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Sony HDR-TG3E review

Ben Pitt
18 May 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
399
inc VAT

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Specifications

1/5in CMOS sensor, PAL, 1,440x1,080, 1,920x1,080, 10.0x zoom, 240g

The HDR-TG3E's sleek titanium body is bound to catch admiring looks, and the brown paintwork gives it a quirky 1970s appearance.

It feels solid and the pistol grip is comfortable to hold, but we found the battery compartment door popped open a little too easily. The zoom is controlled via a wheel around the record-pause button, so one-handed shooting is easy.

Inside, it's thoroughly modern, with 1,920x1,080-pixel AVCHD recording to memory cards and touchscreen control. A slow-motion capture function records four seconds of full-resolution video at 100fps and plays it back at 25fps. It's much more impressive than the Samsung VP-HMX20C's slow-motion mode, which captures at 300fps but only 448x336 pixels per frame.

We particularly like the spot focus and spot metering functions, which simply involve touching a part of the screen. Once either has been set, it remains locked until you touch the screen again. Standard manual focus, exposure and white balance controls are also available, and although more advanced users might bemoan the lack of shutter speed, aperture and progressive-scan options, this isn't really a camera for them.

Videos weren't as detailed as from the pricier Sony, Canon and Samsung models, and in bright light they weren't any better than from Panasonic's HDC-SD20. The HDR-TG3E fared much better than the HDC-SD20 indoors, though, keeping noise reasonably understated without trashing subtle textures and fine details. It still lagged behind the pricier cameras, but picture quality was on the right side of acceptable for the money.

The price of £399 is low for an AVCHD camera, and although the use of expensive Memory Stick Pro Duo cards offsets this, having a 4GB card in the box lessens the burden. The HDR-TG3E adds up to an attractive package for anyone who's torn between a high-end standard-definition and an entry-level high-definition camera.

Basic Specifications

Rating****

Recording

Optical zoom10.0x
Digital zoom120x
Sensor1/5in CMOS
Sensor pixels2,360,000
Widescreen modenative
LCD screen size2.7in
Viewfinder typenone
Video lampNo
Video recording formatAVCHD
Video recording mediaMemory Stick Pro Duo
SoundDolby Digital 5.1
Video resolutionsPAL, 1,440x1,080, 1,920x1,080
Maximum image resolution2,304x1,296
Memory slotMemory Stick Pro Duo
Mermory supplied4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo
Flashyes

Physical

Digital inputs/outputsUSB
Analogue inputs/outputsAV out, component out, mini HDMI out
Other connectionscharge jack, docking port
Battery type6.8V 897mAh Li-ion
Battery life1h 34m
Battery charging positioncamcorder
Size119x32x63mm
Weight240g

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£399
Supplierhttp://www.pixmania.co.uk
Detailswww.sony.co.uk

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