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Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 image samples

Like all of its inexpensive ilk, the Sony Handycam HDR CX130, CX160, and XR130 deliver video that will disappoint anyone who can tell the difference between standard and high definition.

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LoriGruninNewHeadshot.jpg

Lori Grunin

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1 of 5 Lori Grunin/CNET

Sharpness and noise

While it wasn't full sunlight when I shot this, it wasn't terribly dim, either, and I was surprised by the color noise. I don't think users buying at this price will find it very obtrusive, but if you're picky you might need to look elsewhere. This is also fairly representative of the video sharpness. (frame grab)
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2 of 5 Lori Grunin/CNET

Detail

The CX130 and its siblings have a lower-than-HD-resolution sensor. You probably won't notice it most of the time, but this is a good example of how detailed, motion-intensive video can lose cohesion and display compression artifacts. (frame grab)
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3 of 5 Lori Grunin/CNET

Low-light quality

The low-light video quality is actually better than the frame grabs I was able to get might suggest. During playback, even on a computer, they look slightly sharper with less color noise. In lower light, the camcorder desaturates the video in order to boost the noise reduction without losing too much sharpness. (frame grab)
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4 of 5 Lori Grunin/CNET

Color

The color isn't very accurate, and saturation varies quite a bit. Still, the colors are pleasing and acceptable. (frame grab)
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5 of 5 Lori Grunin/CNET

Photos

The photos are fine for a small onscreen display, but because they're low resolution and interpolated up to 1,920x1,080 pixels, they look like they've been put through a special-effects filter.

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