Sony Handycam HDR-SR5

The Good Neat Face Index feature. Bundled dock.

The Bad No eye-level viewfinder. No wind filter. No USB port on camcorder, just on bundled dock. Annoying touch-screen interface. Cables not ubiquitous yet for mini-HDMI connector.

The Bottom Line An uninspiring entrant in Sony's HD camcorder lineup. The Sony Handycam HDR-SR5's video quality and performance simply don't deliver for the price.

Editors' Rating
7.0 Overall

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Review

Sony Handycam HDR-SR5

With its sub-AU$2,000 street price, HD video support, hard-disk-based recording, and Sony provenance, the Handycam HDR-SR5 certainly seems like a bargain. Mostly, however, the SR5 simply confirms our belief that decent HD video will still run you more than AU$2,000.

Design
If you discount the small touch-screen LCD and lack of an eye-level viewfinder, the SR5 has a perfectly serviceable design. With its shiny silver-and-matte-black duotone body, it lacks the sophistication of the SR7 and SR8 models, but that's pretty typical for the camcorder B-list. At about 530g, it weighs down a jacket pocket but is pretty comfortable to hold during extended shooting. As you'd expect for the money, it feels solidly built, with nice touches such as a sliding jack cover, an electronic lens cover, and a sturdy tethered hotshoe protector.

The rest of the controls on the body sit in the places you'd expect to find them: zoom switch, photo shutter, and power/mode switch fall under your index finger, while the stop/start record button lies under your thumb. A tiny button for turning on the flash for still photography sits between the power and record controls. On the left side of the gripping ridge formed by the hard disk enclosure is the NightShot switch. Underneath the LCD you'll find the buttons for Easy mode (completely automatic operation), cycling through the display options, and launching thumbnail views, plus the slot for the Memory Stick Pro Duo that's required for shooting still photos.

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