This is my first "real" post on this board
(I had to post 3 small posts before to get around the anti-spammer measures
) For starter, I want to thank all of you who have posted your comments, videos and experiences on the CX520/500v and the XR520/500v camcorders
Youve helped me greatly since Ive been in the process of shopping for a new camcorder for the last month, and this can be a daunting task even with the proper information because there are always some important compromises to make when selecting a camcorder. For example; the CX520/500v while having a fantastic O.I.S (with their additional 3-Way Shake-Canceling E.I.S) have no mic/headphone/viewfinder while the XR520/500v, although having the mic/headphone/viewfinder, dont have the 3-Way Shake-Canceling E.I.S. For me, these were really big compromises and I wasnt really satisfied with either models
Still I had to choose, so after weeks of research and thanks to your many posts, I had decided which compromise(s) I disliked the least and I was about to buy the XR500V on sale here in Canada for 949$ (~ 900 US$). That sale was ending today but just as I was ready to order I read about Sonys new lineup for 2010. Am I glad I waited until the last minute! From what Ive been reading, the new XR550V/CX550V get many new upgrades from their previous models (and a few downgrades as well). It seems like Sony fixed most of the major complaints by users of these camcorders.
Here are the details Ive gathered up to now. Note that for simplicity sake, Ive shortened the XR550V/CX550V to XRs/CXs respectively. Also note that some described features havent been confirmed yet and are sometime contradicted by different sources on the Internet. Even Sonys different press releases are sometime contradictory
But for nowAs of January 11 2010:Major features that didnt change on both models:
> Back-illuminated 1/2.88" 12MP Exmor-R CMOS sensor
> 1920×1080i HD format
> GPS receiver with Geotagging
> Illumination: 11 Lux STD mode / 3 Lux LowLux modeMajor features that changed on both models:(** denotes user addressed complaints, + positive changes, - negatives changes)
** 2X wider angle G-lens, 29.8mm-298mm vs. older 43mm-516mm (great for the majority of uses such as indoor/panoramic filming, bad for filming far away subjects such as birds)
- 10X zoom instead of 12x before -> This is the only important downgrade feature they have made IMO. Read more below:
This new 10X zoom combined with the new wide angle means that, as noted by Suntan 3 posts below: "The new camera will have markedly less reach than the old one" (or about 42% less reach by my estimate) and ideally the zoom factor should have been increased to ~17X instead of been reduced to 10X to compensate for the reduction in reach. The more I think about it, the more I believe this will be either a deal maker or a deal breaker, depending on each user's need.
Also, logically these lens changes should have an impact on video quality, such as sharpness, color fidelity, etc. Even low light sensitivity might be affected. We will have to wait for test results to see just how much impact all these changes have made.
** 2x accelerated auto-focus algorithm (should be closer to Panasonic/Cannon auto-focus performance)
** 24Mbps AVCHD FX recording mode (older 16 Mbps FH mode still available, as well as 9 Mbps HQ mode and 5 Mbps LP mode)
** SD/SDHC and Stick PRO Duo memory cards compatible. Update:
According to Sony France, SD/SDHC (> class 4) is confirmed for Video recording only, Memory Stick Pro for Images capture. Final details are still sketchy...
+ 3.5 Extra Fine LCD display (921K) with TruBlack technology (small XRs upgrade / major CXs upgrade)
** Assignable Dial Knob for Iris/Shutter/Exposure/WB/Focus (finally some manual control
** Viewfinder (color 201k) (small XRs upgrade, old EVF was 124k / major CXs upgrade)
+ O.I.S. with 3-Way Shake-Canceling E.I.S. now active from Wide to Tele zoom (small CXs upgrade / major XRs upgrade ) Wow, imagine even better I.S. than the CX520/500v now available on both CXs/XRs!
See preview link at the end of this post
+ Lower power consumption ( XRs are almost the same as the CXs now. This should improve camcorder running time)Old CXs -> CX550V changes only:
**Dedicated Mic and Headphone inputs (was already available on old XRs)Old XRs -> XR550V changes only:
+ 1080/60p playback via HDMI and compatible HDTV (was already available on old CXs)
+ HD to DVD built-in conversion (was already available on old CXs)A few other notable changes (positives & negatives):
+ Sony Cyber-shot Intelligent AUTO (iAUTO) adjusts optimum camcorder settings with Face Detection recognition (handheld or tripod)
- New XRs and CXs get only the fastest HQ 9 Mbps SD mode (SP/LP are gone) Update:
According to Sony France, the other SD modes are still available; SP (6 Mbps) / LP (3 Mbps)
+ New NP-FV50 battery offers 15% increased capacity compared with previous models. Update Jan 11, 2010:
According to SonyStyle.com, the new FV series batteries ARE compatible with the older FH series. They have the same Battery Type (InfoLITHIUM H-series: Li-ionvoltage), Output Voltage : DC 8.4V (max) and Basic Dimensions. Only their capacity has changed: 6.1Wh/900mAh (FH50) versus 7Wh (1030mAh) (FV50). In other words, you will be able to use either type of battery on all CX550/520/500V or XR550/520/500V. The difference will be more running time from the newer model. Links to full specs and camcorder compatibility at the end of this post.
+ Direct Copy to external HDD
To summarize, many complaints that users had have been fixed. There are now very few differences between the new XRs and CXs, mainly their recording media (hard disk vs. flash). The biggest reservations I still have are the very limited HD resolution modes (theres only one
) I wish Sony had included 720P and/or true 1080P but I understand their need to differentiate these consumer models from their professional line. Im very curious to see how these new models will perform and if they do well, Ill be getting either a XR550V or a CX550V in the spring (after their initial high prices drop to more reasonable levels)
Note: attached below is a PDF from Sonys USA website comparing the XR520V/CX520V with the new HR550V/CX550VLinks to some of the info posted above:
Official Sony USA HDR-XR550V page: (for detailed specs, click on the specifications tab)http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921666073263
Official Sony USA HDR-CX550V page: (for detailed specs, click on the specifications tab)http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921666073231
Official Sony France HDR-XR550VE specifications pagehttp://www.sony.fr/product/hdd-avchd...nicalspecs#tab
Official Sony France HDR-CX550VE specifications page:http://www.sony.fr/product/cam-high-...nicalspecs#tab
NP-FH50 battery specs and camcorder compatibility:http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665070965
NP-FV50 battery specs and camcorder compatibility:http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921666066758
Sony's CES 2010 preview of their latest Image Stabilization: (Click on the video)http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/08/s...d-at-ces-2010/
Sony-2009-2010-Camcorder-Comparison.pdf 58.3310546875k . file