Sony HDR TG3 Full HD Digital Camcorder


The Sony TG3 is without doubt the best ultra portable full HD (1920 x 1080) camcorder on the market right now and worthy of posting a review. n.b it is called the Sony TG1 if you are in the US. You will find a bunch of wannabe HD handheld camcorders which, albeit, are cheaper than they TG3 but they don’t offer anywhere near the quality that the Sony does – in build, performance and image quality.

The example videos below don’t really give the camcorder as much justice as it should – the lower longer video, before being compressed to a 12MB flv file, was a high quality 250MB AVCHD file.

Example Video 1 – Sony HDR TG3

Here is a short video of my cat Dillon who from previous camcorders never came out very well due to the colour of his coat. Zoom and the focus for this is pretty much spot on just using the automatic settings all the way.

Example Video 2 – Sony HDR TG3

This video shows some of the quality of the macro and auto focus as well as the analog zoom capabilities (oh and it features some fantastic triple chocolate bread and butter pudding).

Review the competition – Sony TG3

I have been on the look out for a good quality HD camcorder for a while now and I had looked at the Sanyo Xacti HD1000 and the Toshiba Camileo Pro HD Camcorder before buying the Sony TG3. The Toshiba didn’t come close in any of the key areas but the Sanyo Xacti HD1000 initially seemed the closest competition to the Sony TG3’s specifications. It offered similiar performance boasts but the plastic build quality, slower frame rates, lack of 5.1 surround and poor exposure levels meant the Sony, although more expensive, was the clear winner.

Specification – Sony HDR TG3

  • 4 megapixel still photo recording plus Dual Rec while recording movies
  • 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD Plus touchscreen
  • Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with 10x optical zoom (120x digital zoom)
  • 5.1 surround sound recording
  • Pure titanium body
  • HD 1920×1080 recording on removable Memory Stick
  • Super SteadyShot optical image stabilisation for clearer stills and video
  • Face Detection for video and photo
  • Face Index and Film Roll Index for quick searches
  • Sony Memory Stick Duo Slot – 4GB card included
  • Built in flash
  • Connector Types:
    • 1 x HDMI output
    • 1 x component video output
    • 1 x composite video/audio output
    • 1 x S-Video output
    • 1 x USB 2
    • 1 x DC power input
  • Maximum Shutter Speed – 1/800 sec
  • Records HD video in AVCHD format (best quality is just over 100MB per minute) – there is free software included to burn to DVD or convert it to M-PEG 2 or WMV files which performs exceptionally well. The software also includes some basic editing features. If you don’t want to use this software there are alternatives to converting AVCHD formats – those being Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 (with update) or CS4 or Sony Vegas. (I prefer Premiere Pro personally just because I use the CS3 design suite).

Conclusion

If you want a quality ultra portable full HD camcorder then you can’t go wrong with the Sony TG3. It is built to last, will offer you every functionality you will ever need and is a device that you will easily be using for a good few years with out any complaints. It’s great and went straight in to my top 50 gagdets list of the year!

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