X

Sony Handycam HDR-CX520V photos

A discussion of the design and feature set of the Sony Handycam HDR-CX520V.

LoriGruninNewHeadshot.jpg
LoriGruninNewHeadshot.jpg

Lori Grunin

See full bio
33715706_DT1_540.jpg
1 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Not tiny, but compact

While not as compact as a lot of flash-based camcorders, that's due in part to the CX520's excellent and necessarily large lens. It's still relatively small and light, fitting into a large jacket pocket. Overall, the camcorder feels very solid and well constructed.
33715706_DT2_540.jpg
2 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Relocated manual dial

Sony moved the manual dial from the front of the camcorder to the back, where you still operate with your left hand. You hold down the indicated button to bring up your manual choices: Focus, Exposure, AE shift and WB shift. Both the location and feel of the dial's design means it can only be rotated in small increments, and it's tight and not terribly responsive-feeling. Worse, because of the location, your left hand blocks the LCD while you're operating it.
33715706_DT3_540.jpg
3 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Accidents happen

In the LCD nook are the power, playback, Night Shot and disc burn buttons and the switch for the GPS. Under the cover you'll find the mini HDMI and USB connectors as well as the Memory Stick Duo slot. While this is a relatively traditional control layout, I kept hitting the buttons when picking up the device (as it sat on my desk before or after uploading video).
33715706_DT4_540.jpg
4 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Top controls

The zoom and photo buttons on top of the camcorder fall comfortably under your right forefinger. As usual, the 5.1-channel mic sits in the front of the camcorder--there's no separation so I find the 5.1 recording a marketing gimmick--and the accessory shoe lies under a sliding door.
33715706_DT5_540.jpg
5 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Recording

Sony got rid of the zoom and record buttons on the LCD bezel, opting to make them part of the touch-screen display. While I don't mind that for record, which is a touch-and-release operation, I don't using the touch screen for zooming, where you have to hold it down.
sony2.jpg
6 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

My Menu

You can put six menu choices on a custom menu that pops up before you enter the full menu listing, with different custom menus appearing for video, still and playback modes.
sony1.jpg
7 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Menu structure

While it's nice that the old Home/Options menu dichotomy has disappeared, I still found the more straightforward endless scrolling list confusing and tedious to navigate.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

84 Photos
The Absolute Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The Absolute Best Games on Nintendo Switch

36 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games

More Galleries

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos
DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths

More Galleries

DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths

10 Photos
Rugged 2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel Debuts

More Galleries

Rugged 2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel Debuts

12 Photos
24 things you should never, ever google

More Galleries

24 things you should never, ever google

25 Photos