Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sony MHS-PM1 - a great take-anywhere camera / HD camcorder.

I recently saw Amazon selling the Sony MHS-PM1 camera cheap for around £140, and thought this might be an ideal camera to carry anywhere, for those impromptu photographic moments. So I ordered one this week (in tasteful orange), and can report it is an impressive device.

Already owning a small Lumix compact, plus an FZ18 for serious photo taking, I wanted something which could slip into a jeans pocket, and could be pulled-out quickly for immediate shooting. The Sony is good enough for this, and here are the pros and cons as I see it:

Pros:
  • Small, and lightweight.
  • Removable battery and memory card, a plus in my opinion over the rival Flip cameras.
  • Quick and easy to use. Frame your shot on the LCD screen, then either press 'photo' to take a 5 megapixel still, or 'movie' to start shooting digital video.
  • Up to 1080p video resolution.
  • Fixed focus lens, which eliminates focus hunting issues which traditional camcorders can suffer from.
Cons:
  • The glossy LCD can be difficult to see in bright sunlight.
  • The fixed focus lens can limit artistic shots, but then this camera is not designed for that kind of photography.
  • No optical zoom, and the digital zoom is quite jerky. I can live without these though.
  • Sony still sticking to their expensive Memorystick card format.
  • Plastic enclosure feels a little cheap. Had a metal case been used this would have been a hugely desirable camera.
Here are a couple of photo and video examples taken yesterday. I'm really pleased with this camera, and plan to keep it tucked in my pocket from now on. Some reviews report the low-light performance might suffer a bit, but for this price, I'm not worried. £140 for a pocket-sized, HD camcorder and digital stills camera? A bargain!


video

This video clip was shot at 1080p, and trust me when I say the quality is very good when viewed on my Bravia TV!

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