Sales of handheld cameras aren’t what they used to be. Some blame the rise of the smartphone and the convenience of its megapixel camera. Us? We blame the demise of the You’ve Been Framed. Stop giving people £250 for their hilarious video of Uncle Tony falling over at the wedding and it kills the market dead.
Good: Incredible HD footage
Bad: Staggering price
It's been a while since we've used a video camera. Thankfully, Sony’s HDR-PJ780VE is far less bothersome to operate than its name suggests. The layout of its physical buttons just makes sense, everything within easy reach of your right thumb (sorry lefties), and all conceivable shooting options (white balance, focus etc.) readily adjusted via the touchscreen view panel. The ease with which you can establish a clear shot takes the hassle out of filming, allowing you to stay creative/capture the cat falling off the table.
Snap the camera into life and the Carl Zeiss lens begins to rove with eerie autonomy. This is owed to the PJ780VE’s Steady Shot system: the camera makes constant balance corrections, evening out all but the most severe of judders or shakes we made while filming on the move. The quality of the video captured was staggering – up to an amateur film level of 50 Full HD frames per second. The 32GB of internal storage is also a really handy feature.
Yet a floating lens isn’t the most impressive feature of the PJ780VE. Located conspicuously on the back of the viewing panel is a 35Lumen projector. While its range is limited, there’s something quite magical about being able to watch a projection a sequence you’ve just filmed – and it would need to be, given the camera’s budget-busting £1,199 price tag.
If you’re wanting to capture life in a hurry, stick to your smartphone. If you want to record it in glorious HD with the steady arm of a pro, then it’s worth forking out for Sony’s HDR-PJ780VE Handycam.