Sony Webbie MHS-CM1 HD Camcorder

Sony Webbie MHS-CM1 HD Camcorder
Sony Webbie MHS-CM1 HD Camcorder

Now don’t shoot, I know this isn’t a game or a controller or anything, but this little device is pretty cool for taking Youtube videos of your LAN party or taking it to a convention. It’s cheap, small and pretty darn good for the price. Check out this review and maybe you will want to add one to your media kit.

A camera for the Youtube generation, the Sony Webbie HD camera provides a low cost option for recording hi-definition videos, but as the old saying goes; you get what you pay for.

The pocket sized camcorder fits easily in the palm of your hand, at 1.7 inches wide and 2.4 inches tall, travability is one of the Webbie’s strong points. You can shoot footage in high-def (1440×1080/30p, 1280×720/30p) or standard definition (640×480/30p). The video is saved to a MP4 format which allows you to record up to 8 hours of HD video on a 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo media card (sold separately).

The webbie lacks the sturdy construction found it higher end cameras, but is good enough for even daily use. Its 2.5-inch LCD screen swivels 270 degrees allowing self-shooting footage and has a clear and bright picture when playing back video.

As for shooting video itself this camera offers five scene selection modes Sports, Landscape, Low Light, Backlight and Auto, but it is definitely made for either the outdoors or brightly lit rooms indoor no matter the mode you select.

When shooting in normal light the video comes out dark even when using the built in video light and in low light and pixelation is visible during playback. However, when filming outside in sunlight or in a well lit room the video looks much better on digital and even large screen hi-def televisions. Another downside is the Webbie does not offer image stabilization so a tripod or a very steady hand is a must.

The Webbie camcorder has a 5x optical and a 20x digital zoom which is very fast and regains focus quickly, a surprise for a camera in this price range. While the Webbie does record audio in full stereo it also picks up the focusing and zoom mechanisms as well as ambient noises.

Setup is fairly easy, once charged just by opening the LCD screen will turn the unit on. From there you can set the data and time and you are set. The button layout could have been better designed, on the back of the camera it is easy enough to hit the record and zoom buttons, but the side buttons, such as the menu and trash buttons, are harder to push meaning you will need two hands to use them.

The base memory for the Webbie is only 12mb which will only net you 10 minutes of video on its lowest quality setting. When you add a PRO Duo memory stick in its expansion slot you can increase your storage to about 50 pictures per 128MB of memory and 15 minutes of 720P video per 512MB of memory.

The unit comes with an AC adapter to charge it so no batteries are needed. At full charge you will be able to record video for about 80 minutes with a playback time of just under two hours. Also included are video component and composite cables that allow you to connect your camera to your television or monitor for playback.

With the included USB cable you can connect the Webbie to your PC to transfer movies or pictures; it can even be used as a webcam. An added bonus for Playstation 3 users it is recognized by the PS3 internal software so you can view and transfers your videos and pictures to your console for viewing.

The Picture Motion Browser software allows you to transfer videos and images not only to your PC, but internet sharing sites as well such as Facebook and Youtube. Though the camera itself is compatible with PC and MAC the included software is PC only, however, you can download a MAC O/S version on Sony’s support website.

The bottom line is if you are looking for a HD camera for special moments or advance filming this is not it. The Webbie is meant for smaller shorter videos you would upload to social media sites or share with friends and family.  Its price range can vary depending where you shop from $299 USD at the high end to as low as $149 USD.

***Update*** This camcorder is being phased out for a new one so you can find it pretty cheap at any Sony store!

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J.A. Laraque

J.A. Laraque is a freelance writer and novelist. His passion for writing mixed with a comedic style and intelligent commentary has brought him success in his various endeavors. Whatever the subject, J.A. has an opinion on it and will present it in writing with an insight and flair that is both refreshing and informative.