The expectations before the test
Nowadays Sony offers a beautiful collection of powerful camcorders able to shoot at full HD resolution. One of the last camera launched by this brand is the HDR-CX305E, a model which uses flash memory (16GB Internal) for data storage. Unlike hard drive models, this camcorder has no mechanical parts that could deteriorate due to a twitch a bit violent. The big novelty is the integration of a new sensor called Exmor R and a promising optical stabilization using three types of stabilization. We tested this beautiful cool toy (with a price of about 800 euros) and we can provide you the conclusions.
The reality in test
The first impression is that Sony HDR-CX305E fits comfortably in hand. Very small (just 12.5 x 6.2 x 6.5 cm), lightweight (about 370 g), and with excellent finish, it even offers a swivel screen (6.7 cm diagonal) with good quality of the image. With its 230,000 pixels, the display manages very well to judge the sharpness of the development but also to adjust quality picture. With a little attention, we managed to detect quickly any focus issues or white balance.
We have also noticed that on the touch screen appear, in small icons, menus of the device. A constraint at first sight, that you will finally master very quickly.
First good point: image stabilization
The image quality was not expected, starting with optical stabilization. Whoever took this camcorder in hand in our tests first noticed the stability of the image which is very impressive. The new technology called Steady Shot compensates tremors, including the maximum optical zoom (12x or a 35mm equivalent of 29.8 to 357.6), and is able to compensate with ease all these moves. Therefore, we no longer hesitate to use the zoom to tighten the frame closer to a distant subject.
Excellent stabilization, too, we appreciated the “Wide Angle” (F29, 8 35mm equivalent) setting , very good when you wish to take a panoramic view (the famous traveling) quickly. Needless to tune firmly on its feet, a firm hand and a rotation of the pelvis (or shoulders) and the stabilizer is responsible for compensating the tremor. Very good for the scenes on the move. Held at arm’s length, it is possible to walk with the camcorder without feeling the screen. At this level you will almost become an improvised “cameraman”.
The sensor Exmor A. Impressive full HD quality
We were already familiar with the impressive performance of the seven million pixel sensor called Exmor R during the testing of the camcorder Sony HDR-CV550-V. This is a true technological achievement, in its design, perfect for capturing maximum light. The HDR-CX305E also takes advantage of it as it comes with such a sensor of 7.1 megapixels, too. No need to be an expert to see that the videos made with this camera are of excellent quality. Color fidelity, sharpness, quality stabilization, the camera it’s just perfect. With the exception of one detail, the sounds of friction on the trigger zoom. Indeed, we must consider manipulating the zoom (12x optical and 160x digital) gently when watching the video. We tested two products and you must note that the noise is common.
The power of the sensor will also be verified very quickly indoors. Even with very little light, it is quite possible to get a pleasant image. Certainly, in very low light, a digital grain appears, but there is no need to severe criticism for this.
Among highly detailed menus, we also appreciate the quick access to essential options like white balance that takes place – very effectively – with just a few clicks.
In camera mode, the quality drops much faster indoors. Same as maximum resolution (3072 x 2304 pixels), there is a significant loss of details. The colors turns to yellow, a digital noise appears and as soon as the light dwindles away, it feels like quality picture is not very good. However, we were quite surprised with the quality of photos taken outdoors when lighting conditions are good. To sum up, the HDR-CX305 is a very good camcorder compared to many compact digital cameras.
A weak point: very large files!
Shooting in Full HD involves good storage capacity. This camcorder features a 16GB internal memory but we strongly recommend to add an SDHC card or Memory Stick PRO Duo Mark II Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo. Otherwise, in full resolution, this camera does not shoot more than 1 hour and 30 minutes. The videos are very large (count 2 GB for 13 minutes of video) with an impressive speed, very close to that of a Blu-ray, namely 22.05 Mbps.
This camcorder is dedicated to advanced users, we can bet that they will carry out video editing. In this case, you should know that you need a really powerful machine (latest generation processor of 2 GHz and 6 GB of RAM) for code without too much trouble for shooting your videos.
Finally, we measured a battery life of 1 hour and 55 minutes continuously, using very little zoom. A measure that touches the promise of manufacturer announced a lifetime of 2:00.
The new Sony HDR-CX305E is simply a very good digital camcorder. Excellent image quality, excellent image stabilization, good sound quality and usability of menus successful, this little device is really impressive. But quality has a price: 800 euros in online stores.
Positive points (pros)
* Changed optical stabilizer and improved sensitivity
* 200 fps for detailed movies in slow motion;
* Internal Storage + Card Reader bonus;
* A powerful Sony sensor, with good characteristics in test;
* Wide-angle (very rare in video);
Negative points (cons)
* The price is high;
* The optical zoom is a little bit limited to x10 or x12;
* Only 2.6 inch screen.
Sensor type: R Exmor CMOS;
Optical Zoom: 12X;
Video Recording Media + Internal Storage: Memory Stick Pro Duo / Pro-HG Duo or SD / SD HC;
Video Image Format: 1080p;
Recording Media Photo: Integrated flash memory / Memory Stick;