SONY HDR-HC9 HDV Video Camera Review: How it performs over time

by Marius Mooikasteel

Here follows my experience of the SONY HDR-HC9 HDV Camera:

In August of 2008, I purchased myself the SONY HDR-HC9 video camera and was originally very impressed.  Not long after I also walked into a video camera store, and in a conversation with the owner it became apparent that this video camera from Sony is held in rather high regard.  "VERY nice camera!". 

It records HDV resolution, 1440 x 1080 onto normal Mini-DV tapes, and has a 6.1 Megapixels still photo capability.  (I of course love the functions and features of a video camera in a stills camera). 

The CMOS chip ensures beautiful picture quality.

In October of 2008 I took this camera on its maiden voyage, a ten day international tour during which it worked quite hard and impressed me quite some. 

The night shot infrared recording came in very handy during night shoots in the desert.  

It also has an input for a microphone, which if you're a serious video enthusiast you definitely welcome. 

Another plus is that it can take an optional long life battery that lasts over 400 minutes. 

If you have a High Definition television you will also welcome the HDMI output jack. 

And if you have filters and lenses, yes it has a thread for those! Yay!

I came back with beautiful footage from my travels.  This camera went on to deliver satisfying service for another 18 months. 

Is there anything I'm not satisfied with?  Unfortunately so. 

For one thing, it has a built in flash for still photographs, which is good - but the flash is placed on the camera in such a way that the side of the lens is in the way of the flash, and a part of your picture is completely dark as a result.  This basically makes the whole flash feature a bit useless. 

It has an optical stabilizer, but it doesn't seem to be as effective as some of their previous models I've owned in the past.  The latter had gotten me used to being able to walk around whilst filming, something which if done with this model results in rather shaky footage. 

The quality of the flip out screen is very poor in my experience - after the camera was less than 18 months old, the screen started flashing white and would then become a complete blank white.  Switching it on and off seemed to help in the beginning, but later on it became permanent. 

Turning the flip out screen all the way around seemed to fix it temporarily for some weeks, but then when the screen started going white again it became permanent.  Rotating the screen around eventually resulted in the viewfinder not switching on, which can be a problem since all the menus are touch screen based (somehow the touching on this seemingly inactive screen still activates them, so using the black flip out screen and the other small old fashioned viewfinder on the back one can sort of navigate around). 

My final opinion would be that this camera is not the Sony quality I had gotten used to in the years prior to having this camera - I still have much older Sony standard definition cameras that worked much harder and are still in working order.  This camera's 18 month work life did not quite do it for me, especially at the high price tag it originally came with.

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