- Crystal clear video, decent still pictures, slimmest HD camcorder around, price.
- Video transfer software and cables not included, lacks advanced controls, only offers interlaced HD pictures.
A great entry to the camcorder market that's perfect for those with HD televisions.
Price$ 2,299.00 (AUD)
The Sony HDR-HC3 is an excellent entry to the HD video camera market. At a price comparable to similar high-end Mini DV camcorders - and with quality that puts many of them to shame - the HC3 makes a great choice for anyone who wants to enter the world of High Definition video.
The HC3 is the most compact HD consumer-focused model yet, and the first one to be offered at a truly affordable level. Unsurprisingly, the video quality from the HC3 blows away the competition. The native 1080i images are crisp and sharp with fantastic levels of detail. No standard definition DV camcorder can get anywhere near the HC3 in terms of video quality.
Video is also smooth with well balanced colours under both natural and artificial lighting conditions. One area of slight disappointment is recording in low light levels, where traces of colour stepping and a murky haze detract from the otherwise excellent picture. These artefacts vanish when activating the low light colour mode, but the frame rate drops considerably.
Sony's standard night vision mode using infrared LEDs also makes a welcome return. Standard definition pictures are also good, though you'd be foolish to buy the camera purely for this purpose. Although the auto focus is quick and sharp, we found it would sometimes get stuck in a position where it was completely out of focus, resulting in the need to zoom in and out to correct the problem. The 10x optical zoom is good, but we would like even greater zoom. Progressive scan would also be a good addition.
The 4 megapixel still photos were impressive. Basic manual controls and a flash are a good inclusion. The HC3 can also take images while recording video, though only at 2.3 megapixels, and only three can be taken during a single recording session. Battery life is reasonable, and we managed to get about an hour and a half out of the camera.
The HC3 immediately stands out from Sony's latest crop of cameras with its attractive gloss black finish and gunmetal silver lens barrel. A 960 x 220 pixel high resolution 2.7 inch widescreen LCD sits neatly on the side and the battery rests inside the camera rather than jutting out like on many models. One slightly odd design choice is the lack of a moveable viewfinder. Virtually all camcorders allow the user to extend the viewfinder out or up for easier picture taking, but not so here. Though the camera is fairly weighty, it's comfortable to hold with easy access to the primary controls.
As with all of Sony's latest camcorders, the primary navigational control is the touch screen LCD. This is great for the most part, but with some advanced controls buried several levels deep in the menu, it can prove frustrating. The camera does not include 'prosumer' functions such as shutter speed and aperture control, though Sony's automatic settings do the job well enough. Manual focus, white balance and exposure can be accessed using a scroll wheel at the front of the camera which is more convenient than digging through menus, though less convenient than a focus ring. One useful extra is 'zebra' mode, which highlights areas of the picture that appear too bright under the current settings and may be overexposed. These show up on-screen with a stripy effect. The inclusion of a similar effect for underexposed areas that are too dark would also have been useful, but this is a nice idea nonetheless.
The HC3 is a High Definition camcorder so the inclusion of component, HD DV and HDMI connections come as no surprise. In addition to these connections, standard definition is catered for with S-Video and composite cables.
A Memory Stick Duo slot provides the storage for still images with Mini DV the choice for video content. A USB slot allows for the transfer of still images to a computer. Firewire has to be used for video, and for this the cable is not included. It's also slightly irksome to find Sony has not included basic software to edit or transfer HD video from the camera. Unless you own or buy the appropriate software and a FireWire cable, videos will be stuck on the Mini DV tapes. Of course that in itself isn't a great problem as standard Mini DV tapes are inexpensive.
Join the newsletter!
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Apple iPhone X
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Toys for Boys
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Xbox One X
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- Keep Watch Day and Night with Uniden’s Two-In-One Camera and Spotlight
- Sony make shooting in HDR easy with new 4K camcorders
- Sony announces Australian availability for new waterproof RX0 action-camera
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTJava Software Engineers wanted (Melbourne CBD location)VIC
- FTChange Manager - Part TimeOther
- FTAgile CoachOther
- FTTechnical Support Engineer - OnsiteOther
- FTTechnical Business Analyst (Rules/ Real time analysis)VIC
- CCSenior Data Centre Capacity / Facilities Engineer - Large Telco - Sydney CBDNSW
- TPSCRUM MasterVIC
- FTStorage EngineerACT
- FTAgile Business AnalystOther
- CCITSM OR iTIL Business AnalystNSW
- FTAdvice Support Trainer / Project AdministratorOther
- FTBusiness Analysts Wanted!Other
- FTSenior Network ArchitectVIC
- FTIntegeration ArchitectOther
- FTSupport Analyst - Level 1-2Other
- TPData AnalystVIC
- FTTM1 Application Management AnalystOther
- FTMid-Level Business Analyst (Digital Transformation)NSW
- FTRelocate to Perth for Software Engineering RolesSA
- FTPortfolio & Governance Senior AnalystVIC
- FTBusiness Analyst | Gold CoastQLD
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCLead Pega Systems ArchitectVIC
- CCPolicy OfficerNSW
- TPSecurity AnalystVIC