Sony HDR-PJ760V Camcorder  Review

Sony’s HDR-PJ760V is a powerful little camcorder with a built-in projector. When we first unboxed the camcorder we noticed it’s a solid piece of equipment. We also saw that the covers for essential items, like the plugs and slots, are actually spring loaded doors, plastic or rubber tags. This makes it easy to plug cables in while maintaining a sleek look. The only drawback we noticed right off is the overly large lens hood; it’s large and a little difficult to attach.

How Does It Feel?

Unlike most cameras with plastic bodies that seem to be too light to do anything important, this camera means business. When we open the 3-inch 16:9 LCD panel the camera turns on with a chime and the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens is ready to capture what we put in front of it. It is an easy to hold camcorder with a good rubberized gripping surface on the strap side.

You can zoom using the rocker on top, or the touch screen buttons on the LCD. An open LCD panel reveals some important buttons: power, night shot, light and the projector on/off and play buttons. You can also power the camera by pulling out the eyepiece. When we put our hand in the strap we had to be careful to not cover or rub the microphone with our fingers or it would distort the sound. Like most newer camcorders all the menu features can be accessed in the touch screen menu.

Show It

The feature that stands out most is the projector. It is located on the rear of the LCD screen and it is a DLP LED projector that can project as large as 100-inches diagonally. The further you get away from a projection surface, the lighter the image gets but with high contrast the (640×360) still looks great. It does have a remote for easier access to the menu and controls when using the projector because it shuts off the LCD screen in order to turn on the projector.

Under the Hood

Diving into the innards, Sony took the body of its HDR-CX760V and attached a projector from the HDR-PJ30V series and wham, the PJ760V was born. So this means that you’ll find many of the same automatic and manual features that you would find in the professional Sony camcorders. So let’s go over some of those features that make this camera worth a second look. The zoom reaches 10x but with a quick turn in the menu it also has a 120x digital zoom. The downside to a digital zoom is you start to lose quality. We zoomed all the way to 120x and it started to look like a very old CRT television. It is better to just get closer to your subject or stop at 10x zoom. While the camera was zoomed in we found that there was a visual lag or image blur when we panned slowly. The auto focus is great when it comes to capturing items on the fly or when they take up the whole screen, but for the artsy shots that you might want, you can always switch to manual focus – but that’s a different problem that we’ll get into later.

The auto focus is quick to respond, and will hold well when panning as long as you don’t keep other objects in the frame for too long. Sony boasts that the PJ760V has great image stabilization and we found that to be the case. While we were walking, it kept stable with the smallest jitter showing, but nothing nauseating.

The on-board microphone is a Dolby Digital 5.1ch mic. It has a built in wind reducer, which is the next best thing to a wind muff. It’s in a good place on the front of the camera but the huge lens hood seems to lower the audio intake. That is not enough to hinder the camera but just something to keep in mind. The audio can be played back on the camera or on an optional external speaker. The RDP-CA1 is the portable speaker that is recommended for use with this camera. It is a good little speaker that works for the occasions in which you would use the projector.

The image quality is great with a 1/2.88-inch CMOS sensor and a max of 24.1 megapixels when shooting pictures. The visuals that you capture are vivid and bright. The detail up close to an object is fantastic, the gritty surfaces show all the cracks and dirt and the sleek, smooth surfaces show cleanly. White balancing is easy with the Sony one-touch white-balancing. This combines with a hefty 96GB for a lot of convenience.

Finally, let’s talk about the manual toggle. This dial is located on the front of the camera; since the front of the camera is covered by the giant lens hood, it’s hard to access. There is a button on the front of the dial that toggles the manual mode between focus, exposure, iris, shutter speed, AE shift and white balance shift.

Share With Family and Friends

This is a good camera with a great projector that allows you to view your shots instantly with friends and family. It even features an on-camera editing system so you can edit what you shoot on the fly.

If you look at the price and compare it to the 96GB and other features it is the perfect camera for the shooters on the go who love to show off what they did in the moment.

Tech Specs

Format: HD: MPEG4-AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0 format compatible; STD: MPEG2-PS Focus Approx.:.39 (1cm) – Wide, 31.5 (80cm) – Tele, 12.6 (32cm) – Tele Macro

Shutter Speed: Shutter Speed (Smooth Slow Rec): 1/250 – 1/10000 (Standard); Scene Selection: 1/8 – 1/10000; LOW LUX: 1/30 – 1/10000; Manual lris Control (Photo Mode): 1/8 – 1/725; Manual Shutter Control (Photo Mode): 1/8 – 1/250

Lens f Stop: F1.8 – F9.6

Program Exposure Modes: Auto; Flexible Spot (touch panel); Manual (dial)

Optical Zoom: 10x

Focal Length: (35mm equivalent): Movie Mode: 1-10″ (26- 260mm) (16:9), 1.25-12.52″ (31.8-318mm) (4:3)

Image Stabilization: Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization w/Active mode (Wide to Tele)

White Balance: Auto/Onepush/Outdoor/Indoor

LCD Monitor: 3.0″ Xtra Fine LCD display (921K) w/TruBlack technology

HD Modes: 1920×1080 Full HD 60p/24p

Viewfinder: 0.2″/ Color 201,600dots equivalent

Video Out: Composite (A/V connecting cable (supplied)); (Component A/V cable (supplied)); S-Video Out (A/V connecting cable with S-Video (sold separately))

Microphone In: Stereo Minijack

Headphone Jack: Stereo Minijack

Speaker: Clear Phase Stereo Speaker

Still Shot Media: 16:9: Movie mode: 24.1 megapixels 16:9 (4672×2628); Photo mode: 24.1 megapixels 16:9 (6544×3680)

Memory Card Included: 96GB flash memory

Wireless Remote: Remote Commander (RMT-835 with Battery(CR2025)

External Battery Charger Provided: No

Battery Type: Rechargeable Battery Pack (NP-FV50)

Onboard Video Light: Standard: 6lux (1/60 Shutter Speed); Low Lux: 3lux (1/30 Shutter Speed); NightShot: 0lux (1/60 Shutter Speed)

Accessory Shoe: Yes (Active Interface Shoe)

Field of View: 1

Strengths

  • Image stability
  • Wind noise reducer
  • Projector

Weaknesses

  • Lens hood
  • Audio capture and monitoring are difficult with handheld shots

Summary

This is the perfect camera for the shooters on the go that love to show off what they did in the moment.

Sony Electronics Inc.

www.store.sony.com

Price: $1,600

Andy Scheblein is a freelance graphic designer, videographer, and animator.

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