Sony Webbie HD MHS-CM1 Camcorder Review
Low Light Performance
Low Light Sensitivity
Low light sensitivity was one of the weakest areas of the CM1's performance. This was, frankly, a surprising result, considering the large 1/2.5-inch sensor. Often, budget YouTube cams with large sensors are able to pick up more light. The MHS-CM1 required 27 lux to produce 50 IRE on our waveform monitor.
Clearly, the internal processing and the f/3.3 maximum aperture did not do the CM1 any favors in low light sensitivity. More on how we test low light sensitivity.
Low Light Noise
In low light noise levels, the MHS-CM1 once again fails to impress. The clear image we saw in bright lighting conditions is dark and marred by a sheet of fine noise. According to our Imatest results, the noise percentage came in at a whopping 1.33%. More on how we test low light noise.
The noise on the MHS-CM1 isn't as discolored as what you'll see in the Kodak Zi6, but it's just as omnipresent. For a clear image in low light, you're much better off going with the Flip Mino HD or even the original Flip Mino.
Low Light Color
The color accuracy in low light conditions is not quite as good as in bright light. The MHS-CM1 loses quite a bit of its saturation, with just 76.17%. The color error score according to Imatest was 5.22. This comes hand in hand with the darker image, which especially skews the green and purple hues.
Note: CCI is using a new color error formula this year for our new 2009-2010 rubric, so the numbers won't match up with the results from most camcorders we reviewed over the past two years. The new system uses the CIEDE2000 formula, which is the most accurate equation for determining color error, and will be in place on all our reviews as of 2009. The color error for the three comparison models below has been recalculated using the new formula. More on how we test low light color.
A 5.22 color error score isn't great for a high definition camcorder, even in low light. It means that the white balance worked fine, but that noise and desaturation prevent the image from retaining the most accurate colors. The CM1's competition fared better, with the Kodak Zi6 and the Flip Mino HD both turning in significantly better scores.