So this is MobilityDigest where we cover all things Mobile. Yes most things we cover are phones, but we’re not just limited to that are we?

Today for review I’ve got a product from our wonderful friends at Geeks.com.  Geeks caries a lot of cheap camcorders and today I’m looking at one, specifically one from Sony actually. Wait, I have Cheap and Sony in the same sentence there don’t I? We often don’t think of Sony products being cheap do we? Most all companies though do have cheap or entry level products and Sony is no exception, you have to have these types of products as many people can’t afford the higher end stuff, so it’s a market segment that needs to be tapped. The product is actually a decent one, it’s an entry level HD camcorder called the Sony Webbie, and it’s not bad at all. it’s takes decent videos, especially if you consider the price is just barely over $100, but what really surprised me though is the quality of the still pictures, they’ve very nice. Normally when you have a camcorder the still camera is sort of like an added function just tossed in there, but the one here is actually decent, even rivaling regular point and shoot camera. So I could keep rambling or you could just continue on to check out this neat little camera…

Author: Kristofer Brozio

Vendor: Geeks.com

Price: $119.99

Overall Rating: 4/5

Introduction:

Sony Webbie HD MHS-CM1 5MP 5x Optical/20x Digital Zoom 1080p MS PRO Duo Camcorder w/2.5″ LCD (Orange)

Price: $119.99

This Sony Webbie HD MHS-CM1 Camera offers user-friendly features that makes capturing special moments easier than ever before!

The MHS-CM1 is not just a camera, but it lets you record High Definition videos in MP4 format so you can upload them directly to Internet sharing websites such as YouTube or Photobucket! Record still images with its 5 megapixel CMOS image sensor. In addition, the 5x optical and 20x digital zoom gets you closer to the action!

This Webbie HD camera features a bright 2.7-inch LCD display that swivels up to 270-degrees so you can film at any angle. There’s also integrated LED video light for recording in low light or dark conditions. Plus, you can record or playback in 1080p anamorphic high definition (1440 x 1080/30p, 1280 x 720/30p) or standard definition (640 x 480/30p) format!

General Features:
-Orange color
-Ultra-compact and lightweight
-Takes 5 megapixel still images
-Records video in High Definition MP4 format
-5x optical zoom
-20x digital zoom
-2.5-inch 4:3 LCD screen (153K), swivels up to 270°
-Integrated LED video light
-Record or playback in high definition (1440 x 1080/30p, 1280 x 720/30p) or standard definition (640 x 480/30p) format
-Individual Movie and Still buttons and dual capture
-Memory Stick PRO Duo slot (card not included)
-USB 2.0 interface
-Multi-language display
-Slide show mode
-Auto white balance
-JPEG still image mode
-Easy to operate
-Tripod mount compatible

Specifications:
-Imaging Device: 1/2.5-inch CMOS imaging sensor
-Pixel Gross: 5038K
-Video Actual: 2070K Pixels (16:9), 690K Pixels (4:3)
-Video Resolution: 1440 x 1080
-Compressed anamorphic 1080p
-Still Actual: 5038K Pixels (4:3)
-Still Picture Resolution: 5038K
-Recording Media: Memory Stick PRO Duo Media (sold separately)
-Recording and Playback Times: When using 16 GB Memory Stick PRO Duo media (sold separately): 1080/30p = 340 min., 720/30p = 510 min., VGA/30p = 990 min.

Lens Features:
-35mm Equivalent: 41mm – 203mm (16:9), 38 – 190mm (4:3)
-Aperture: F3.3
-Exposure: Yes (Menu)
-Focal Distance: 6.4 – 31.4 mm
-Focus: Auto
-Shutter Speed: 1/30 – 1/4000
-Resolution: 5038K

Video Features:
-Format: MPEG4 AVC/H.264 (MP4)
-Video Signal: NTSC/PAL out

Audio Features:
-Recording Format: Mono
-Microphone: Built-in mono microphone

Different Scene Selection Modes:
-Sports
-Landscape
-Low light
-Backlight
-Auto

Inputs and Outputs:
-Analog Audio/Video Output(s): Included (via Multi A/V Terminal)
-USB port: High-speed (2.0 compliant)
-Audio/Video Remote Terminal: Multi/A/V

Power Specifications:
-Battery Type: Model: NP-FH30, internal InfoLITHIUM,  7.2V, 3.6Wh (pre-installed)
-Power Requirements: 7.2V battery pack; 9.6V AC adapter
-Power consumption (in operation): 2.3W

Unit Dimensions:
-2.5 x 4.25 x 1.75-inches (H x W x D, approximate)
-Weight: 7 oz (210g)

What’s in the Box?

I guess we can start with the video unboxing:

Now that’s that out of the way let’s look at some pictures…

It’s a refurbished unit so it didn’t come in the fancy packaging, just a white box with the Sony logo basically so it’s not pictured.

Inside though we do find quite a bit of stuff including the camera, user manuals, software disc, composite and components cables along with wrist strap, lens cover, lens leash and power supply. The memory is a SanDisk 4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo Card that does not come with the camera but Geeks was kind enough to send it along to use with the camera for the review. It costs $14.50 through the Geeks site.

The camera itself is orange in color, it’s kind of nice to see something different than black. it’s small making it very portable.

 

On the side was the sticker you see in the above picture, I took that off of course, no need to leave that there. On this side though that would be the right side I guess is a speaker and an access doo for USB, power and A/V output. You might also have noticed that this camera does not come with a strap on the right side like most cameras do, why I’m not sure. I like having the hand strap there, and not having one just feels odd.

 

On the top of the camera you’ll find the photo button and the zoom slider.

On the bottom is where the tri-pod hole is and the memory card door:

The back of the Webbie camera is where you’ll find most of the controls and the space for the wrist strap. The control pad is for menu navigation, switching to macro mode, light, display and timer.  To the left and down is the play button and then below is the record button.

On the front you’ll find the microphone, light and lens of course. I stuck the lens cap on for the last photo here.

Opening up the LCD panel actually turns the camera on, that’s something I don’t like about it. I like to be able to control the on/off. The LCD does rotate all around so you can film yourself if you want, 90 degrees each way or basically 180 degrees…

When the display is open you’ll find a few more buttons for on/off, menu, delete and a sharemark button to mark videos/images for sharing like to a blog for example. You can use the built-in sharing to have the camera actually upload these things for you.

 

Impressions/Review:

The Sony Webbie is a very basic camera overall so you’re not going to find much in the way of options regarding what settings you can really change regarding filming and taking still pictures. One feature I do like is that you can turn the digital zoom on and off. i try never to use the digital zoom on any camera as the pictures or videos always come out pixellated.

I’m not sure who chose the color combination there, a light gray on a white background is fairly hard to see.

So how about sample videos. I did a few quick videos of phones for you:

Here’s the KIN One video:

here’s links to a few others:

Pantech Reveal

Pantech Breeze II:

Pantech Impact:

Motorola Backflip:

The video quality is not bad at all really, it does need adequate lighting and the built-in light isn’t exactly bright. The video of the KIN One was the first video I did with this camera, the other videos above are a bit better as I quickly became accustomed to how the camera functions and what it needs to do a good video.

The Sony Webbie is actually very easy to use, and you can quickly figure out how to use it with no problems.

The microphone is sensitive but you need to be fairly close to it.

So how about some sample pictures, these are a bunch of random shots taken from varying distances using zoom and with macro mode on and off and with the light on and off. These pictures impressed me, I was not expecting much at all, and these are actually very good for a video camera taking still pictures. Yes I included a blurry picture of two as well to show you that you can’t get very close with the camera, but I think you can get close enough.

So again, I’m truly impressed by the pictures in terms of clarity. These were all taken indoors, so yes the colors are not exactly bright, but they are crisp and clear. Pretty much any camera can take good pictures outdoors in the sunlight, the true test is taking pictures indoors and this camera does very well.

Yes I know, before you even get started there are better cameras out there, that’s not the point, the point is that this is a video camera that actually takes decent still pictures. I just reviewed the new Canon Vixia over on TestFreaks last week, and it costs about three times as much as this Sony Webbie does, and the still pictures it takes are pretty bad overall. The pictures taken with the camera are very nice when you consider it’s not a still camera, it’s a video camera with the added functionally of taking stills. With the right lighting the pictures taken with this camera can rival most low-end point and shoot camera out there I’m sure.

The build quality though is a bit suspect, it honestly looks and feels like a toy camera. It’s all plastic, and it feels like thin plastic., but you get what you pay for. The Canon I mentioned earlier costs a lot more but it feels a lot better made. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a piece of garbage because it’s not, for what it is it’s not bad at all. I highly doubt you can get a name brand HD video camera like this one for $120 that’s not one of those Flip style camera, I hate those kind honestly I prefer the form factor like the Sony is. For the price it’s fine really, it works and works well, just don’t drop it….

It would certainly be nice if the camera came with a carrying case, it needs one really, but I’m sure one can be had very cheaply online or at a local store that would fit fine.

Overall I like this camera honestly, it’s a nice little HD capable camera.

Battery life is decent, it takes 90 minutes to charge the battery and you should get a few hours from it, you won’t get all day from it, but it’s not exactly meant to film feature length movies.

Conclusion:

The Sony Webbie might not be a high end camera, but it isn’t priced like one but for the price it does offer decent video and excellent still picture performance.

The build quality overall isn’t bad, but it’s not great either, you can certainly pick it up and just feel it’s not a high end camera, but it does the job.

There is no side strap, and I don’t like that at all. The light isn’t very bright either, but as long as you’re not in a very dark room it should be adequate to give you enough light.

Pros:

+Excellent quality still pictures for a video camera

+Decent videos

+Very easy to use

+Inexpensive for what it can do

Cons:

-No side strap

-Light is not that bright

-Microphone could be better

-Automatically turns on when you open LCD

9 COMMENTS

  1. I kind of hinted at it in the review, but yeah I think this would perfect for kids really.. it is very simple to use..

  2. Were you using the built in microphone or a separate device, your voice had an odd flavor to it for the first few seconds and then seem to modulate some.

  3. I’m hesitant to ask this, mainly because I’m not real keen about having anyone around with a video camera documenting my daily activities(I’ll probably end up on TV Bloopers) but,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, my thirteen year old granddaughter has been trying to twist my arm into buying her one for her birthday.
    In your opinion would it be a suitable gift for a novice, I’m not worried about durability, she very responsible but is there enough meat there to keep her interested.

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