Sony Handycam HDR-CX360V review: Sony Handycam HDR-CX360V

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MSRP: $799.99

Sony Handycam HDR-CX360V

(Part #: HDRCX360V) Released: 16 Mar 2011
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Sony Handycam HDR-CX360V is attractively designed, with an unusual and nice-feeling brown matte-plastic body. It delivers some unusual features, too, including GPS and built-in stereo speakers.

The Bad At its best, the video looks too soft and a bit noisier in low light than some competitors. Also, for its price, some people might expect more manual controls.

The Bottom Line While it's a fine model, the Sony Handycam HDR-CX360V seems too expensive for the video quality and features it delivers.

7.8 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Image quality 7.0

Sony's Handycam HDR-CX360V should be the company's $599 camcorder offering, but I suspect is priced about $200 higher in order to rationalize the too-crowded product line. The good news is that if you work a little, you can find it for under $600, at which price it's a pretty good deal. Because for $800, it delivers solid, but not great, video quality, and an interesting but incomplete feature set.

At its best, the video looks very good. In bright light, in scenes without a lot of detailed motion, it's sharp, relatively free of artifacts, with good color accuracy and exposure. But in scenes at midrange distances the video looks a bit soft overall, and there's generally clipping in the highlights. Like many cameras and camcorders, saturated reds don't render very accurately, and there's frequently significant blooming on the edges of very saturated colors. Despite a relatively high bit rate, you can see some blocking artifacts in highly detailed scenes. However, shooting progressive mode--in 60p or 24p--makes a significant improvement over 60i when it comes to edge aliasing (jaggies).

The camcorder also does a solid job of maintaining exposure and color in low-ish light. There's some noise and the video is soft, but overall it's acceptable. In dim light the video looks noisy and soft, though the camcorder does a decent job preserving color saturation and exposure. The lens distortion isn't bad given the camcorder's minimum focal length of approximately 29mm.

In addition, the audio sounds fairly good for its class, warmer compared to the somewhat bright tone you generally get on cheap camcorders.

Still photos rank about the same as a camera phone or budget camcorder--okay for viewing or printing at small sizes but smeary, with compression and interpolation artifacts, when viewed at 100 percent.

Overall, I was happy with the CX360V's performance. It autoexposes most moderately backlit scenes well, and the autofocus operates quickly and with what feels like better-than-average accuracy. As usual, Sony's optical Steady Shot stabilization works well under typical circumstances, even out to the end of the zoom range. One big drawback here: the LCD gets really difficult to see in bright sunlight. Battery life isn't great, but it's not unusually bad; keep in mind that because of the GPS this model will use more power than competing models.


  Sony Handycam HDR-CX130/ CX160/ XR160 Sony Handycam HDR-PJ10 Sony Handycam HDR-CX360V Sony Handycam HDR-PJ30V/ PJ50V Sony Handycam HDR-CX560V
Sensor (effective video resolution) 1.49 megapixels 1.49 megapixels 2.65 megapixels 2.65 megapixels 6.1 megapixels
1/4-inch 1/4-inch 1/4-inch 1/4-inch 1/2.88
Lens 30x
f1.8-3.4
29.8-894mm
30x
f1.8-3.4
29.8-894mm
12x
f1.8-3.4
29.8-357.6mm
12x
f1.8-3.4
29.8-357.6mm
10x
f1.8-3.4
26.3-263mm
Closest focus (inches) 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Min. illumination (lux) recommended: n/a
standard: 11
low light: 3
recommended: n/a
standard: 11
low light: 3
recommended: n/a
standard: 11
low light: 3
recommended: n/a
standard: 11
low light: 3
recommended: n/a
standard: 11
low light: 3

EVF

None None None None None
LCD 3-inch 230,000 pixels 3-inch 230,000 pixels 3-inch 230,000 pixels 3-inch 230,000 pixels 3-inch 921,000 pixels
Primary media 0GB/16GB internal/160GB hard drive; 1 x SDXC 16GB internal; 1 x SDXC 32GB internal; 1 x SDXC 32GB internal/220GB; 1 x SDXC 64GB internal; 1 x SDXC
HD recording AVCHD: 1080/60p @ 28 Mbps; 1080/60i @ 24, 17 Mbps; 1440 x 1080/60i @ 9, 5 Mbps AVCHD: 1080/60p @ 28 Mbps; 1080/60i @ 24,17 Mbps; 1440 x 1080/60i @ 9, 5 Mbps
AVCHD: 1080/60p @ 28 Mbps; 1080/60i/24p @ 24,17 Mbps; 1440 x 1080/60i @ 9, 5 Mbps AVCHD: 1080/60p @ 28 Mbps; 1080/60i/24p @ 24,17 Mbps; 1440 x 1080/60i @ 9, 5 Mbps AVCHD: 1080/60p @ 28 Mbps; 1080/60i/24p @ 24,17 Mbps; 1440 x 1080/60i @ 9, 5 Mbps
Manual shutter speed No No No No Yes
Manual iris No No No No Yes
Accessory shoe No No Yes Yes Yes
Audio 2 channels/2 channels/5.1 channels, mic and headphone jacks 5.1 channels; mic and headphone jacks 5.1 channels; mic and headphone jacks 5.1 channels; mic and headphone jacks 5.1 channels; mic and headphone jacks
Body dimensions (WHD, inches) 2.1 x 2.3 x 4.9/ 2.1 x 2.3 x 4.9/ 2.4 x 2.6 x 5.1 2.4 x 2.6 x 5.1 2.4 x 2.6 x 5.1 2.4 x 2.6 x 5.1/ 2.4 x 2.6 x 5.1 2.5 x 2.8 x 5.4
Operating weight (pounds) 10.5/10.5/14.1 (est) 12.9 (est) 13.1 (est) 13.9/15.9 (est) 15 (est)
Mfr. price $449.99/ $499.99/ $599.99 $699.99 $799.99 $849.99/ $899.99 $999.99
Ship date March 2011/ April 2011 March 2011 March 2011 April 2011 March 2011

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