I love Sony Video cameras. At least I did at one point. After my recent Sony video camera purchase I am not so sure that Sony is putting out the best camera anymore.
As many of you know I have been using the Sony DCR-SX44 Video Camera and I love it. The camera starts immediately after opening the viewing screen, it had great video quality, a powerful 60x zoom, it was easy to navigate through dates I had previously videotaped on and even had the total video amount for each day I videotaped. But that isn’t all. It came with a charger and Audio Video cables that went from the camera to my video capturing device. It addressed basically every need I had as a surveillance investigator. That is why I gave it such high praise in my camera review video almost 2 years ago. I had reminded you what I had on my previous Sony camera because I will be comparing it to what I have now.
Sadly the screen on my Sony DCR-SX44 video camera stopped working properly. The camera still videotapes it just doesn’t allow me to see what I am videotaping. Not being able to see what your videotaping just doesn’t work in this line of business…Or any business I would imagine.
Needless to say, I went to Best Buy and made a Bee-Line to the Sony Cameras. I found the Sony HDR-CX220 which was in my price range. It appeared to come with the usual functions that Sony is known for like the steady shot and Carl Zeiss wide lens. It was priced at $249.00 which I thought was a fair price for their camera so I bought it.
The Sony HDR-CX220 Review
I got the camera home and was very excited to see how far Sony had come over the past two years since purchasing one of their cameras. I was quickly disappointed in what I discovered.
What you get with your Sony HDR-CX220 Camera (or what you don’t get)
This is what I got when opening the Sony box
- USB extension Cord
- HDMI Cable (from the camera to the television)
- Operating Guide
What I needed that wasn’t included
- Camera Charger
- A/V Cable (audio video cable)
Because Sony is either too cheap or is trying to pad their profit margin they decided to have this camera charged by a USB cable that is connected to the camera (hence the USB extension cord). So either you must have a computer to charge his camera or a USB power plug (like the ones on iPhone Chargers)
It’s not that they did away with the old chargers and went to this USB way only, they continue to have the spot in the camera for a regular charger they just don’t supply you with one.
Luckily for me I had an old charger from my previous Sony camera purchase works fine with this camera.
[I paid around the same amount for a Sony camera with HD and a touch screen and it came with A/V cables and a charger. What is going on?]
The model of charger or power adapter that will work on this camera is the Sony model AC-L200D. You can find it on Amazon or just click the link and it will take you there. It’s only around $20.00 and you will be happy that you got it.
Audio Video Cables (or the lack there of)
I need audio video cables to capture my video with the date and time stamp using Dazzle. There is no way around it, I must have those cables.
Sony doesn’t supply them in the box nor do they sell them at Best Buy. They only way you can really get them for an affordable price is by buying them off the Sony website, which I had to do. So I was in a jam and needing them immediately, I ended up ordering them off the Sony website and had them shipped asap. The cables were $19.99 and the express shipping ran me $15.00. So $35.00 more I had to spend to be able to do my job which is irritating.
The cable is a MULTI port audio video cable. The model number for the cable is VMC-15MR2.
I haven’t used these cables but apparently you can watch you videos on a television with a HDMI port when it is connected to your camera.
The battery lasts a little over an hour on a full charge. I would recommend getting an additional battery for those moments when you are videotaping and not near a charger.
I am using the battery from the Sony DCR-SX44 as my backup as it fits this one.
Navigating the Camera Menu
They have chosen to use a joystick button approach for navigating through menus. This is the Panasonic cameras were already doing (which I didn’t really care for). I liked Sony’s touch screen much better on other models but it seems as if they are moving away from that for some reason.
Video Play Back
On the previous versions of the Sony cameras you could move to a date on the camera and it would separate the dates where video was obtained. So if I shot video on the September 19, 2013, it would separate all that video from any other date and give the total amount of video that was taken.
This was ideal for me when I needed to figure out how much video was of my subject verses total video. Of course there is a work-around for this but this made my life a bit easier when working insurance surveillance cases.
The 32x Zoom is Significantly Different from the 60x Zoom
I had a bit of a wakeup call when it came to the difference between 32x zoom on the Sony HDR-CX220 and the Sony DCR-SX44 which was the older model. The 32x zoom is not as much zoom as I would like but I will say that by not having as much zoom it keeps me from zooming in too close and the camera begins shaking around. It also has a “Steady Shot” function which helps with camera shake as well. So my video quality looks a bit better as a result. For those who need a powerful zoom this is not going to be the camera for you.
Low Light Videotaping
When videotaping at times where there is a limited amount of light, you will find that the video shows noise (signs of grain or pixilation.) This is pretty normal for this entry level video camera. It is better than Panasonic’s entry level cameras like the Panasonic HC-V10. Either way don’t expect too much when videotaping at night.
Videotaping in General
This camera has face recognition (which is pretty typical with cameras now days), a smooth zoom (not too fast), and the video quality is fine.
This camera takes 8.9 mega pixel photos and will even take photos while you are videotaping. I have accidently taken pictures while videotaping and have had to edit them out which is annoying. The photo is right next to the zoom control so accidently touching the button is bound to happen. The older versions did allow pictures to be taken while videotaping.
This might be something you like. I don’t care for it very much.
My Final Thoughts On the Sony HDR-CX220
For around $250.00 I would expect more from Sony. I would at least expect the normal things that come with a camera like the power cable and audio video cables. Not having those in the box really put a bad taste in my mouth. Almost like Sony it taking advantage of their customers. It was even more irritating to find out I couldn’t purchase the A/V cables at the store and had to order them through Sony’s website.
From what I understand there are Sony Camera models that come with the aforementioned items that were not included with this camera. They cost a bit more but at least you won’t have to scramble to find what you need online.
I am fine with the video quality and even with the fact that they took away the touch screen function.
The camera feels like it was cheaply made unlike their previous versions. The components inside might be great but the outside shell feels like plastic.
I guess I won’t have been so critical on this camera if Sony would have provided more value than the price they are charging. I feel as though I am getting less and paying the same.
You might like the camera however I am a bit indifferent as to whether I would recommend this camera or not.
I hope this help you when purchasing your next camera.