Sony HDR-HC5 4MP MiniDV High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom
List Price: $1199.99

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Product Description

Sony's HDRHC5 HD DV Camcorder makes it easy to capture perfect digital video, every time. Capture high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) video to a MiniDV cassette. Record every detail of every moment, with the 10x optical/80x digital zoom and Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens. As you record video, you'll also take still pictures at the same time with the 4.0 Megapixel still image feature. Snap spectacular 2.3 Megapixel photos while filming in dual record mode. The HDR-HC5 even slows down the audio. Get it all and get it in high definition with this amazing camcorder. Professional quality Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens - advanced optical multi-layer coating, with less glare and flare with increased contrast 2.7 widescreen 16 - 9 hybrid LCD touch panel -- rotates up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles Smooth Slow Record - Increase the frame rate from 60fps to 240fps, capturing smooth slow motion Record an audio track to narrate what is being seen in the video Multiple scene selection modes, plus fader and picture effects One-touch wide angle shooting; manual focus; on screen zoom & record buttons Dual Recording - While you record high definition video, you can also capture 2.3 Megapixel still images directly to a Memory Stick(R) Duo (up to 2304 x 1728 resolution) Super SteadyShot(R) compensates for camera shake without compromising picture quality Cinematic Mode adds a frame film-like effect to video -- perfect for creating home movie masterpieces Tele Macro Function handles close-ups without casting a shadow on your subject i.LINK (IEEE1394) interface for easy connection to camcorders, digital VTRs, capture cards and PCs Active Interface Shoe for adding accessories while directly providing power & two-way communication InfoLithium battery with AccuPower(TM) Meter System Multilanguage m

  • 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
Customer Reviews:
  • Good, not as good as hoped
    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....more info
  • Works quite well
    This camera works

    With ideal conditions, the camera can capture very impressive HDV footage,but with less light... it can be, well... not so good

    I got this camera for home use, I own professional Sony HD cameras, so Sony is always my top choice.

    For home use, its ok

    Note: The deck transports are very good for a camera this cheap, and the lens is above average.

    see ya!


    ...more info
  • Outstanding camera
    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. ...more info
  • This Sony camcorder gives great high definition video for an affordable price
    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. The one I own includes a balance bubble, removable base (for quick removal of the camera from the tripod) and a tilt that allows you to turn the camera 90 degrees to the side - such as when you want to use the camera function in portrait mode.) That works out really well at kids' activities (sports, recitals, etc.), as you ELIMINATE camera shake (see CONS, below). Also, you can change tapes while the camcorder is on the tripod (the inability of which is a common design faux pas on too many other camcorders).

    Some CONS:
    - The image stabilization is not great, especially at zoomed-in distances, resulting in noticeably shaky video when you record by holding the camcorder with one hand and then plug and play the results on your HDTV (see recommended tripod, above, to fix that most times);
    - No microphone or headphone jacks (which don't matter much in regular use); and
    - the mini-dv tapes are more expensive than any off-the-shelf-at-CVS/Walmart/etc. types, although you can buy them in small bunches on Amazon for less than $10 each all-in NOT REFURBISHED, NEVER USED, NEVER OPENED.. It is said that the hi-def tapes have a better metallic coating on them that make them better-suited to hi-def recording. I have never done a side-by-side comparison of regular versus hi-def tapes, so I can't opine on that.

    In the end, you want to get the best MEDIA for your priceless memories, and this camera (in the hi-def mini-dv format) delivers, as the video and audio are less compressed than on hard drive or DVD hi-def camera, and thus more revealing. And since Blu-Ray seems to have won the High-Def DVD race (defeating HDDVD, if you are to believe the papers), then buy this camera, record your priceless memories before they go to college and convert then to Blu-Ray DVDs when Blu-Ray DVD recorders get to a reasonable price!!

    Whatever you choose, first go to a bricks-and-mortars store and try out and compare this camera and a few others. Good luck!...more info
  • HDR-HC5 Review
    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. There are manual settings for exposure, focus, white balance, and a few others as well. And all of these, for better or worse, are adjusted through the touch screen interface that I personally love. Some of the buttons on the screen are small, so those with bigger fingers may have trouble navigating the camera.

    Battery: I get about an hour of real recording time with the built in battery. It's enough to get through a Mini-DV tape, but not much more.

    Other: The "Smooth Slow Record" is garbage. Yes, it does record 3 seconds of video extremely slow. But the video quality makes YouTube look like HD... It is bad. The Night Shot is pretty cool and works just as described. The effect is only as good as the built in IR light, so you can see maybe 15' in the dark. The touch focus feature is really cool. Just touch on the screen where you want the camera to focus, and it does it automatically.

    Recording on Mini-DV tapes seems quite antiquated, but it does get the job done. It is a proven standard and pretty much any decent video editing program can handle it. The hard drive camcorders out there that record in AVC-HD do not currently enjoy as much compatibility as HDV, so that is why I when the tape based route.

    Overall, this is a great camcorder. It could use some "real" manual features, like a dedicated focus ring, but those kind of features seem to be reserved for cameras in the 4 digit area. The video quality is also great in the right conditions. Definitely recommended....more info
  • I'm loving it :)
    I love the camera so far. 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 Camcorders
    Sony ECMHST1 Stereo Microphone for DCR-HC96, DCR-DVD305, 405, 505, DCR-SR80, 100, HDR-HC3, HC5 & HDR-UX5 Camcorders
    Sony High Definition Minidv Videocassette (2-Pack)
    ...more info
  • Great Camcorder
    So far this has been a great camera
    Although I haven't actually tried to record at night, the picture quality during the day is amazing....more info
  • Excellant camera; excellant quality; small buttons
    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....more info
  • Very impressive for home video use
    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. Pans work well, with no objectionable artifacts or lagging. For outdoor scenes the picture is really stunning. Indoors at night, with ordinary light levels, the picture is not as good, with a graininess that is especially apparent on objects with a smooth texture, such as painted walls. Still, the picture is acceptable to me.

    The camera has lots of features, mostly accessable from its touchscreen display. However, you can set the camera in "easy" mode, which selects a reasonable set of default settings. I confess that's the only mode I used, and the results were impressive. As I learn more about the camera I may fiddle with more advanced settings.

    The camera can also take decent still photos, not up to par with a good digital camera but perfectly acceptable for when you don't want to lug around a separate camera. One cute feature is that it's possible to take still pictures in 16:9 mode while filming. This doesn't interrupt the filming, and the pictures are stored on the Memory Stick. Up to three such pictures can be taken in any filming sequence (from start to stop).

    [Added 6/4/07] I have used the still camera some more. I compared the 16:9 pictures taken in video camera mode to those taken in the standard 4:3 camera mode, and I couldn't see any significant differences in quality (other than the 16:9 being wider). This in spite of the fact that Sony states the 16:9 mode pictures have an "effective resolution" of 2.3 Mpixels while those in 4:3 have a resolution of 4.0 Mpixels. (Note that, as far as I can tell, the camera doesn't actually have a 4 MP sensor, but uses some sort of interpolation to get 4 MP.) I also compared these pictures to ones taken with my 2001-vintage Canon Powershot digital camera; those from the Sony HDR-HC5 were clearly better. HOWEVER, the low-light capabilities of the Sony still camera modes is very poor, much worse than its low-light video capabilities. In ordinary indoor lighting the pictures are very grainy. Even in outdoor shots, faces that are in shade have a certain graininess. So in good light the stills are fine, but in low light they're not very good. [End]

    The battery life was OK. I estimate I got an hour or so from the included battery. This was enough for shooting perhaps 30 minutes of video under real world conditions.

    I was able to read in and edit the video using iMovie HD on my Mac. I couldn't send it back to tape because of a FireWire problem with my computer, but I assume it would look just as good as the original.

    Overall, I can heartily recommend this camera to anyone who cares about picture quality, but is not an advanced videographer needing special features. For instance, there have been some complaints about the lack of a manual focussing ring, but in my daily use (and my 7 years with my SD camera) I have never felt the need for this. Now I'm waiting for inexpensive HD-DVD or Blu-Ray burners!...more info
  • Exceptional HD Camcorder
    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. Although it was not 5.1 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....more info
  • So-so...
    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. The 2.1 megapixel matrix is obviously not sufficient. HDR-HC7 makes a better choice, but I haven't tried it yet....more info