Sony HDR UX1 HD AVCHD video Camcorder

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This is a nicely designed, nice looking and ergonomically minded camcorder.

The first thing one will see when they take the camera out of the packet is how small it is yet how big the lens is, because the lens is big the camera can pick up a lot of light, and the lens is a Carl Zeiss one so its quality too!

The camera has a nice big bright touch screen flip out viewfinder, but dont use it when you dont have to because it sucks up the power like a hoover sucks dry rice! The touch screen has to be pressed a bit more than you would a PDA screen, so im not sure if it could be damaged easy over a long period of time being pressed so hard. As well as the side flip out viewfinder the camera has a very basic viewfinder which is small and not much use really because unlike some cameras the rubber is rather small and rigid meaning its easy for light to get in and detract the picture.

Although i haven t tried it, this camera sports a manual focus ring so you can be a little creative, besides the auto focus isnt always best. There is a hot shoe on the top for light or microphone (The noise of the camera working can usually be heard on a built in camcorder mic) so this is a bonus too. The camera uses a standard battery that can be used on other Sony camera's, so if you have an old camcorder from Sony there is a high probability it will work on the new HD one too.

Picture quality is of course very good, but you have to be careful of the sun with this one because it doesnt handle video well if you have the sun in front of the camera, possibly best to get a camcorder capable of hosting a shade or visor or whatever they call them these days!

There is a Memory Stick Duo/Pro slot just behind the flip out screen, this allows you to quickly transfer the card from the camcorder to a PC with a compatable slot, but do take on board that you can only store still photographs on this and not video.

The camera comes with a standard battery, make sure you get another bigger capacity one, search for "np-fm50" on Ebay for these, they are two and half a dozen and are very cheap.

The camera uses mini DVD disks, which dont have much capacity when filming in HD but in SD (Standard) mode you'll get a lot more time. Buy some DVD rewritable and keep them in your bag for these.

So, the camera comes well recommended, but you may or may not consider a hard disk version, which has its good and bad points, one of bad points is of course the fact that once the disk is full, you have to transfer the data over to a PC before doing anything else, a bit hard when out on the field with no PC to hand, one of the good points is of course that there's much more capacity on these disks than the Mini DVD's that the HDR-UX1 uses.

If you're looking for an example of video uploaded to Youtube and shot on the camera, go to vimeo dot com /scotland

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