The Sony Bloggie Duo is a simple shoot-and-share minicamcorder that, thanks to a secondary 2-inch LCD next to the lens, makes being in your own movie clips and taking self-portraits easier. It allows you to be part of the action instead of stuck behind the camera. Sure, you don't need a second LCD to do this, but it certainly helps frame your shots and know you're looking your best.
Otherwise, the Duo is a pretty basic minicamcorder with few extras. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't exactly give you a lot for the money. Video quality, while not outstanding, is on the mark for its intended purpose: sharing on YouTube and Facebook. And its photo quality ain't half bad, either.
|Key specs||Sony Bloggie Duo|
|Dimensions (HWD)||4.4 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches|
|Weight (with battery and media)||4.9 ounces|
|Storage capacity, type||4GB internal flash memory|
|Resolution, sensor size, type||5 megapixel, 1/4-inch CMOS|
|LCD size, resolution||2.7-inch LCD, 230K dots (2-inch front-facing LCD)|
|Lens||Fixed focal length, f2.8 47mm (35mm equivalent)|
|File format (video, audio)||H.264 video, mono AAC audio (.MP4)|
|Resolution (highest)||1,920x1,080 pixels at 30fps (15Mbps; progressive)|
|Image stabilization type||Electronic|
|Battery type, rated life||Built-in lithium ion rechargeable, 70 minutes|
|Software||Bloggie Software (Windows, Mac)|
The video quality from the Bloggie Duo can be very good as long as you and your subject aren't moving much. Of course, pocket video cameras such as this can't compete with a full-fledged HD camcorder that costs hundreds of dollars more. There are other factors that go into creating great video beyond high resolution, so if you're considering this for its "full HD" setting, you might want to think twice. When shooting at 1080p, video is reasonably sharp and detailed without looking crunchy. Color and exposure are good as well. However, that's when viewed at smaller sizes on a computer screen. Blown up on a larger HDTV, the video is less impressive. Also, it doesn't handle movement--of the subject or of the device--very well at 1080p, creating a lot of judder. That's unfortunately typical of this type of video camera, though. (Clip lengths, by the way, are limited to 2GB or 29 minutes, which is typical, too.)
The Bloggie Duo does have a 720/60p setting, which smoothes things out some if you're shooting action or doing a lot of panning left and right, but the video is severely lacking in detail, looking more like a painting. Again, it's fine at small sizes, but not good on a large HDTV. Lastly, the low-light video is noisy and grainy with readily visible artifacts. I've seen much worse, though, so all in all the Bloggie Duo does all right indoors and in darker conditions. There is an LED lamp above the lens that will brighten close subjects some, but don't expect it to light a full scene.
Photo quality is pretty good as long as you have plenty of light. Shooting is completely automatic; just press the shutter release on top and you're done. If you press the release while recording video, it will capture a photo at whatever resolution you're recording at, roughly 2 megapixels at 1080p or 0.9 megapixel at 720p. The Duo does have autofocus, which allows you to go from shooting something like a whole garden right down to a single flower 4 inches away. The AF isn't all that fast, though, and it's even slower in low-light conditions.
|Features||Sony Bloggie Duo|
|Focus||Auto (4 inches to infinity)|
|Lens cover (auto or manual)||None|
Aside from the secondary display, autofocus, and the LED lamp, the Duo is light on features. There are no color effects or really any other shooting options beyond changing resolution. The built-in mic is mono, and there are no jacks for connecting headphones or an external mic. It does have a flip-out USB arm for quickly connecting to a computer and Sony includes a small extension cable. The Duo can be used as a VGA Webcam when connected to a computer, too. Lastly, there's a Mini-HDMI jack, but you'll need to get your own cable for that one.