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Sony HDR-CX105 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 449
inc VAT

Specifications

1/5in CMOS sensor, PAL, 1,440×1,080, 1,920×1,080, 10.0x zoom, 280g

http://www.johnlewis.com

The HDR-CX105 is Sony’s latest HD camcorder.

Its horizontal barrel-shaped body is incredibly compact, measuring only 50x55x107mm. We reviewed Sony’s similarly priced HDR-TG3E in the last issue. With its titanium body, brown paintwork and upright design, it looks very different to the CX105, but the technology inside is surprisingly similar.

Like the TG3E, the CX105 uses a 1?5in CMOS sensor, which compares well with other models of around the same price. The CX105’s aperture range is fractionally wider, but we didn’t see any benefits from this. Video quality was practically identical to that of the TG3E, keeping image to a minimum without sacrificing detail. Video wasn’t quite as sharp as that of more expensive models such as Sony’s HDR-CX11E and colours, though punchy, lacked a little accuracy.

Other similarities with the TG3E are its 2.7in LCD touchscreen, which you can use to set focus spots and navigate the sensibly designed menus. It also has the same 100fps slow-motion mode, which records four seconds of footage and then plays it back at quarter speed for a pleasing and intriguing effect.

There are numerous differences between the two models, though, the most notable of which is the HDR-CX105’s 8GB of built-in flash memory – the TG3E has none. This will store just under an hour of footage at the highest quality option of 16Mbit/s. Both camcorders have Memory Stick Pro Duo slots, although compatible cards are far more expensive than SDHC cards, with an 8GB card costing around £25 including VAT.

Despite being bigger and newer than the TG3E, the CX105 actually lacks some of its fancier features. There’s no flash for taking stills, which makes it less flexible as an all-in-one camera. It uses the same three-channel zoom microphone, but outputs only stereo sound rather than the TG3E’s 5.1 surround sound. The CX105’s battery pack lasts around 15 minutes longer than the TG3E’s – an impressive one hour and 50 minutes. In addition, the pack’s positioning means you could fit a bigger battery if desired, which isn’t possible on the TG3E.

While the TG3E is the obvious alternative to the CX105, you can buy the superior CX11E for around £80 more. It’s a little larger and heavier, and there’s no built-in storage (although you get a 4GB Memory Stick). However, with the CX11E you’ll benefit from a bigger sensor, a larger lens, superior manual controls and optical image stabilisation, all of which make for better-looking video in any lighting conditions.

The CX105 isn’t a bad camcorder but it’s positioned between two better models. The TG3E costs less, is smaller and lighter, and has a built-in flash, making it a better choice for casual point-and-shoot use. For only a little extra cash, the more serious CX11E produces notably better video. Because of Sony’s excellent home-grown competition, we can’t see who would prefer the CX105.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***

Recording

Optical zoom 10.0x
Digital zoom 1,200x
Sensor 1/5in CMOS
Sensor pixels 2,360,000
Widescreen mode native
LCD screen size 2.7in
Viewfinder type none
Video lamp No
Video recording format AVCHD
Video recording media 8GB flash memory, Memory Stick Pro Duo
Sound Dolby Digital Stereo
Video resolutions PAL, 1,440×1,080, 1,920×1,080
Maximum image resolution 2,304×1,728
Memory slot Memory Stick Pro Duo
Mermory supplied 8GB internal
Flash no

Physical

Digital inputs/outputs USB
Analogue inputs/outputs AV out, component out, HDMI out
Other connections charge jack, Sony accessory shoe
Battery charging position camcorder
Size 50x55x107
Weight 280g

Buying Information

Warranty two years RTB
Price £449
Supplier http://www.johnlewis.com
Details www.sony.co.uk