Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Apr 11

Multitasking: It’s not really my thing

1st birthday cake face

The birthday girl loves her some cake. But not the flash. Also? Gratuitous cute baby picture.

At my daughter’s first birthday party a few months ago, my husband filmed all the excitement with the camcorder while I tried to take still pictures with the digital camera. Between fistfuls of cake and frosting, the birthday girl flirted shamelessly with the camcorder, ignoring everyone else. So my still pictures show her gazing adoringly . . . away from the camera. Granted, I was able to get a fantastic shot of the frosting packed into her tiny nose and her little cake goatee. But only because my husband is taller than me. In fact any time the camcorder comes out in our house, the kids are drawn to it like a magnet. But getting them to look at a regular old camera is like getting them to eat lima beans. You might sneak in a few, but once they get wise, it’s all over.

If only there was an easy solution to this dilemma! But wait! There is! It’s called the Sony HDR-CX560V. It’s an HD camcorder with 64GB of internal memory that can capture 12-megapixel still images at the same time it records 1080p video!

Anymore, most camcorders have the ability to take still pictures, and most still cameras can take video. But very few devices can do both things well. Most camcorders with a built-in digital camera don’t have enough resolution to produce a printable image. And most cameras that can capture video don’t have enough memory to hold much more than a couple of minutes.

64GB flash drive HD camcorder

Weather's here. Wish you were great.

The Sony HDR-CX560V has a substantial 64GB internal flash drive, so there’s plenty of space to record 1080p video. Its image sensor, while not the same size as a standard digital camera image sensor, is way bigger than you’ll find in most camcorders, so you get a still image resolution of 12.3 MP versus 3 or 4 MP. The rule of thumb is, you need a resolution of 8 MP or higher to print 8×10 images.

Bottom line, this camcorder will take nice still pictures, and it will do it while you’re recording video. Which is awesome because then you don’t have to draft another camera person into service when your standard videographer or photo snapper is unavailable. And your kid doesn’t grow up expecting the paparazzi treatment. And you can get out from behind the camera every once in a while and enjoy the action for what it is rather than waiting for or encouraging (or bribing) the perfect photogenic moment.

Hidden USB cable

See how handy that is? Built right in.

Then there is the USB cable built right in to the hand strap. I would like to find the engineering genius who thought that up and shower him or her with adulation (or at least with Dairy Queen Blizzards) for that moment of inspiration. Can I tell you how tired I am of hunting through the box o’cables we have stashed in the office to find the one that charges or the one that connects to the computer for the 612 different devices we have that need to be charged or connected to the computer? (the charging!!! the nonstop charging!!!!!) The hidden and attached cable on the HDR-CX560V connects to your computer (or USB port on your TV) and can charge the camcorder up to 90%. Truly genius.

3" touchscreen

Ghostly floating hands show us how easy it is to operate, and it's a tiny pixie of a camcorder.

Finally, Sony used an Exmor R image sensor in the camcorder, which means if you’re shooting in the great in-of-doors, where it’s kinda dim, you’ll still get bright, clear images. Let me just tell you, most of my camcordering takes place inside. Because A) my life is not filled with outdoor adventures (unless you count checking the mail) and B) even if it was, I’d be too concerned about my camcorder or camera getting broken during the adventure to actually bring it along and record things. (So I should realistically be pining for a dustproof, shockproof, waterproof, indestructible camera instead.)

The HDR-CX560V has one last feature that makes me want it just a little more. It has a built-in GPS chip, so you can tag your videos and stills with a location. Handy for the world traveler (which I am not) or the person who completely lacks any sense of geographical awareness (which I am).

Vann's, delighting customers since 1961
© Copyright 1996-2010,, Inc. Vann's is a registered trademark of Vann's Inc. All Rights Reserved. 08/30/2010 (147)
HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99.9% of hacker crime.
Click to verify BBB accreditation and to see a BBB report.
BizRate Customer Certified (GOLD) Site