Sony Handycam HDR-CX410VE review
Physically weightier than the others here, the otherwise solidly featured Sony drops a star in offering Wi-Fi only as an optional extra
Our fourth palm-shaped camcorder and a close match for the Panasonic in terms of both physical heft and functionality is the Sony CX410. Headline features of the Full HD 1/3.9-inch CMOS sensor model include a 30x optical zoom starting out at a wider than most 26.8mm, running up to a whopping 804mm equivalent at the telephoto end. Offering 1920x1080 pixels AVCHD/MP4 recording and image stabilisation via ‘floating’ optics and sensor to counteract any external wobble, minimum focus distance is 30mm. In addition, it’s the only one of our four camcorders here aside from the JVC to offer a covered top plate hotshoe for accessory use. Whilst the above helps it to stand out from the crowd, Sony has chosen not to provide built-in Wi-Fi here but instead offer it as an optional adapter.
Again, flip open the 3-inch, 230k dot resolution touch screen LCD here and the lens cover opens automatically, with the camcorder instantly powering up in conjunction. Like its direct rivals the Sony’s G-series lens boasts a bright/fast f/1.8 maximum aperture for lower light work. Footage is committed to either SD card or Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick, with outputs including HDMI alongside USB. Cleverly some models further up the range add built-in projectors, though this isn’t one of them. Photo capture is included alongside video once more, with the ability to shoot whilst filming and again a shutter release button sitting behind the top plate zoom control with comfortably ridged edge to stop fingers slipping, 8.9 megapixel stills being the maximum resolution achievable.
The Sony’s zoom action is as silkily smooth as the others here but auto focus was not as rapid to adjust when zooming in your subject as on the Panasonic, which means the image goes blurred for a couple of seconds before drifting back into focus. As you’d expect from the Sony brand this is a handsome looking camcorder that also cleverly provides a short USB lead tucked neatly into the padded handgrip for added convenience. Given that it doesn’t have Wi-Fi we do feel we are paying a slight premium however for the CX410 out of the box.