Sony HDR-CX700V Camcorder Review
The Sony Handycam HDR-CX700V is close to being a fantastic camcorder, but its sub-par results in our low light test made it fall short. The camcorder has a wonderful set of features, including the new 24p and 60p record modes, as well as a good amount of manual controls. It isn't loaded with pro-level controls like the Canon HF G10 (for example, the CX700V has no gain control), but it has most of the controls that your average videographer would want to play with.
Besides taking a hit in low light, the HDR-CX700V also had a tough time in our stabilization test. This is one area where the camcorder did worse than last year's flagship camcorder from Sony (the HDR-CX550V). Sony also decided to shrink the size of the LCD by 1/2 an inch on the CX700V, which, as we've hinted at throughout this review, was a stupid idea. Despite the decrease in screen size, the HDR-CX700V is not any lighter than last year's HDR-CX550V.
But there's still plenty to love. The 96GB of internal flash memory, the multiple frame rate options, the simple interface for beginners, and the standard definition recording options (in addition to HD) are all wonderful features for a top-level consumer camcorder. The built-in USB cable is a bit strange to see, but we think it will appeal to certain users. However, we don't like that Sony had to alter the design of its hand strap, thereby making it far less comfortable than previous Handycams, in order to accommodate the USB cable.
One final note about 1080/60p recording with the HDR-CX700V: the 1080/60p video files, as is the case with all 1080/60p files, can be increasingly frustrating to work with on a computer. We had several editing programs crash simply when we tried connecting a CX700V that contained 60p files on it to a computer. Sony's provided software does work with these files, however, and the software wasn't a huge pain to install on our PC (it is not supported on Macs). If editing is your thing, you should plan to do a lot of troubleshooting when working with 1080/60p files recorded with the CX700V. Other than this mess, the 60p clips looked lovely when viewed on an HDTV (directly from the camcorder), and the 24p frame rate did a very good job at creating a cinematic aesthetic.