|Sony HDR-SR11 10.2-MP 60GB High Definition Hard Drive Handycam Camcorder with 12x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom
|List Price: $950.00
Our Price: $950.00
Shoot video and still photographs like a pro. Sony's HDR-SR11 Handycam camcorder has everything you need for a superior video and photo experience. Its Face Detection technology, made possible by the ClearVid CMOS sensor (with Exmor technology) and BIONZ image processor, helps make sure people look their best in videos and photos. Capture extremely detailed video in Full 1920 x 1080 High Definition resolution, as well as stunning 10.2 megapixel still photos. The camcorder records directly to a built-in 60GB hard drive or your choice of removable Memory Stick Duo or Memory Stick PRO Duo media.
- Record video to 60 GB hard disk drive or Memory Stick media
- 1920 x 1080 Full HD video resolution; 10.2-megapixel still image capture
- 3.2-inch wide touch panel Xtra Fine LCD? display (921k pixels)
- x.v.Color captures and displays lifelike color
- Dolby Digital 5.1-channel recording
- No Good
It is a very good camera. BUT the editing software that came with it is lame. You cannot edit and save in HD on a hard drive unless you burn a dvd. You can edit and save in mpeg! So what is the purpose of HD camera. I tried many third party editing software, all had the same problems....more info
- Great Product
I took of one star off because It was very difficult to find a proper video editing software for the format this camera stores the video files in. I am still looking for one.....
Other wise i like everything about it and i got it for a great price from Amazon....more info
- Good HD quality movies but camera still-shots is slow
I bought this camcorder back in May 2008 to capture my son's milestones and events. I wanted to buy a HDD camera so I did not have to worry about tape and tape storage. At the time, I figured Sony had the best available HD HDD camcorder.
- HD quality movie is good.
- Battery life is good (1.5 hours)
- Slow Motion Capture is a plus plus - good for capturing action scenes
- Night Vision is a plus
- Camcorder was Small and had a nice profile
- No need for Tape
- Data transfer via USB
- Easy to use
- Touch screen functionality
- Taking Camera still-shots was slow. Need steady hands and/or use of tripod
- AVCHD does not play on your Windows Media Player
- Need to buy Video Editing software - bought Vegas Pro.
- Camcorder is small but does not fit in your pocket - still need to buy a bag for it
Overall the camcorder is good - the movies I took with it are excellent. the 60 GB HDD is big, you can store several hours of movie clips in it that you can play at your grampas or friends house.
My only regret is that I wished I had waited a few months - I would have gotten the memory stick HD camcorder from Sony instead. As with any kids event - portability is key. Imagine the ability of carrying a camcorder in your pocket that you can pull out any time.
my two cents :)...more info
- Excellent Consumer Camcorder
I've had this camcorder for over a month now, and have shot several hours of video. The quality is excellent! Love the size, the seperate viewfinder, video quality, facal recognitin focusing, ease of menu use, pretty much everything. Still picture image quality is OK, I believe it's extrapolated to 10mp. The only con so far is the sensitivity of the microphone(s) to wind noise.
Editing HD video by the average person is still in its infancy, but Sony VEGAS does a great job. The HD holds many hours of video even on the highest quality setting, and I've used it successfully down to 15 degrees F with no problems. Plan on getting the larger capacity battery, as 45mins is about it with the one included....more info
- As Good as They Get
This is one very good camcorder. I've had the HDR-SR11 for about 6 to eight weeks. I've shot a lot with it since then. I was very early on the bandwagon for digital camcorders. I've been thinking of going to HD for a while. I tried out a couple of Canons, then made an irrational choice I picked the Sony not based on a tryout but on my past history with Sony and a friend who claimed to have tried out both and liked the Sony better. Th camera is built like a tank, it gives the iompression of quality. The user interface is tremendous, I had problems using this camera for about 10 minutes byt then I'd figured it out and really like the user interface. The bundled software is OK. It allows very easy download and you can put a simple movie together withit. I use it only for downloading as Nero 9 is harder to download to. For everything else I use Nero 9.
The camera is solid with plenty of adjustments, and the sound is really good on its internal 5.1 mic. The most impressive are the auto settings. They produce great results when you're in a hurry and just need to shoot. One suggestion you need two accessories an extra battery at least the NP70 and most importantly a uv or neutral density filter basically smooth window glass but it does keep the inside lens clean and my UV clears a little haze. A big memory stick pro duo is handy but not necessary.
I personally believe that this is the best consumer level camcorder out there. I like it better than the canons I tried but they were also good and certainly not bad choices.
With great low light performance an immense disk drive plus it's ability to use the new fast memory stick duo line you don't have a lot to worry about even if you can fill up the disk which should be empty when you start your day you can switch ove to the menory stick and keep on shooting.
Some complain that the camera is too big or too small I disagree. My wife uses it comfortably and has tiny hands mine are huge, I could palm a basketball when I was 11. Botyh of us find the camera quite usable thus the ergonomics are good. It is a bit heaver than some but not a lot and it is much steadier than the real lightweights.
It produces great color and sound, sharp focus, and very good low light performance. I don't hesitate to give it a hardy recommendation....more info
- Excellent Product
The SR11 was bought from amazon have used it for about a month excellent product. Recommend it to any new buyer. Shop around on Amazon the price varies all the time and amazon doesn't give a price adjustment so if you find it cheaper you have to return the one at a the higher price and reorder and Amazon charges for the shipping. ...more info
- The dream machine!
This true Full-HD camcorder is close to perfection. Light but not too light, with excellent image quality (especially when viewed on a 1080p HDTV), impressive sound reproduction, large hard drive space allowing quick retrieval of well-organized clips. Great optical zoom, great image stabilization, great built-in flexibility of image recordings, excellent connectivity options. And it has a very convenient old-fashioned viewfinder too, (lacking from most competitors) in addition to the large LCD screen!
Manual could be a bit more detailed.
If you also need excellent still picture quality however, in spite of the 10 Megapixels, the final quality of the still images is somewhat lacking (but who cares? With about $ 1,000 you got a huge, unbeatable value for the camcorder anyway!) ...more info
- Excellent Camcoder
Very well desinged. Good memory, Poor battery life. Zoom and lens system is of excellent quality. Start-up is quick. LCD is good and viewfinder is a boon in bright sunlight.
Easy operation and easy interface with PC. Need M2TS to Avi converter to convert videos....more info
- Awesome Video, Stills need better lighting
This camera takes awesome video. Friends and family are stunned as to how well it works on the big screen.
The 10 megapixel camera works well in daylight-so now finally we have one device to bring for stills and video when outdoors.
However-the built in flash does not work well indoors. Flash off is underlit and the autofocus fails then. You get this shaky hand icon. With flash on-subject is overlit and the redeye reduction is useless. There are 3 flash modes low, normal and high. Even low flash overexposes things.
Also the stills look different in the LCD than the do on the computer-they look better on the computer. Whereas the video looks great in LCD and on TV.
I might try the addon flash from Sony (HVL-HFL1) but $149.99 seems really steep. If anyone has used an add-on flash for this camera for nice natural lighting indoors please let all of us know.
Also the HDMI connector uses Mini-HDMI, suprise! So regular HDMI cable ends won't work. I tried a mini connector add on-but no sound came through the TV-just the picture. So I use the component cables. Could be I setup something wrong when using HDMI on my TV or the camera-but would not know since the instructions are really weak in the HDMI area.
Overall we are happy-four stars....more info
- Maybe my expecations were too high?
I like this camera. I like the size and the feature set, but to my eye, the AVCHD video quality isn't quite there. It's good, but there is still some "star-stepping" visible around light and dark points, particularly in lower light. I'm comparing this to HDV video shot with my HDR-HC1 and I prefer the less compressed HDV video. That being said, I don't miss the video capture process I had to go through with HDV to get it onto the computer for editing, so I will keep this camera. FYI, for those of you looking for software that works with AVCHD, I've had great success with Sony Vegas Platinum. Whatever you do, don't buy Adobe Premier Elements - it doesn't support AVCHD and is very, very buggy.
- Easy to load video to PC
- Good form factor; not as small as the Canon HF10, but small
- Nice big screen
- Viewfinder for those bright sunny days (HF10 does not have a viewfinder)
- Able to hold lots of video
- Some compression artifacts visible in video
- Some skipping in video during rapid movements/ fast pans
- Slow focus lock in indoor lighting situations
- Sony HDR-SR11
I bought this Camcorder with two thoughts in mind.
1. Get a quality product (at the best price). Solution: SONY and Amazon.
2. Future-proof myself with up-gradeability. I do not have Blue Ray, but I will someday. So I wanted High Quality Standard Definition now and the capability to go HD in the future. The SR-11 has both. Plus, I can now leave my still camera home with the 10.2 Mp camera built right in.
My first test was to film a video and download to my computer. Easy...so-far-so-good. Record to DVD+R and play on my old TV. No problem and it looks as good as any DVD movie you buy at the store.
I had also heard of computing power problems because of the compression of the videos. I have an HP laptop with a AMD TurionX2 TL-58 1.8 Ghz with 2 gig ram and a 250GB SATA (2)Hard drives. It handled the video quickly , no problems.
The pictures turned out great and the facial recognition (focus point)is really cool. As soon as a face turns to the camera it picks it up.
All in all, Great JOB to SONY (and to AMAZON for the best price). ...more info
- Love it.
get it, its easy to use, and the photos are great. make sure you get a carring case......more info
- Sony HDR-SDR11
Best high definition camcorder! The only thing is they should include mini HDMI cable. Other than that I recommend it to everybody....more info
- Great quality camcorder
I was shopping around at other places, but after reading reviews about the businesses offering this camcorder, most of the cheaper places seemed to be scams or places that earn their money pressuring you to buy accessories, etc.
The picture quality is phenomenal, even indoors and in low light. There is some graininess at the edges, but subjects always look great. The built-in mic records in 5.1 surround, and while I haven't really tried to listen to each channel it does pick up a surprising amount.
All ports are protected by hard plastic covers that slide or flip open, as opposed to rubber stoppers, which at least gives a sense of a better build quality than most. Some ado has been made of the control dial, which is the metal knob located just below the lens, it's visible in the product picture; it's OK, but can only be assigned one function at a time, either focus, white balance, or exposure, and if you want to change the function, you have to go through several presses of the touchscreen.
The touchscreen itself is fairly responsive and accurate, and logically laid out. There's also a dedicated, hardware "easy" button if you don't want to fuss with it and just point/shoot.
AVCHD as a format seems to be getting more universally accepted as a video format to edit; I have an aging Pentium 4 3GHz and playback can be a slight issue, it's not terribly smooth or watchable. I'd recommend getting a mini HDMI cable, the camcorder only comes with a SD plug with RCA outs and the picture quality is terrible in comparison. Included software is the barest barebones, you can transfer video and pictures to your computer, watch/view them, and burn raw footage to DVD in standard definition.
I believe that the measure of a camcorder is the quality of its video, though, and this one shoots 5 star video; most gripes that I have really have to do with the cost of upgrading to HD, like getitng a HDMI cable, HD editing software, parts for my computer so it can edit/playback smoothly, etc., which really aren't the camera's fault. Aside from being able to more efficiently utilize the control dial, I can't think of anything I'd want to improve on this camcorder....more info
- happy customer
This is a great camcorder. Takes awesome digital photos too.
Yes, it's really Full HD. Expensive, but worth every penny....more info
This camcorder is great. It replaces a SD JVC camcorder that died; fortunately just prior to my first child being born. So I did my due diligence and finally chose the SR11 from Sony. The SR12 is identically spec'd but with a larger hard drive, thus more capacity. I went with the SR11 as even on the highest HD setting, I would have to change the battery several times before the hard drive would fill up. For me I have found that decision to hold up well and I come nowhere close to filling up the 60GB hard drive between recordings. I saved a few pennies vs the SR12 and applied that to getting an extended capacity battery. Much better money spent IMO. The batteries on these cams are getting better but you still need an extended pack to record a long session. What good is the extra capacity if you don't have the battery life? The HD is not a limiting factor for how much you can record, its the battery life. SO for a similar amount of money as an SR12 I have an SR11 that can actually record more with my extra battery before I have to go and find a power outlet. Besides if I ever (don't know how) fill up the hard drive, I can slap in stick media and record to it!
As far as quality goes, it is stunning. I have a 50" Pioneer plasma HD deisplay and this camera really makes it shine. It is amazing that for this amount of money my home movies look 10x better than my local networks SD newscast. As a matter of fact, it's really not that far behind the HD video being broadast; especialy when considering the money involved! This camera is the difference between watching home movies that look like 10 year old tapes on America's Funniest Home Videos and watching your newborn baby on blu-ray. Money well spent IMO.
It has strong additional features as well. The facial recognition feature is very effective. The 5 channel (not 5.1) microphone works surprisingly well too. The soundstage surprised me on the first clips I replayed on my home theater. Sound panned as I panned the camera; all this on a consumer grade cam is amazing. The hybrid recording is a plus in my opinion too. Pepole get scared at the thought of walking around with a hard drive getting bumped around. This has not been an issue with these cameras so far but lets consider the possibility. The key advantage of Sony's hybrid system is in case a failure does occur. The Canon's I looked at were either flash memory or hard drive only. If either fails you are done. With Sony's system say the hard drive does die, just slap in some stick memory and keep on rolling video. The flash memory only camcorders appear to be much cheaper but add in the cost of getting the stick media and see that advantage almost disappear. Toss in the fact that the biggest stick media is around 50% of the capacity of this camera's hard drive and 25% of the big brother SR12 and you're gonna be switching memory cards or uploading to the laptop much more frequently. Plus there's the possibility you could misplace them juggling them around while on vacation.
Again in summary, money well spent and hard to believe this level of quality is finally within reach of us end-users....more info
- Bravo! Sony
excellent ease of control, steadiness of the shot, clear pictures. especially loved the lightness of the camera and how it fit into the aplm of my hand....more info
- Very Nice Camera
I enjoy this camera very much. Video quality is amazing and its very easy to use. I generally play my video through my playstation 3 and the quality blows me away every time I watch. 5.1 sound is very well done and in a hometheatre environment its amazing. I have had to upgrade my computer a bit to better handle editing movies. Im using Sony Vegas 8 Pro to edit and create my movies. Very pleased with the price paid through amazon ($699) as it sells for much more everywhere else. I had purchased a JVC camera first and was not happy at all with the movie quality so I opted to spend more and get a far superior camera and not have to worry about low quality movies....more info
- Very Nice Product
This is a very good camera. Quality of the picture is very very good. Only the bad about this camera is you need to have a converting software to play the video on DVD players....more info
- sony handycam
It's a few weeks now and I have bought this item directly from amazon....it works really great and I am extremely happy with the product let alone the discount on this product. Amazon sells really good, reliable and qulaity goods. I am one very happy customer of yours and rest assured I will continue to buy my stuff from amazon.com...more info
- No Regrets
Camera works as advertised. A few tidbits though. The results of taking a photo from movie mode while in standby versus photo mode are different. No surprise here I guess as it makes some sense, but it would be nice if I could change an option on the camera such that taking a photo in standby video mode would be the same as switching to photo mode, taking the picture and switching back. Also, oddly iMovie can import directly from the camera and works great, but Final Cut Express 4 must convert the video on import making it bigger and not intuitive on whether you're losing resolution along the way (yes you can obviously see what's happening, but compared to the free iMovie, it isn't as easy). The other oddity for me is that in video mode the camera obviously can record in realtime, but in photo mode the shutter speed is very slow even though it has a flash and that results in frequently blurry images if your subject moves at all. I don't understand why it can't record the image it sees in one frame, especially with the flash compensating for lighting which would be why the shutter speed would be longer.
Anyway, no regrets buying this camera. Feels good, works well and amazing for the price....more info
- excellent camera my very first one
sorry amazon i bought my camera form circuitcity for 100 doaalrs cheaper and got a free batter, and camera bag for 100 dollars more so i saved money one thing that really got attention fro this camera was the eyepiecce to look into if the sun is to bright and you cant use lcd screen touch screen whcich could be had to see sometimes because of the glare of lights you use the eye piece to capture your video or images hands down winner i highly recomend it.
this is great camera video is great, picture quality is great easy to use and navigate it has an option to switch night vision on and off best part is you could buy accersories for teh camera brighter flash widescreen lens, extra zoom lens water proof casing thats good for 17 feet
my only complaint is that you need the computer program that comes with the camera to transfer your pictures, and video to your pc thats the only thing i dont like about the camera...more info
- Very good camcorder.
Camcorder is very good. Be ready to spent time in order to be familiar with all features of it. It is not easy for amateurs. But Sony has excellent technical support which uses tall free number. Very weak software. Probably Sony thinks you will buy additional software or use some free software which already exists in your computer....more info
- one bad design
I used to put a filter to protect the lens on my camcorder and camera. I add the UV filter on my HDR-SR11. Guess what ... this will disable the build-in flash. There is a tiny trigger next to the lens, once you screwed in the filter, the trigger will disable the build-in flash. The manual does not mention this nor label this tiny trigger. If you have the same problem, you need to take off the filter before taking any still image with the flash. ...more info
- Great Camera
The picture quality is amazing and the touch screen controls are easy to use and navigate. Software is limited in editing functions....more info
- Very good product
Pros - Nothing to highlight
Con - I get a lot of red-eye pictures. I guess I need to read the manual one more time to see if there is way to eliminate or reduce this....more info
- Amazing, Amazing, Amazing
I am a typical home video shooter - a 26 year old stay at home, computer geek mom who just wants some nice, lasting shots of my baby & family vacations to burn to DVD.
This little camcorder does it all and more. The image quality is superb, even on the lowest setting. I don't have a blue ray player, and we don't own a high def television, so I'm not concerned so much with the currently less common HD format. Therefore, I keep mine on the standard "high quality" mode - sometimes normal quality - to conserve space. But even that produces video far superior to anything I've ever owned in the digital video realm. My mother has a 40 inch plasma flat panel HD TV and even the video I shoot in "standard" mode looks awesomely crisp and clear.
I've had my sony since January and have used it in a variety of situations - evening, prom atmosphere, beach at night, beach at day, fireworks, cloudy day, midnight, regular day, indoors, low-light, and even fluorescent walmart type lighting.
* Small, lightweight, easy to handle
* LCD rotates full 180o vertically and horizontally
* Touch screen with easy to navigate menus (they don't have too many levels)
* There is an "easy" button if you want to turn off all the more technical aspects
* Video looks cinematic (as if you're watching a real professional movie) when shown on tv
* Surround Sound is outstanding, even at the beach.
* The zoom microphone setting works very well - tried it sitting halfway back in the audience at a high school theater play. Could barely hear the people on stage in real life, but the camcorder picked up everyone's voice vividly.
* Regular nightshot and slow motion works great, and is just FUN, fun fun fun.
* Quick on / quick off (stand-by) button
* Take photos WHILE video is recording
* Auto-focus with an easy to switch to manual dial on front
* You can change the Megapixel level of your photos (10MP, 7MP, 3MP, etc)
* Auto-self timer
* The division of photos vs. video in the menu
* Docking station for charging
* Wireless remote control (I LOVE this feature!)
* The LCD screen is super sharp - I could even see it perfectly at the beach.
* The picture motion browser software is very useful, although I did have a high learning curve with it. Once I figured it out though, it makes importing, sorting, and burning video fast and easy.
As with everything else, there are a few things that do annoy me though, but I can live with it. :)
* The twilight & "super nightshot" settings are TERRIBLE if you move around and causes a strobe-light movement effect. They are best used on a tripod with very little scene movement.
* Image stabilization could be a lot better. It doesn't get terrible though unless you're in digital zoom - then it's almost impossible to get a steady shot if you're holding it.
* Slow motion records less light - produces darker video than normal.
* Really low light photos have to be manually focused & adjusted to ensure a clear shot.
* You can't view previously shot high def video when you are shooting in standard (and vice versa).
* Flash should be turned off in most shots as it seems to always produce red-eye. It does offer a red-eye reduction setting (but I don't like using the double delayed flash). Daylight photos actually look better without a flash anyway.
* The auto focus on the video has a hard time focusing in low light. I've found that zooming out then slowly zooming back in helps auto focus. I don't have this problem in bright light.
All in all, I couldn't speak more highly of my little sony. I have it beside me at all times (awaiting my son's first steps, and everything in between). It's just so nice to have it available at all times, without having to worry about switching to a blank cassette or DVD every 30 minutes (like I use to do with camcorders)! The handycam utility software also makes it a breeze to import video to my 160GB computer, so I can free up space on the camcorder any time I want to.
I would suggest getting a spare battery and a wall charger to go with it. That way you will always have a charged battery. I did get a 2nd bigger battery, but the original battery will get you through a minimum of 70 minutes of filming, even on HD - your battery life varies depending on the quality of video you are shooting.
I'll also mention that mine is a tough little camera too - my son tugged it off the table one day and it crashed on the kitchen floor. I about had a heart attack, but luckily it was perfectly fine!
If you're on the fence about this camera, head over to youtube and search for Sony SR11 tests to view some of the video it produces (especially the slow motion tests). Previewing those beforehand is what cinched the deal for me when I bought in January....more info
- Sony HDR-S11
The camera is capable of generating great images. The onboard mic is typical for this type, limited to about 8 feet. In order to use an auxillary mic, you need and adapter for the Sony Intelligent hotshoe, a good adapter is about $30. Battery life is shorter than I expected from a camera that uses a hard drive for storage rather than a power-hungry tape transport system, but it will run for almost an hour. Lack of an iLink (firewire) port is an odd choice for Sony, considering you're moving data from an external drive (the camera) to a computer for editing, transfer speed should have been a bigger consideration. All in all, a nice unit, especially since AVCHD is now supported in the major editing applications....more info
- Sony HDR-SR11
This HD video camera got excellent picture quality at full HD, even at night mode. In super night mode it will lag, but it did pretty good anyway. There where almost no light at all, just a moon and a porch light about 100 feet away.
The only complaint with this camera and the reason for only 4 stars, is when I tried to tape the Nascar race I went to (Brickyard), the camera would shut down while recording.
I'm guessing the sound from the cars going by max out the camera with motion and sound.
Other than this, I like this camera and it would get 5 stars....more info
- worth upgrading from my HDR-HC3
Less than 2 years ago I bought the HDR-HC3 wanting to start recording my movies in HD. I was pretty happy with the camcorder, but there were a few things that really bummed me out, and now replacing it with the SR11 I'm really pleased. A few of the improvements that I've appreciate the most are:
Better image quality in low light. Some may complain about this cameras quality in low lighting conditions, but let me tell ya, it's a lot better than what I got with the HC3! Comparing shots side by side, you notice a whole lot more artifacts and "dirtyness" in the footage captured with the HC3.
Optical image stabalizer. This is something that wasn't offered at the time I bought my HC3, at least not in Sony's line (I think Canon's comparable model had it). Having an optical image stabalizer is way better than having the image stabalize digitally. I can see a great improvement in the footage captured now with the SR11.
Tapeless. Although, now not spending money on tapes, I'm spending money on hard drives, 'cause the captured footage is pretty big - but if I'm getting that much better of an image then I'm okay with it. Tapeless is way convenient and so far I'm digging it. I'm using a mac, so the capturing process is a little different. I have to use my intel macbook pro with Final Cut Studio to capture it, then I plug the external drive I captured to into my quad-core G5 to work with it (the ppc mac's won't capture the AVCHD footage unfortunately). It's an extra step to do this, but sooner or later I'll get a desktop intel mac and it won't be a problem any more, and so far this method is working fine for me.
Bigger lcd screen. It's a fair size larger than my HC3 and it's much appreciated it. Just nicer to use and review what you shot before you get back home.
The camera is rad. If you choose to go with it you won't be disappointed (even if you're using a mac!)
- Pleased with this camcorder for recording sports
I'm glad my wife and I did the research before purchasing this past fall. We bought this camcorder to record my son's lacrosse games. We also purchased a new pc with a dvd burner at the same time. I use a tripod to record the games, and immediately save the games to an external seagate drive with oodles of memory. (Each game is about 4-4.5 GB) I have used the included pmb software to burn dvd's. The memory stick integration to the ps3 works fine. Last night I successfully burned a avchd dvd that plays on my office sony blu ray player, high def. So far I haven't had any compatibility problems you see in some of these reviews, I believe going pure with Sony products helps in this respect. The 48 min lacrosse games fit on 4.7 G standard DVD. The games take about 1.5 to 2 hrs to burn, so I just do it before bed. Hope this helps....more info
- Best consumer level video camera on the market
As the title states, I feel this is about the best you can expect from a consumer level camera on the market today.
I have been experimenting and putting it through it's paces for a month now, and am pretty familiar with it's capabilities and quality. I am currently on my family's second vacation trip of the year and and have taken some footage ranging from indoor/outdoor pet shots, the mountains and waterfalls of western Colorado, night-time 4th of July fireworks, indoor, well-lit cousin/family members and an indoor shot of mom covering a chocolate cake with meringue icing. Lots of good, typical, casual-user type footage.
With the recent purchase of a mini HDMI to standard HDMI cable, I was finally able to view all of this footage on a 45" Sony BRAVIA LCD TV in all of it's HD glory. Before, I had been getting by with the AV/Component cables and there is a night and day difference between those and the digital signal of HDMI.
A good part of my footage was shot in the lowest quality possible. I also shot a substantial bit in full HD. Honestly, the low quality looks darn near as good as the full quality, so for those who somehow shoot hours of footage on end without access to their computer to dump the material to, you can vastly extend your shooting time if necessary with minimal compromise. Besides, even at full quality HD, a 60 GB hard drive is like having a camera with SEVEN 60 minute tapes spooled end to end. At the lowest quality (HD) recording time is just under 23 hours. There's really no reason to upgrade to the SR12 unless you are some kind of shoot-a-holic, but shooting 120 GB of footage would be an editing nightmare anyway.
Viewing the full HD footage on the BRAVIA TV via HDMI, it looks about as sharp and clean as you could possibly ask for. You can pick out the individual strands of fur on animals cleanly.
I cannot comment on 5.1 surround sound, as I am not yet home from this trip, but as soon as we return (tomorrow) I will definitely test it out.
I recently handled the Canon HV30 in CC and was not very impressed with the build quality or the viewfinder - poor refresh rate and everything plastic. The Sony SR11 gives you a hefty chrome metal push-dial for adjusting focus/white balance shift and aperture. It's very effective for controlling focus when in low-light/indoor situations or the aperture. I find that the camera DOES lean toward cool colors by default, so I have the White Balance Shift set to maximum (+4) to bring a warmer, more natural tone to things. You may find that you need to do the same. Thankfully, when adjusting parameters manually, they are retained, meaning you can set White Balance Shift, Focus, AND Aperture all at the same time. It's about as good as it gets without jumping into the $3000 dollar camera range.
The x.v. color is a new, wider color gamut that is supposed to give more life-like coloration to subjects. If you shoot in this mode, you will only see the difference when played back on an x.v color compliant product (new Sony BRAVIA TV sets). Otherwise, from what I can tell, it seems to produce a somewhat less saturated image. I am still trying to decide which look I prefer. I feel the normal colors look pretty accurate under most conditions. Occasionally, greens seem a little too bright (trees, grass), but overall, color reproduction is very good.
One thing I love about Sony video cameras is their smooth operation. The zoom is smooth but agile if you need to punch it in our out fast. The viewfinders are also very smooth, unlike many other video cameras. (I say 'video camera' because 'camcorder' just sounds too consumerish and cheap for my taste).
The build quality feels very solid, has substantial weight, and feels very secure in the hand, thanks to being able to get a grip on the top of the camera. I think people who lament over the weight of the camera and wish for something lighter are foolish. The WEIGHT adds INERTIA which means more RESISTANCE to SHAKING of the hand. This is a vital fact that most consumers seem ignorant of, and trust me, watching footage on a big screen, you better pray that your footage is as close to tripod-steady as possible.
This camera comes with a fun and cute DVD that goes through some of the basic filming techniques. Several of these concepts are taught in a typical introductory Film & Video class, so it is actually quite a useful video, and it is amusing (to me at least).
I think I could not have bought a better camera for what I desired in a camera, the price point, and what is currently available. I would have PREFERRED to save up and purchase a Canon XHA1 for the pristine optics, better manual controls, and extremely good light gathering (very low low noise even in challenging lighting situations), but I do not want to mess with tapes and the 1:1 tape transfer process again. Hard disk recording with a 3k HDV video camera is possible but expensive. This camera and it's accessories/cables fits perfectly in the very nice leather bag I already own, and is very well protected therein, so for me it was nice to not need to buy a new carrying case.
If you need to see some online footage of this camera in action, check out Vimeo and search 'sr11':
Further comments/notes pending......more info