Originally Posted by lucidream
Has anyone found a professional review of the PJ790?
Other than initial CES comments at its release in Jan 2013, there have been few (if any) complete reviews of the PJ790V. (Why?)
A few weeks ago, needing a high-end camcorder, I bought a PJ790V and I've been using it since then. Unfortunately, I've been mostly abroad and so I haven't been able to check all the results on the 1920x1080, 5.1 home system.
You can see above my comment/questions comparing the PJ790V and the 710/760. Here are my initial (notebook) comments about the PJ790V:
1. The image is good. No saturation. And with this lens, Sony has perfected the needs of a camcorder:
2. The Zeiss lens makes a difference. At its widest, the lens is perfect for video. The 26mm lens has a slight distortion (fish-eye) on the edges. With the PJ790V, there is no need for a wide angle lens.
3. The 17X zoom is perfect. In the lensfinder, the zoom stutters but this is not apparent in the recorded video.
4. Previous lenses/mics won't work - new shoe. Indeed, Sony has created a whole new plug standard - like Apple. But with the PJ790V, you won't need a wide angle.
5. Auto-focus is improved. The autofocus is much better than the SR11, and better than the CX550V. My only complaint now is that the focus in obscure light is not immediate.
6. Night-light seems to be simply a green filter. (Am I wrong?)
7. The PJ790V has a built-in light to illuminate videos, and this is not mentioned anywhere (!). It seems to illuminate to about 3-4 meters. Very useful.
8. I haven't seen the blue dot but there seems to be a fuzzy hexagon, every so often, depending on the direction of light. Maybe this explains why Sony included a lens shield. The camcorder has a flimsy lens shield that I have used a few times and it seems to correct the problem. Lens shield is cheap plastic, bulky and awkward. It attaches badly to the camcorder.
9. The 5.1 sound is remarkable. Is it because it has more space, it's further from zoom/focus motors? Further from the camera? (Looking at the catalog, I thought that the mic protuberance was extendable (it's not) but I think that this would be a useful feature.)
10. Mic fur is cheap but it seems to work, and controls ambient wind sound.
11. The sound is really, really good. (Sound is now the problem. Footsteps are included.)
12. The USB plug built into the handgrip is a useful feature. Sony gives a USB extender but in fact it's not necessary. The camcorder plug is long enough to plug into a PC. I have a 15 cm extender.
13. Compared to the SR11 or the CX550V, the PJ790V seems to be made of cheap plastic and has a weaker build. The flip out screen seems flimsy. This may simply be an impression however. How sturdy is the PJ790V. IMHO, the SR11 was rock solid.
14. Will the mic protuberance get caught in purses/knapsacks?
15. Menu navigation is improved, but still clunky. Touchscreen is still designed for fingers of teenage girls. At least, you return to where you were.
16. Depending what video capture format you choose, the PJ790V warns you whether it is possible, or not, to obtain stills from videos. This strikes me as a needless warning because Vegas/CS5/other software always offers the possibility of a screen capture.
17. There is no way to send still pix to the memory card and video to the internal memory. That is, you can't choose to record on different media. Or at least, I haven't found a way to do this.
18. Battery life is very good. No need to buy a second battery.
19. At first, I considered the projector to be an unnecessary toy but now I realize how it's a useful feature. The PJ790V provides a mini-HDMI input slot so that you can connect an external source to the projector.
20. I don't know what the projector's resolution is but 2 meters from a white wall in a darkened room provides enough detail to decide whether to keep the video or delete it. It's also sufficient to impress family/friends with a clip.
21. As a design improvement, I would move the projector to the front/bulkhead of the camera. It would become the flash/video light, and it also would mean that the flip out screen would be narrower. The projector focus could somehow be incorporated into the front dial. (At present, it's a simple sliding tab along the top of the fold-out screen.)
22. The GPS signal is slow and more seriously, sometimes wrong. That is, when the screen indicates that there is a GPS ID, the recorded video does not show the co-ordinates. IOW, it takes longer to identify the geographic position than the screen implies.
23. Stabilization is good, but not perfect. With a Steadicam, it's perfect. IOW, the combo of a Hague with the PJ790V's internal optical stabilizer is unbelievable. Depending on how you move the camera, you can literally recreate any image effect: from the impression of walking (as we imagine it to be) to Kubrick's tricycle in The Shining.
24. Without need for a wide-angle lens or another battery, it is easier to use the Hague. No need to rebalance weights.
SOFTWARE/RECORDING/POST-PRODUCTION (24p, 60p, 60i. Bit rates. Sony Vegas 12, editing, AVC etc.)
25. The MP4 records in stereo (only), 1360x720 at 30p, at 6Mb/sec.
26. The 60i is at 24 Mb/sec and the 60p is at 28. (?)
27. The 24p seems to be in fact 48 frames per second (interlaced?) at about 20 (or so) Mb/sec.
28. I think I'm going to stick with 60i since this is the AVC standard. At some point, software will be able to render this raw footage in the pristeen manner that only PMH/PMB seem to be able to do now.
29. Speaking of PMH, is there some other software that will copy/organize m2ts files from my camcorder? I use PMH primarily for this. I don't like Sony's EULA and I would like to have Mapview even if I'm not on the Internet.
30. Raw files played through VLC have an occasional jerk that is not apparent in PMB. (I think that these are 60p files.)
31. Why does my PMB have no sound? (Answer: PMB has its own volume control.)Edited by August1991 - 6/19/13 at 12:38pm