Sony HDR-HC5 4MP MiniDV High Definition Camcorder – Outstanding camera

If you have an hdtv at home and appreciate the hd quality channels, this camcorder is a must companion for your family and your hdtv. It is compact and user friendly with lots of useful features and the hd (1080i) video quality is stunning. We’ve just used it in an indoor birthday party at a kid’s gym with typical indoor lighting and the hd video quality played back on our 42′ hdtv was superb without an expensive hdmi cable even but with provided component video cables instead. 1 surround sound audio quality but it had well exceeded our expectation of an hd palm camcorder under $1k. Normal operation can be easily controlled by either the hand holding the camcorder or the other free hand directly on the lcd touch screen. We haven’t yet tried the 4mp digital camera function which uses memory stick pro duo. All in all, this is an outstanding hd compact camcorder and is what we had expected from a sony consumer product.

An excellent camera for field work, including night vision in ancient tombs, caves. Still superior in some ways to some of the newer equipment. A lot of capability in an extremely portable device. A reason for using dv is that the tape cannot be altered without leaving traces, and it is therefore useful of such matters as documenting preservation of chain of custody of evidence, as when opening envelopes with freshly delivered samples.

1080p video looks crystal clear on my tv. Even low light recording came out so perfect. Xv colors are very vibrant and bright. Both 4mp standard photo and 3mp wide angle photo are excellent quality. In fact, i first thought of purchasing a separate still camera. But, after seeing the quality of still picts by this hd camera, i decided no extra still camera is required. One more important feature i liked is, while recording video, if you thought you should have taken a still picture too at a certain point, don’t get disappointed that you missed it. After recording video, while viewing it, you can just pause the video at a point you like and press the photo button. Your photo is recorded onto the flash card. Here are the specifications for the Sony HDR-HC5 4MP MiniDV High Definition Camcorder:

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  • 2-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensor; choose between HD & DV recording formats
  • 4-megapixel still image capture; Super SteadyShot image stabilization
  • Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens; 10x optical zoom/20x digital zoom
  • 2.7-inch widescreen Clear Photo LCD Plus
  • Memory Stick Duo media slot

I am writing this as someone who is not a true videophile, but who nonetheless pays some critical attention to picture quality and ease of use. I have no interest in making any videos other than reasonable quality family videos. I have owned a sd minidv camera for 7 years before buying this one. The picture quality was observed on a sony sxrd 60′ hdtv using component cables. I didn’t have the hdmi cable with the mini connector to try out a digital connection. I bought this camera last week and tried it out during a memorial day trip with the family. The picture quality is extremely good. It’s not quite as good as a top-notch hd feed (such as discovery hd), but appears to me to be equal to most hd channels we receive over comcast cable. Another poster said the quality is not much better than dvd, but for me this is clearly not the case–it’s *much* better than dvd. Although in some detailed reviews online there are still images showing interlace artifacts, in viewing running video i have been unable to notice any effects of interlacing at all, even in fast-moving objects.

I am extremely pleased with this camera. I have been shooting and editing video as a hobby for about 10 years and am thrilled with the image quality of this lens and the processor. If you are going to buy it, my only recommendation is to make sure your computer can handle editing hd video. It is much more data than standard ‘mini dv’ or digital video and will be extremely taxing on your computer’s processor. As compared to similar products in the same price range that i tested in stores, the sony seems to be slightly better built in terms of its casing. The only potential flaw i noticed was the plastic ‘door’ for the ports. This thing could break extremely easily.

Reviews from purchasers :

  • HDR-HC5 Review
  • An excellent camera for field work
  • Good, not as good as hoped

So far this has been a great cameraalthough i haven’t actually tried to record at night, the picture quality during the day is amazing.

My sony hdr-hc5 arrived in canada in the condition as reported (as new). Thank you for your honesty in describing this product. I was in a desperate situation after my own sony camcorder died, leaving me with no camcorder to play my dv tapes.

This sony hi-def camcorder (filming in 1080i) provides a lot of value for the price. The key to ‘home movies’ is always going to be the quality of the media on which you are putting your recording, and on to that end, this camcorder delivers very, very well for a relatively inexpensive price. I bought it for about $1,000 in nyc in march 2007 just before a family trip that was to include the grand canyon. When i came home and played the recordings on my hdtv, i felt like i had just produced something for the discovery channel hd.(i’m talking about the audio and video quality combined with the scenery, of course. Not my ‘skills’ as a cameraman)here are the major pros:- hdmi output port included, which allows you to show video straight to hdmi-equipped hdtv in the highest quality available (hdmi has become the hdtv standard cable for delivery of digital video and audio in one cable, and all hdtvs made in the last year or two have at least one hdmi input — current ones have 3 or 4, for other sources like hd cable boxes, hdmi-equipped dvd players, game consoles, blu-ray dvd players, etc. );- component output ports also included (one for audio, one for video; special cables included), in case you do not have an hdmi input on your (likely older) hdtv;- firewire and usb (albeit 1. 1) output ports included, for easy upload of video to your pc or mac;- you can take pix while filming;- low light filming is very good;- the night vision works very well (albeit in green, but that comes with any infrared illumination);- the ‘shoe’ on top allows for a sony zoom microphonesony ecm-hgz1 shotgun microphone for dcr-pc55, dcr-dvd305, dvd 405, dvd 505, hdr-hc1, hc5, hdr-ux1, ux5, dcr-sr100&sr200 camcorders, which i highly recommend for anyone shooting any outdoor footage (the sound actually ‘zooms in’ as you zoom in on the video subject, minimizing distracting noise made by others near the camcorder);- the playback features are awesome, in that they allow for super slow-mo and zoom, and you can also record a 3-second sequence (golf swing, baseball pitch or swing, basketball shot, etc. ) in high-speed filiming (120 frames per second, versus the normal 30 frames per second), so you can dissect that activity to your heart’s delight; and finally (not really, but i have to stop somewhere),- you must invest (not much $ for the value) in a sony tripod with remote control on the tripod handle; this allows you to zoom in and out; start and pause recording; take pix; even turn the camcorder on and off. All from the main handle of the tripod sony vctd680rm remote control tripod for sony cameras & camcorders (i’m not sure if the one i just featured is the one i own.

I have had this camera for about 2 1/2 years now, and it is an extremely good camera overall. I chose this over the hard drive versions for 3 main reasons; tapes can be easily purchaced when the ones you are using are full, tapes arent susceptible to damage from jerky motion, and it was about $100 cheaper. It would help to have drag and drop capabilities, as to transfer video to a computer you do still have to play the tape in real time. I had a panasonic minidv camcorder before this one. And i will say that the video quality of this camera is much better than any consumer sd camera. The only complaint i have about this camcorder is that it doesn’t support any progressive video recording or display modes, even though it has the ‘full 1080’ sticker on it. By this i mean that it can only record in wither 1080i or 480i, and when you play it on a tv or transfer it to a computer, you can only play it in 1080i or 480i. There is no 720p option at all. The only way to get progressive video out of this camcorder is to capture the 1080i stream onto your computer, and then convert it to 720p (or 1080p if you want to), which is a painfully long process.

I use this camcorder at work on a daily basis. It’s portable, but slightly heavy. I’ve used it primarily to shoot video for editing in final cut pro. Fcp can recognize and directly control it via the capture and log window (when using the firewire connection). The picture quality is great, especially when shooting in 1080. A tripod, however, yields better and more professional results. We’ve used several of these camcorders extensively for almost two years, and they’re all still going strong. So, the build quality is definitely there.

This is a great camera that takes very high quality pictures. I am actually really happy with the still pictures it takes as well. Be careful you have looked into all your software editing info before purchasing (be prepared to spend a couple hundred dollars for a codec to out the hd video) that goes for any hd camera though. This camera has some quality loss in dark scenes but you just have know how to adjust the camera to correct this.

So far i have found this to be a great camera. Here are a few of my observations so far. Video quality: the video quality this this takes is great. However, there must be sufficient lighting. In a dimly light room, for instance, the video accumulates a fair bit of grain. But by adding a few more lights, or taking it outside on a nice day, your videos will rival that of broadcast hdtv. Sound: like most all camcorders the sound is very average. And the only mic’s available are proprietary sony mic’s. One must upgrade to the hc7 to get the real mic inputs. Features: this camera comes pretty packed.

The still pictures as well as the video are truly amazing with the 1080i hd. I’m using it for my two passions – my family and paranormal investigations. For the latter sony’s night shot can’t be beat. Personally i dont feel that the extra 200-300 dollars for the hc7 is worth it, but to each their own. A few accessories that i’ve picked up are:sony hvl-hirl ir nightshot and video light for dcr-dvd305, 405, 505, hdr-hc1, hc3, hc5, dcr-sr100, sr-200, hdr-ux1 & ux5 camcorderssony ecmhst1 stereo microphone for dcr-hc96, dcr-dvd305, 405, 505, dcr-sr80, 100, hdr-hc3, hc5 & hdr-ux5 camcorderssony high definition minidv videocassette (2-pack).

I bought this while living in hawaii and sold it a little before moving. The whole process of getting it from dv to file format was just too annoying for me. The quality of the video was pretty good, not as high as hoped. The slow motion capture was a nice feature, but was pretty restrictive. The compact size was great and it was relatively easy to handle on the go. I’d definitely say at this point to avoid dv even at some quality loss and go with something that is recording straight to file for ease.

This camera workswith ideal conditions, the camera can capture very impressive hdv footage,but with less light. Not so goodi got this camera for home use, i own professional sony hd cameras, so sony is always my top choice. For home use, its oknote: the deck transports are very good for a camera this cheap, and the lens is above average.

Good design, but i was disappointed with picture quality. Not as sharp as hd content is supposed to be, just a bit better than a dvd. Noticeable noise in low light conditions. 1 megapixel matrix is obviously not sufficient. Hdr-hc7 makes a better choice, but i haven’t tried it yet.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Sony HDR-HC5 4MP MiniDV High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
4.3 of 5 stars, based on 17 reviews