothersome to the eyes, but detracts from the 3D effect. Objects too far away had a tendency to flatten, lessening their 3D appearance. Fortunately, the glasses-less 3D monitor allowed us to quickly determine if repositioning was needed to acquire a better 3D image; a mistake that would otherwise only be realized in post production. The TD10 also features Sony's Optical SteadyShot Image stabilization, which resulted in noticeably smoother handheld shooting.

2D or Not 2D

One of our favorite things about the TD10 is that you're never stuck with the 3D footage, which begs the question: why shoot in 2D at all? The Sony TD10 features two Full HD (1920x1080) 1/4-inch Exmor R CMOS sensors - one for each lens. The dual sensors not only provide for a higher resolution 3D video (as opposed to two images having to split the resolution of a single sensor), but they also provide the user with the choice to pull captured video from a single sensor for 2D use. We were delighted to find that we could shoot everything in 3D and still edit and watch a 2D video with the same footage.

3D That Doesn't Fall Flat

Playing our footage back on a 3DTV was surprisingly simple. The only action required was to plug the camcorder in via HDMI cable and pres play. Despite the lack of time spent planning our 3D scenes, the resulting 3D video was impressive. Our flowers popped off the screen and our courtyard appeared to be right there in front of us.

Despite any prior reluctance to embrace the third dimension, we were surprisingly pleased with the Sony TD10. The safety net of the omnipresent 2D video gave us the confidence to shoot anything and everything in 3D, while the TD10 provided a quality 3D video with little to no effort. When all was said and done, we found Sony's TD10 to be a great option for those wanting to produce their own videos that, quite literally, pop off the screen.

Tech Specs

Imaging Sensor (2): 1/4" (4.5mm) Back-illuminated "Exmor R" CMOS Sensor
Processor: BIONZ Image processor
Internal Media: Flash Memory 64GB
Memory Card Slot: Memory Stick PRO Duo, SD/SDHC/SDXC (Class 4 or higher)
Video Format: 3D HD: MVC (original format); HD: MPEG4-AVC/ H.264 AVCHD 2.0 format compatible (1080/60p: original format); STD: MPEG2-PS
Video Resolution: 3D HD: 2x 1920x1080/60i; HD: 1920x1080/60p,24p,60i (FX, FH), 1440x1080/60i (HQ, LP); STD: 720x480/60i
Audio Format: Dolby Digital 5.1ch; Dolby Digital 2ch Stereo
Microphone: Built-in Zoom Microphone
Mic Level Control: Yes (2steps)
Speaker: Stereo
LCD Type: 3.5" LCD 3D display, Touch Panel
Lens Type: G Lens
Lens Stabilization: Optical (wide (3D)/ Wide to Tele (2D))
SD Output: Composite Video Out; Component Video Out; S Video Out
HD Output: HDMI Out (mini); Component Video Out
USB Port(s): TypeA, mini-AB/USB2.0 Hi-speed
DC IN: Yes
Headphone Jack: Stereo Minijack
Microphone Input: Stereo Minijack
Accessory Shoe: Yes (Active Interface Shoe)
Minimum Focus Distance: 3D Approx. 3ft. (80cm)
Zoom: Optical 10x (3D) / 12x (2D), Digital 160x (2D only)
AF Modes: Auto, Manual
Exposure Settings: Auto; Flexible Spot (Touch Panel)
White Balance: Auto, Manual (2D only) - Onepush / Outdoor / Indoor
Iris Control: Auto, Manual (2D only)
Direct Copy: Yes
Dimensions: Approx. 2 1/4" x 2 5/8" x 5 1/8" (74mm x 86.5mm x 148.5mm)
Weight: Approx. 22.6oz (645g)

Strengths

  • Instant glasses-less 3D monitoring
  • Double Full HD (1920x1080) 3D video
  • 2D use of all 3D footage
  • Direct Copy to a HDD (no need for a computer)

Weaknesses

  • Manual 3D Depth Adjustment indicator lacked sufficient information for precise control
  • No 3D stills

Summary

Fun, easy and effective 3D video with the option of 2D video at any phase makes the TD10 an excellent choice for bringing depth to your scenes.

Sony Electronics, Inc
http://store.sony.com
$1,500

Julie Babcock is Videomaker's Associate Editor

Tags:  January 2012
Julie
Babcock
Sun, 01/01/2012 - 12:00am

Comments

3dlover's picture

hi Julie, thanks for your review.after checking hundreds of websites, reviews, etc about this Sony camcorder, finally someone talks about the quality in 3d, even if it's just a few words about your flowers popping off the screen. I purchased a 60" 3d sharp, one week ago, and we've had a great time watching cars 2, puss in boots and tonight, the lion king, all in 3d. I have no words to describe how great 3d is. I have a Canon hf200, 2d only, of course, but what a marvellous 2d. I've been checking the Sony camcorder you reviewed, but hundreds of guys talk about bitrate, weight, this and that, but not a single one talked about the 3d footages they probably did during their tests.and for me, that was the most important thing. since you did your review a few months ago, I was wondering if you had been able to do some extra footage in 3d, with this Sony. I would be really interested to know about the 3d quality, if things come automatically out of screen if shot close, if the quality compares to/ comes close/ is far from, for example, a 3d movie, with its incredible depth of field or the crazy out of the screen effects. can we have a little control on which object we want to focus, while shooting in 3d? like the level of the 3d effect, for example? besides the 3d effects, is the 3d 1080i great, just like the 2d? if you have some 3d video samples you could share with me, even some short sequences, (I have 60gb FTP space on my provider:), it would be great.I could play them on my Oppo player. sorry Julie for this long comment,I know there is a chance over 1 billion you will come here and read my comment and help me, but at least, I will have tried with you:) no offense here. thanks for your review. regards