The Good Excellent overall video quality; responsive focus and zoom.
The Bad Menu navigation doesn't circle back; useless manual; anemic audio support.
The Bottom Line The Sony Handycam HDR-FX7 is an excellent high-definition camcorder from a video perspective, but it's less satisfying if you're an audio control freak.
Sony Handycam HDR-FX7
Sony Handycam HDR-FX7
Though "budget" isn't a term that readily applies to a $3,500 camcorder, you might think of Sony's Handycam HDR-FX7 as a budget version of its older sibling, the $3,700 Handycam HDR-FX1. Like the HDR-FX1, the HDR-FX7 is a three-chip, "prosumer" HD video model; they have roughly the same design and feature set. That's where the similarities end, however, as the HDR-FX7 has completely different sensors and optics that effectively make it an altogether different camcorder.
Many of the changes make this a more consumer-friendly model--or, to be more specific, a consumer-sales-friendly model. For instance, the HDR-FX1 has a practical, 12x zoom lens with an excellent (for a camcorder) wide-angle start of 32.5mm (35mm-equivalent). For the HDR-FX7, Sony sacrifices some wide-angle attitude for a more marketing-driven 20x zoom monster.
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