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).


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!


4 thoughts on “Sony HDR TG3 Full HD Digital Camcorder

  1. Dean Gilasbey

    Love this High Def camera in the day, however the TG3 camera struggles a bit at night. High def is bad in the night, and it takes some fiddling around to get a good picture. Which is a shame because the moment might of passed you by.

  2. Simon Page Post author

    You say “good picture” but I am assuming you mean video. (Taking photos is not why you buy this HD camera – the 4 megapixel photos from this camera are above average but definitely not for night time and I would suggest buying something like a cheap Canon IXUS camera for taking night photos).

    However video wise at night it is still the best quality HD camera out there for portability. I have got some great HD video from streets lights at night. If you are often recording (video or pictures) in really dark places you need to start looking at high end professional HD cameras – The new Canon 5D mark II would do nicely but price wise you are in a whole different league.

    Check out the my review here

    I think it is going to be a good 3-4 years till this type of quality will be seen from portable / handheld HD cameras.

  3. Tony O'Donohoe

    Hey Simon, I came across your blog when researching the Sony TG3, it seems like a great little camera. I had heard varying reports about the low light performance but from looking at some near pitch black shooting scenes on youtube it seemed to manage very well considering its size!

    The one thing that is still bothering me though is that it only captures in interlaced mode. I think its closest competitor is the Xacti VPC-HD2000 which captures in progressive mode although it does seem a tad bit bigger.

    Most reviews I have read seem to say that the TG3 produces better video quality than the Xacti. Plus the Xacti has recieved some shocking reviews regarding its image stabilization!

    Wondering what you think? Love your cat btw, I have a similar one called Shadow :o) Your design work is top notch too.

    Cheerio, Tony

  4. Simon Page Post author

    Hey Tony,


    I find the TG3 to be a good performer in low light but to be fair I really only use it for action style videos where lighting isn’t really an issue.

    I have tried the Xacti and you are right the images isn’t as stable, lacking the quality and isn’t up to the same crisp standard of the Sony.

    All the best.


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