Sony HDR-CX500V high-definition camcorder
A Full HD handycam with three-way optical image stabiliser and built-in GPS
- Improved image stabilisation, good video performance, 12-megapixel still image mode
- Some features are a bit superfluous, maximum 16Mbps AVCHD bit rate
The Sony HDR-CX500V is a feature-packed Full HD camcorder sporting great image quality. If you're looking for a camcorder with plenty of tricks up its sleeve, you could do a lot worse than the HDR-CX500V.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
The Sony HDR-CX500V is a flash memory–based Full HD camcorder with 32GB of inbuilt memory. Like the majority of its handycam brethren, the HDR-CX500V packs in a dizzying array of features and gimmicks, some of which are more useful than others. Highlights include a three-way optical image stabiliser (a world first), 12-megapixel still image capture, a Smooth Slow Record function, smile shutter and face detection technology, a backlit image sensor for increased light sensitivity and an inbuilt GPS. Its main claim to fame is probably the afore-mentioned three-way stabiliser, alongside its impressive video performance.
The Sony HDR-CX500V shares much in common with the more expensive Sony HDR-CX520V. In fact, it is identical to its big brother in all respects save one — memory. In place of the HDR-CX520V's 64GB capacity, the HDR-CX500V makes do with 32GB, which will net you around 115 minutes of video at the highest quality (or 13 hours in LP mode). A Memory Stick slot is also included for additional storage needs.
Personally, we feel that the reduction in memory is more than made up for by the reduction in price ($1799 vs. $1999). Provided you're disciplined enough to regularly backup your footage, the Sony HDR-CX500V represents the better deal.
As mentioned above, the Sony HDR-CX500V comes with its own GPS receiver. While there are no navigation options on board, the integrated mapping system allows you to view your current location on the LCD, which is bound to come in handy during holiday trips and the like. It can also organise your video clips based on the location they were shot at. While far from essential, the inclusion of a GPS sets the HDR-CX500V camcorder apart from its rivals while simultaneously upping the gadget's "cool factor". (While members of the opposite sex are unlikely to throw themselves at you, it should receive impressed comments from family and friends.) That said, we doubt many people will use it regularly.
While other camcorders, such as the Canon Legria HF S10, offer a maximum bit rate of up to 24 megabits per second, the Sony HDR-CX500V stubbornly sticks to 16Mbps. Despite this handicap, it remains a reliable and able performer. While we do prefer Canon's video quality overall, it's a pretty tight contest. Skin tones appeared natural under bright light, with plenty of detail in shadowed areas. Noise was also less problematic than we're used to. Naturally, the HDR-CX500V's three-way optical image stabiliser helps to reduce camera shake. In the hands of an experienced videographer, the difference is pretty marginal, but novice users should definitely notice an improvement.
Like the rest of Sony's handycam range, the HDR-CX500V sports a touch-screen LCD interface. This is something that really seems to divide consumers: you either love it or hate it with a passion. If you fall into the latter camp, the HDR-CX500V isn't going to change your mind — it's more or less identical to the models that preceded it. The menu's appearance and layout produce a similar sense of déjà vu. We've never had a problem with Sony's LCD touch screens, but based on the testimony of others, you may want to try before you buy!
The HDR-CX500V also offers an impressive 12-megapixel stills mode. This is achieved via interpolation (which is another word for cheating) but the results speak for themselves. Our test shots remained crisp and vibrant in all but the dimmest environments, while the inclusion of manual controls gives you plenty of photographic freedom. We also liked the smile shutter with "Face Touch". This tool allows you to select a subject on screen whose smile will then trigger the photo: kind of like an intelligent timer. If you’re looking for a camcorder that can double as a compact camera, the Sony HDR-CX500V is one of the better options on the market.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 2 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 3 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Samsung's UHD Monitor covers 99.5 per cent of Adobe colour spectrum
- HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors
- Study predicts PS3 will win the console war
- Samsung wave makes a splash at Mobile World Congress
- Sony finally back in the black (but not thanks to PlayStation)
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTSenior .NET DeveloperWA
- CCIT Assistant (Office Automation/Windows) 160517/ITA/884Asia
- CCSoftware Engineer (Client facing) - Publisher SolutionsNSW
- FTTechnical/Solutions ArchitectNSW
- CCTechnical System Engineer (Linux/Mobile/SQL)160524/TSE/vmtAsia
- CCEnd to End Project Manager - PMO and GovernanceVIC
- CCInfrastructure Business AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Project ManagerVIC
- CCNetwork Architect VoiceNSW
- CCData Feeds Developer | Financial Services | C# & SQLNSW
- CCSenior Systems AnalystSA
- CCSenior Change AnalystNSW
- CCOracle DBA | 3-6mth ContractVIC
- FTDelivery Lead- AWSNSW
- CCOpen Source Specialist / Senior ConsultantQLD
- FTLinux System EngineersNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Integration Solution ManagementVIC
- CCRelease Manager, InfrastructureNSW
- CCMicrosoft System Engineer - NV1ACT
- CCPHP / Magento E-Commerce DeveloperNSW
- CCSecurity Clearances Vetting Services OfficerACT
- CCTIBCO Integration ConsultantVIC
- FTSenior Business Analysts - Payments or Disaster RecoveryVIC
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (J2EE/Oracle) 160520/AP/985Asia
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW