I’m thinking of going back to a traditional camcorder to capture videos more easily than using a DSLR and more capable than my iPhone 4. After some quick research, this Sony HDR PJ260V camcorder caught my eye. For starters, this camcorder comes with a built-in projector! You know how kids like to see pictures right after you’ve snapped them with a digital camera? Same philosophy here. Instead of connecting the camcorder to a TV or computer to view freshly captured footage, you can view them on a wall or any flat surface. I thought this small projector would be more of a gimmick, but most of reviews state that the projector is usable (but keep your lofty expectations in check).
Besides the built-in projector is the 30x optical zoom. While only beginning my research, most HD camcorders feature a 10x or 15x optical zoom. I pretty much discount digital zoom stats.
Everything else in this little camcorder sounds on the mark too. Good low light shooting, image stabilization, good audio pickup, external mic capable, touch screen, SD card expansion, a wind noise filter, and even GPS tagging of pictures and video – all for about $500.
So what’s stopping this no-brainer buy? Since I like my Canon digital cameras, I have an affinity to Canon products. But, I didn’t really care for the video quality of my old (and stolen) Canon ZR. I still remember being wowed by the video quality of an even older Sony camcorder I had way back in the day. So I’m open to getting Sony for video and sticking with Canon for stills.
The biggest hurdle? The funky format of the video files. Ever heard of the 1080-60p AVCHD format? I haven’t. For Mac users, you have to know that 1080-60p isn’t natively compatibile with iMovie ’11. So if you can’t edit the video from this camcorder on a Mac, what’s the use?
Well, fortunately, there are workarounds. You can always record in other, lesser-quality video formats that iMovie does understand. You can convert the video as described here using a variety of tools. ClipWrap, VoltaicHD, and Aunsoft’s MTS Converter for Mac seem to be mentioned a lot. There’s also Movist and Rewrap2m4v. If the video import can be overcome somewhat easily, then this camcorder looks like a solid purchase.
Oh, you may want to consider getting an SD card and a higher capacity battery (NP-FV70, but not the huge FV100).