Sony has joined other manufacturers like Toshiba on the compact camcorder techwagon, with the release of its Sony bloggie camera. The bloggie is about the same size as Toshiba’s Camileo S10, measuring 19 x 108 x 54 mm and weighing in at about 130 g. Apart from looking snazzy, the bloggie's main business is its ability to record Full HD at 1920 x 1080. With a 4 GB Memory Stick PRO Duo card included in the box, you're good to go from the start, plus the bloggie includes all the software you need to get your video up on YouTube and other social video sites, in a matter of minutes.
Tilting the bloggie's 270º tilt-able lens immediately activates the camera, and from there its dead easy to capture video or shoot images thanks to intuitive and very user friendly controls. While video is recorded in landscape mode, the vertical set-up of the bloggie feels a bit awkward since it's more suitable for portrait mode. This is especially noticeable on the portrait 2.5" LCD screen, which when recording only displays your view on a 1.7" block on the top part of the screen. Luckily video quality is good, and for its purpose the quality of the photos (five megapixels) and videos are more than satisfactory. Two things bothered though- firstly the lens is fixed focus, which will be a problem if you are concentrating on images close by (but at least the face tracking ability keeps lighting on faces in order), plus the bloggie's lack of optical zoom hurts. There's also no flash, but keep in mind that these troubles are found in one way or another in most of the camcorders in this class.
Thanks to the included USB connector you'll never have to worry about carrying a connector cable with you, but not all PCs will be able to connect hassle free since the connector sits at a bit of an awkward place at the bottom of the device. Using the Picture Motion Browser (PMB) software that comes on the bloggie’s software CD, it’s easy to upload videos to YouTube, Facebook, your blog or directly on to your Picasa online album. This software is pretty straightforward to install and use, either in the calendar view (showing the images and vids according to the dates when they were shot) or index view (showing the images and vids stored in each folder). Alternatively you could connect the bloggie via the included A/V cables to your TV, but an HDMI connection is sorely missed to display your HD videos correctly on HDTV.
With HD recording these days becoming more commonplace on compact cameras, this type of compact camcorders will find it harder to compete. Still the bloggie's recommended retail price of R1999 is cheaper than you would pay for a compact camera with HD recording, although its about R500 dearer than the Toshiba Camileo S10. Visit www.sony.co.za for more info.