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 newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Apple iMac Pro
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Toys for Boys
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Moto G6 review: A solid mid-tier effort with few compromises
- 5 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
Latest News Articles
- Dell launches its Rugged range
- Sony launches three new 4K HDR Home Cinema Projectors
- HP launches Omen by HP Challenger Series Tournament
- These are the best deals in Catch’s $4M Electronics Clear Out sale
- Samsung Australia announces breakthrough demand for Galaxy Note9 pre-sales
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- The Best Australian Black Friday Tech Deals That Aren't On Amazon
- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Ghost in the machine
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies