Sony HDR-HC9 camcorder
HDV Sony handycam with great image quality.
- Superb 1080i image quality, loads of manual features, reliable build quality, intuitive user interface
- Not much has changed since last generation’s HDR-HC7
If you prefer the familiarity and reliability of HDV tape, the Sony HDR-HC9 is one of the best (and only) options on the market. Sticklers for value may want to check out Canon’s HV30 though — it’s every bit as good, yet cheaper.
Price$ 2,099.00 (AUD)
The tape-based HDV camcorder is an increasingly rare beast. Despite delivering arguably the best image quality of any video format, it has been all but replaced in the consumer market by the convenience of AVCHD. Consequently, the Sony HDR-HC9 may well be the company’s final foray into high-definition Mini DV. If so, then it’s a worthy last hurrah that impressed us on almost every level. While it would have been nice to see some tangible improvements over the model it replaces (the near-identical HDR-HC7), it remains one of the best tape-based camcorders that money can buy. Only Canon’s fellow HDV model — the HV30 — can hope to match its performance.
The HDR-HC9 is a minor upgrade of the HDR-HC7E. Both models share the same imaging specifications, including a Carl Zeiss 10x optical zoom lens, a 1/2.9in ClearVid CMOS sensor and an effective pixel count of 2280k. Unfortunately, this means that the HDR-HC9 misses out on Sony’s latest generation of Exmor sensors (as seen in recent handycams such as the HDR-CX12 and HDR-FX1000). Instead you’re saddled with old technology, but that’s no reason to fret — despite its age, the HDR-HC7 still takes some of the best video around (which makes its cookie-cutter cousin just as impressive).
So what’s changed exactly? The most notable improvements to the HDR-HC9 are largely superficial, including a classy black repaint and a removable lens hood. The shape has also been extensively redesigned: it’s now significantly sleeker and feels more ergonomic in the hand. Other new additions include a colour-coded focus peaking indicator, a combined Spot Meter/Spot Focus function and a professional-style centre marker to help with framing. While it’s unlikely that the average user will find these tools essential, they remain quite useful for the occasional ‘hands-on’ task. (The Peaking tool is particularly handy, especially if your eyesight’s a bit wonky.)
With its identical pixel count and sensor technology, the HDR-HC9’s video performance was indistinguishable from its HC7 predecessor. Delivering high-definition video at 1080i resolution, we naturally found images to be incredibly clear and well defined. Even in lowlight or dark environments, our test-footage remained relatively crisp, though it failed to match the standards set by Canon’s competing HDV unit, the HV30. Nevertheless, nocturnal shooters should certainly have no qualms with the HC9’s output, particularly when Sony’s celebrated Nightshot mode is brought into play.
Despite some slight over-saturation, we were equally impressed with the camera’s colour reproduction: it strikes a nice balance between accuracy and vibrancy. Compared to most AVCHD camcorders, the difference is quite noticeable. Despite the lack of improvements, there’s not much to complain about as far as image quality goes (we guess the old adage ‘why change a good thing?’ applies). Like most HDV cams, the HDR-HC9 offers a standard-definition recording mode using regular Mini DV tapes. If you’re still using an old school CRT television and DVD player, this is a good option to have.
As we have come to expect from Sony, the HDR-HC9 is packed to the gills with advanced modes and features. White balance, ISO, shutter speed and focus are all manually adjustable, as are image sharpness and saturation. With the exception of gain, pretty much every camera setting can be adjusted or tweaked. Pleasingly, the automatic settings also performed well during out testing, with the novice-friendly Easy button providing idiot-proof recording. While we’re on the subject of novice-friendly functions, special mention must also go to the camera’s excellent optical image stabiliser. We found this did a great job compensating for blurry images and camera shake (otherwise known as the bane of inexperienced users).
Like pretty much every other camcorder on the market, the Sony HDR-HC9 has a still image mode — though thankfully the photos aren’t stored on tape. Instead, a Memory Stick slot is used. The HDR-HC9 is capable of capturing images at a maximum resolution of 6.1 megapixels (or 4.6Mp during video recording). This puts it on par with many digital still cameras (albeit from a few years ago) and should provide enough resolution for Internet uploads and regular-sized prints. Despite being a peripheral feature, it's nevertheless a great addition which really helps to flesh out the unit's functionality and justify its somewhat high price tag.
Alongside the usual array of ports and connections, the HDR-HC9 also comes with a microphone and headphone jack. If you’re in any way serious about video this is an essential addition that will ensure your audio quality matches the high-def visuals — provided you splurge out on an appropriately flashy microphone.
Join the newsletter!
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Toys for Boys
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Sony make shooting in HDR easy with new 4K camcorders
- Sony announces Australian availability for new waterproof RX0 action-camera
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
- New IoT malware targets 100,000 IP cameras via known flaw
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- Hands On: Our first impressions of Sony's a7R III
- Legion Y520 Gaming Laptop review
- 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
- FTSenior Pega DeveloperOther
- FTSoftware Asset ManagerACT
- FTSenior Network Engineer - Client TechnologiesOther
- FTServiceNow Solution SpecialistOther
- CCJava Developer - Government organisationVIC
- FTCustomer Service Consultant / Incident Management - TelcoOther
- TPSenior Business Analyst - GISQLD
- TPSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTAgile CoachOther
- FTMid-Level Drupal Developer (Brisbane Location)Other
- FTScrum MasterOther
- FTICT Cloud Transformation Program Coordinator - SAPOther
- CCRPA DeveloperVIC
- FTMarketing and Advertising Project/Sales SupportOther
- FTCobol DeveloperOther
- CCMid-level SAP ArchitectQLD
- CCField Services EngineerQLD
- TPFrontend DeveloperNSW
- FTCloud Architect - AWS, Azure, ADOther
- TPSenior Change ManagerACT
- FTProject Manager - Develop Strategy. Need RISI card, Rail bckgrdOther
- FTPre-Sales Solution Architect - Global Cloud OrganisationVIC
- FTSenior Java DeveloperOther
- FTHadoop DevelopersOther
- FTJava Software Engineers wanted (Melbourne CBD location)VIC