Design and Build Quality
Sony’s HDR – PJ50E has a glossy black exterior with shades of silver on the frame. The front consists of the optical lens and an LED flash. The zoom button, mode selection, photo button and the Flash slot are located on the top and the start/stop button for video recording is located at the back of the camcorder. The side flips open to display the viewfinder, as well as the power, play and projector button. The connectivity buttons are housed on the inside, as well, viz. the mic, mini HDMI out and microUSB. The slots might be there, but the camcorder doesn’t ship with the HDMI cable or the microUSB cable. The projector focus button is placed on the top of the flap while the bottom consists of the microSD card slot.
The camcorder hinge seems sturdy, but it doesn’t have any prevention mechanism to protect it in case you snap it on too hard. Button feedback is good with both soft presses (for focus), as well as full presses (for clicking). The camcorder weighs around a kg with the battery and the HDD included, but it doesn’t really feel heavy in the hand. The button placement is great but that said, with the flap open it’s difficult to manoeuvre as the buttons are located on all three sides of the camcorder. The flap can move a maximum of 180 degrees in the front direction and 90 degrees on the back, which makes it a total of 270 degrees of rotation. Design and build is good, which is standard with most camcorders.
The camcorder has an Exmor R CMOS Sensor and a 29.8 mm wide angle Sony G Lens capable of clicking up to 7.1 megapixel still picture shots at a resolution of 3072 x 2304. It has a 12x optical zoom and 160x digital zoom and comes with a 220GB hard disk drive and supports SD cards upto 64GB. The camcorder has a 5.1channel MIC with Dolby Digital audio technology and a 3-inch LCD touch panel display with a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.
As part of the features, the camcorder has ‘Optical SteadyShot’ technology that facilitates image stabilisation. The device has face detection and smile detection features, which pop up in white and orange square boxes respectively. It also comes with the x.v. colour technology, which conforms to the xvYCC, an international standard for colour space in videos along with a D-range optimiser that works on the camcorder’s Bionz processor.
The camcorder has a simple UI and operating it is further accentuated by the prompt responsiveness of the touch screen. Opening the flap takes you to the movie mode by default and the menu, zoom and recording icons pop up on the screen. The menu includes six clearly defined icons viz. shooting mode option, camera/mic settings, image quality/size, playback functions, edit/copy function, and setup.