- Great image quality, extensive manual controls, fantastic still image functionality
- Limited zoom, expensive
The HDR-HC7E is pricey, but its impressive image quality makes it an attractive choice for those who can afford it.
Price$ 2,299.00 (AUD)
With so many competing formats in the world of digital video recording, it becomes difficult for most consumers to decide what it is exactly that they're looking for. Each format has different advantages and disadvantages, and the lines aren't exactly as clear cut as we'd sometimes like. So, when yet another format comes to the party, the results aren't always pretty. It adds another option to research and consider for potential buyers. Nevertheless, we're being presented with new options increasingly frequently, one of the most recent being the HDV MiniDV format. Similar to the standard MiniDV format, it delivers HD video recording at a 1080i, the resolution at which most HDTV is broadcast at. Sony's HDR-HC7E is just such a model, and although it delivers great image quality, its price may put it out of the range of casual users, whilst its limited zoom makes it slightly unsuitable for a lot of high level amateur use.
Image quality is definitely the HC7's strong point. Delivering full HD video at 1080i resolution through a 6 megapixel CMOS sensor, we found images to be incredibly clear and well defined. Even in lowlight or dark environments, images retain a relatively good quality, thanks largely to Sony's "Nightshot" mode. Colour reproduction is very good, especially considering that the HC7 uses a single CMOS sensor only; we did notice some slight over-saturation however, something fairly common with most digital video cameras. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it tends to deliver brighter and more colourful images, but if you're looking for accurate colours then you might need to do a little tweaking.
Aiming their camera at higher level users, Sony has included a large range of manual options, something we were very pleased to see. White balance, ISO, shutter speed and focus are all manually adjustable, although pleasingly the automatic settings performed very well during out testing, especially the auto focus, which responded well to rapid changes in the environment and motion. Limited zoom options are probably the only drawback to the HC7's feature set, with only 10x optical and 20x digital zoom available.
One of Sony's most impressive additions to this camcorder is the still image functionality. Capable of capturing 6 megapixel images (or 4.6 megapixel if taken whilst filming), it's actually at the point where it's competing with some digital still cameras, giving it some impressive versatility. Despite being a peripheral feature, it's nevertheless a great addition which really helps to flesh out the camera's functionality and justify its somewhat high price.
With battery life and recording time to a single MiniDV both coming in at over an hour, combined with the ease of editing MiniDV tapes on the fly, the HC7 is perfectly suited to users looking for a great combination of versatility and reusability. Although its price might put it out of range for entry level buyers, amateurs looking for some high quality video equipment will find it to be exceptionally useful.
Join the newsletter!
This month, PC World is excited to partner with Zero Latency VR. You and seven of your friends will have the chance to win tickets to this experience.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Dynabook Portégé X30W-J – a very good all-rounder
- 2 Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- 3 Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- 4 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: Killer form-factor, lethal price-tag
- 5 Oppo A5Xs review: Cutting corners
Latest News Articles
- Arlo expands Ultra series of security cameras
- GoPro spin off their lighting mod into its own act: the Zeus Mini
- Logitech will take your webcam money now, thanks
- Arlo expand Australian smart security lineup with Video Doorbell
- Netatmo’s Smart Indoor Camera now supports Apple HomeKit Secure Video
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- How the Xbox Series X (and xCloud) saved me from buying a gaming PC
- 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