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Discussion Starter #1
With all the bells and whistles of the regular Sony camcorders, but much smaller and tougher, specifically almost identical in parts and capabilities to the Sony HDR-CX580: same sensor, 10X optical zoom, active mode steady shot optical, 3" 920k screen, touch focus, mic level adjustment, 108060p mode, f1.8-f3.4 G lens, etc. waterproof means submersible to 16 feet.


Here is a video straight from the camera, using the telemacro mode, which allows great close-ups with narrow dof:




Here are frame grabs from the video straight from the camera:



 

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For a year or so, I've been jealous of your camera budget as well as you "taste" for good equipment. In one case, I spent $350 specifically because of you and your reviews! I still want all of the rest of your cameras, 3D included.


As for this video, you should be complimented. One of the hard things to learn is that zoom and pan are bad. You did none of that and let the action come from the subject making the video fun to watch. Bees are interesting when you look at them up close and personal.


Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Bill, Thanks for your comments. We all appreciate your informed responses in this forum. I hope you have not regretted your purchase.


What I have learned are two main things (for non-professionals):


1. At the end of the day big cameras reduce the amount of creativity because one is unable or unwilling to carry them around. And lately, small has not meant the compromise that it used to. The biggest development in photography and videography is the availability of small but good. The Sony GW77 and the Sony RX100 are the latest examples.


2. Different camera types for different uses. Examples: For low light: you just really need a big sensor and a fast lens. Period. For sports: you need a real camcorder, with a big and power zoom lens. No substitute.


Now the GW77 is interesting: it is small but powerful. And it fills a niche: rain videos!


You almost never see videos or pictures of activities in the rain, except in the movies where the rain is usually faked. Well I travel to countries that have big rainy seasons, and in fact during those times there is more activity outside then when it does not rain (for example, monsoon agriculture). Life does not stop when it rains.


Well, with the GW77 one can take good video in the rain. Sony now also makes a water-proof pro model that is 5X the price and 5X as big, but it is essentially the consumer PJ740 with water protection. The GW77 can do 95% of what that camera can do (quality, tricks), but it will travel much more readily, and won't attract attention, which is key to videos of people engaged in their activities, work and play. Sony seems to have increased the quality (resolution) of its 2012 camcorder line. The GW77 is no TM900 in sharpness, but it is close.


Bees are active too, as we see. Bees in the rain!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041  /t/1419847/sony-hdr-gw77-waterproof-dustproof-shockproof-small-hd-camcorder#post_22211671


Bill, Thanks for your comments. We all appreciate your informed responses in this forum. I hope you have not regretted your purchase.
Thank you for the compliment. And, no I have not regretted my purchases in any way. My thanks to is you and others that try various cameras and test them before I spend my money!


Mark, you were directly responsible for my favorite camera, the HX9V. I took it to Maui right after I bought it. I spent 10 days trying to prove to myself that it couldn't measure up to the SDT-750 cousin to the TM900. I have lots of side by side clips that, when displayed on my 55" TV are indistinguishable from each other.


Later I took both cameras to Europe. The HX9V got the better shots because I could "lurk" in the narrow streets and markets without intimidating the colorful locals.


You have made a much appreciated contribution to my retirement years. My granddaughters and I are having more fun with learning video than I know how to describe. Our current project, although going too slowly, is to create a four part video series to help other kids understand story telling with video.


Bill
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041  /t/1419847/sony-hdr-gw77-waterproof-dustproof-shockproof-small-hd-camcorder#post_22211671


..... And lately, small has not meant the compromise that it used to. The biggest development in photography and videography is the availability of small but good. The Sony GW77 and the Sony RX100 are the latest examples. .....Now the GW77 is interesting: it is small but powerful. And it fills a niche: rain videos!....
I put the RX100 on my shopping list. I get a daily report from Google about anything written about it. But, until you mentioned it, I had not considered a "rain camera". And, I live in the Pacific Northwest. We get to dry out the clouds coming in off the Pacific before the rest of the country does. Gortex was invented for me.


You may become responsible for me buying another camera. Photographing and videoing the Rain Forest in Olympic National Park may be in my future!


Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I too was looking forward to the RX100, but decided that the GW77 provided a new and useful capability. The RX100's skimpy zoom (with a very small aperture at the end) also turned me off, as well the lack of control of audio (which the G77 has in a limited way!). The RX100 is a still camera with video; the G77 is a real camcorder.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041  /t/1419847/sony-hdr-gw77-waterproof-dustproof-shockproof-small-hd-camcorder#post_22211930


I too was looking forward to the RX100, but decided that the GW77 provided a new and useful capability. The RX100's skimpy zoom (with a very small aperture at the end) also turned me off, as well the lack of control of audio (which the G77 has in a limited way!). The RX100 is a still camera with video; the G77 is a real camcorder.
Maybe I'll have to find a way to steal enough from the grocery budget for both!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
For stills and video in little packages, the combination of the RX100 and the GW77 can't be beat, with one for stills, the other for video, however.


The RX100 is really not a good video camera. This is from the RX100 manual:



"If you use a function such as zoom while shooting a movie, the sound of the camera operating will be recorded. The sound of the MOVIE button operating may also be recorded when you press the MOVIE button to stop recording."


I cannot believe they cannot make a silent movie button for the Sony cameras, as on all Sony Handycams. The Sony Nex-5N has this same problem of the clicking movie button. It means you have to edit every clip - it is very annoying if left in at the end of every scene in a video.


The GW77 movie button is completely silent.


There is a second limitation to the RX100 zoom, besides it making noise (which is unacceptable) - the zoom speed is not variable in movie mode. The GW77 zoom is variable, depending on pressure, and completely silent. If one zooms during video, having the ability to control zoom speed is critical.


And there is this - you cannot turn off digital zoom in video, and there is no indication when you have gone beyond optical:


"During movie shooting, the digital zoom always operates when the zoom scale exceeds 3.6×, even if [Digital Zoom] is set to [Off]."


This the degrading digital zoom (as the manual says), not the good one:


"[Clear Image Zoom] is not available while recording movies. The camera zooms slowly while recording movies."


Clear image zoom is used in video for the GW77; you can turn off (the default) digitl zoom on the GW77.



And, of course:


"Continuous shooting is possible for approximately 29 minutes at one time at the camera’s default settings and when the temperature is approximately 25°C (77°F)."


The maximum continuous recording time for the GW77 is 13 hours! I don't intend to make a 13-hour contiuous movie, but I can foresee some events that require more than 29 minutes.


With the limited zoom range - less than 4X - and the high minimum f-value in telephoto - much higher than the GW77 even at 10X - and these other noise and zoom issues (plus no control of audio level, unlike the GW77), I have been turned off the RX100.
 

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Google has an alert service. If you put in a search term it will send you a daily summary of alerts to the subject. A few days ago, I put in "HDR-GW77". Today there was a single alert with a link to "Sony HDR GW77 Garden Video in HD using Tele Macro Mode on ...Use of telemacro mode, which enables close-up distances of as little as 80cm at 300mm focal ...
". I followed it and saw your video. It was the same one you started the thread with. Sometimes google can make the world seem small.


So it appears the HX9V ( that got such goodreviews as a video camera) is better for video than the RX100. I think I was expecting at least an equal for video. The RX100 suddenly showed up as available to buy at the Sony Store online, so maybe a few will soon get them and post some real results. If what the manual says is as bad as it sounds, I am a lot less interested in the camera. Not being good at video would hurt my feelings.


I am familiar with the aggravation of button noise. The HX9V that I have is actually the third one. The first one had a flash that didn't pop up so Best Buy gave me a new one. I took that on a trip. I was used to the video button on my Panasonic that is easy to push. The video button on HX9V is recessed a little and slower to respond. My thumb is one of the bigger ones issued. Because of the slower response and thumb, I was squeezing hard to get it started. After a week, part of the plastic developed a squeak. It was not noticeable at the beginning of a clip, but every clip from the second half of the trip ended in a squeak. Best Buy was harder to convince, but they replaced that one too. To solve the problem, I cut a piece of plastic with a hole punch that matched the size of the button and carefully glued it on so it is no longer recessed. And, I am more gentle now.


If the picture quality of the video is good, I might be able to live with the restrictions. Usually my zooming and panning shots are less interesting that if I hold still and usually I'll pick the best part out of the middle of the clip in editing. Button noise would be eliminated in the process.


I agree it seems stupid to allow those flaws. Maybe if the reviews hit it hard it will improve in the next versions. The HX9V was improved from a few earlier models. The HX10V, stepped back in video quality. The HX20/30V seems to be OK so far. CNET was pushing it for awhile as this years good choice.


Bill
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041  /t/1419847/sony-hdr-gw77-waterproof-dustproof-shockproof-small-hd-camcorder#post_22217867


.........The RX100 is really not a good video camera......
I borrowed this from another thread. This guy offers a little more enthusiastic review that I had not read yet. RX100 Review .


Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That was an informative review - but it is camera-centric. Beating the NEX 7 or Canon DSLRs is not the point for video (that's easy), the question is: how does the RX100 video quality compare to a similarly-priced, or lower, camcorder (putting aside the poor zoom and click)?


Not obvious the video quality is better than the Hx9v. What you get are the nice dof effects and low-light capability, but you lose high telephoto and zoom.


Btw, the GW77 is also made in Japan. Build quality is excellent.


I am still mulling over whether the RX100 is worthy for video.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I will post in a few days a new GW77 video of early morning street activity in Dhaka. It will have some shots made while rapidly walking behind fetchers, zooms following rickshshaws, and shots in the rain.


Here is a frame grab preview (uploading a video is impossible from where I am):

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041  /t/1419847/sony-hdr-gw77-waterproof-dustproof-shockproof-small-hd-camcorder#post_22219923


.......I am still mulling over whether the RX100 is worthy for video.
For me the mulling points are will it do better photos than the HX9V, will video quality be as good or better as the HX9V and will it fit in my pocket. The pocket part is important because I normally am preoccupied with a primary mission and shooting video (or stills) is secondary. But, the additional point of rain proof has me off balance in the choice of my next fun camera/camcorder to own.


Your glorious Dhaka frame grab is full of questions. At first you see the steel pots and bus color. Then the heads in the bus windows suggest a story. And, because it is so out of proportion, the window with the pale, older female grabs attention.


Looking for single frames in 60p video is an entire separate version of still photography. I have an 8x10 of a granddaughter trying to hit a softball where the expression on her face is priceless. I would never have captured that expression with a still camera.


You need some rain where you are. You would be the only one shooting.


I look forward to your Dhaka video.


Safe travels...


Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #15
"the window with the pale, older female grabs attention."


That's no female, that is the Prime Minister of Bangladesh (a poster picture seen through the bus window)!


We got plenty of rain:



 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041  /t/1419847/sony-hdr-gw77-waterproof-dustproof-shockproof-small-hd-camcorder#post_22220452


"the window with the pale, older female grabs attention."

That's no female, that is the Prime Minister of Bangladesh (a poster picture seen through the bus window)!

We got plenty of rain:
Two more shots full of color! Rain changes the light. And, oops on the PM!


Bill
 

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Nice frame grabs Mark. Thanks for posting the raw video of this cam for download as well. The GW77's pricepont is high, but you do get alot more features and quite a increase in video quality than the other waterproof cams available today.


How do you like the pistol-grip style cam? Some of your footage seemed quite unsteady at times- full zoom?.


It does look sharp, very close to the TM900. I really liked the colors in your footage on my big screen. Have you tried using it underwater yet? I'm curious how the lcd touchscreen performs under water.


The blog link that you posted stated that the controls were not as responsive underwater. The underwater footage in the blog link looked very impressive. Makes me want to upgrade my Kodak Playsport ZX3.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The video of flowers/bees was taken at full telephoto, but the seeming unsteadiness is mostly the flowers waving in the wind (including the background moving, which were flowers). The stabilization is the same as the big Sony camcorders except the CX760. The GW77 has optical steady shot+active mode+roll stability. I will have shots taken while walking/runing in the Dhaka video, as well as telephoto shots that really demonstrate how good the stabilization is. The stabilization is better than the TM900.


The form factor and very light weight makes it easy to shoot one-handed. Thus, I could hold an umbrella and shoot in the rain (but not worry about the camcorder getting wet).


Nothing, not even pro cameras I have worked with, beats the TM900 for sharpness. The GW77 is close - I think Sony improved the sharpness in all the 2012 camcorders over their past models.


I have not tried underwater, and do not anticipate doing that soon. Sony recommends not using the touch screen while underwater (athough one can, incuding spot focus). There is a special "underwater" scene that corrects the color balance for underwater shots.


At the Sony Store in Hong Kong, they had a water tank that you could submerge the camcorder in and take videos.
 

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Thanks for the info. The stabilization being better than the TM900 in such a small unit is pretty incredible. It's really amazing how far technology has progressed in these small form factor cams. This cam has really taken it to a new level.


I'm looking forward to seeing more footage from your GW77. Be safe in "George Harrison" land.
 
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