The first thing you'll notice about this HD camcorder is its size - there's not really much to it. It's reasonably light (about 500g), and like it's DSC-TX5 cousin, it features a big touch screen (8.75cm) that's used for controlling most of its functionality (including zoom in/out and stop/start recording which is very handy).
The SteadyShot is an amazing feature - it keeps the picture still even though the user may be moving about. I found it most noticeable when zoomed in on an object at a distance, and these videos off YouTube demonstrate it the best:
Above - The CX550 is on the right.
Above - Anyone who's used an RC helicopter knows how much they shake - the HDR-CX550 easily compensates for this.
Other features include:
- 64GB of internal Flash memory, which can record up to 26 hours of HD video (according to Sony). If you need more storage, it has a Sony Memory Stick slot.
- If you need to take photos, the camcorder can take 12 megapixel images by pushing a dedicated Photo button, and has a flash for low light environments. With it's Smile Shutter technology, the camcorder can take photos of people looking directly at the camera, smiling, at the same time video is being recorded.
- Easily turn the camera on and off by opening and closing the LCD display.
- Has USB for transferring videos and images, HDMI, or for older TVs, plain RCAs.
- The camcorder has built in GPS - the screen shows you where you are and videos can be saved with the extra data of the exact position they were taken.
- There is a manual focus button on the front of the camcorder - this allows for fine tuning of parameters such as focus, exposure, iris, shutter speed, ae and wb shift.
- 3.5mm ports on the front of the camcorder allow for an external microphone and headphones - the built-in mic, on the top of the camera, does Dolby Digital 5.1
I've been using this camcorder for about a month and this short review doesn't really do it justice; it really does take some stunning movies. The full HD gives you a crisp, clear picture, and the screen makes it easy to not only film, but easily use the camcorder.
Pricespy has the HDR-CX550V from Sony NZ for $2,059.36.
Other YouTube videos:
- Camcorder Demo Video (official Sony)
- Feature highlights of Sony Handycam (official Sony)
- Review, Comparison, and Slow Motion Test
After the Sony Carnival some months back, Sony lent me two products they featured - the Sony DSC-TX5 Cyber-shot digital camera, and the Sony HDR-CX550 Handycam. The review for the Handycam will be published next week - this week I'm focusing on the Cyber-shot.
I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a photography expert. My requirements for a camera are pretty simple: must be easy to operate, take good photos in daylight and low light, and not be too bulky. If I can't take it along to a Geekzone Pizza evening and still use it after a beer (or two or three or four), it's not going to be suitable.
I'll start my review the same way as I demonstrated the camera to mates: by dropping it in a jug of water.
A pretty impressive party trick (and a good way to freak out unsuspecting bystanders), the DSC-TX5 can be used in water up to 3 metres. The whole camera is sealed up tight, with the battery and memory card stored safely behind a compartment at the base of the camera (this also has the HDMI plug). Not only does this mean you can take photos in your swimming pool if you so wish, but you don't need to worry about this camera being ruined after an accidental beer spill - the offender can shout another round, and you can wash the camera off easily.
The massive 7.5cm touch screen on the back of this camera makes using it a charm. The menus are well laid out, and the different functions can be reordered as you please. You can move between photos with an iPhone style finger flick, setup an automatic sideshow, or view photos on a calendar, grouped by the date they were shot. You really appreciate how good the interface is on a full touch screen after using an older camera with a small screen and clunky buttons.
Other DSC-TX5 features:
- A smile sensor so when people smile at your camera, it takes a photo automatically. You can set it by triggered with a full cheesy grin, or an uncomfortable smirk (my terms, not official Sony).
- Intelligent Sweep Panorama allows you to take 180 degree photos by simply moving the camera from right to left (or left to right, or up then down, or down then up).
- For the technologically challenged, basic mode hides all the complex menus and only shows the core functions - change image size, flash on or off, self-timer on or off - plus it displays exactly how many photos are left.
- Video can be recorded in HD (1080i) or SD.
This camera is compact, and the front cover slides down to show the lens and turn the camera on. It is so light it's like carrying another mobile phone (compared below with my Nokia E71):
The real deal clincher for me is this camera makes it easy to take photos. There is nothing more frustrating than blurry photos with red eye after a night out. I don't have the expertise to operate a full digital SLR camera (nor do I want to) - I want a camera that allows me to take good photos with a simple push of the button, regardless of the lighting. With the DSC-TX5 automatically determining the best settings, plus taking photos at 10.2 megapixels, you can't go wrong (for those of you in the know, you can also set it to manual mode).
I've been using this camera for about a month and I'm disappointed to give it back. It really is a great piece of technology, and if you're looking for a camera for everyday use, you can't beat this little beauty.
My thanks to Bernadette Barrett at Sony NZ for the loan of this camera for my review.
However, the more influential your blog becomes, the greater the risk that someone will be upset by your negative comments about their goods or services. If your comments are damaging enough, they may look to legal action to require you to remove negative comments and to require you to compensate them for lost profits caused by your negative comments. One legal action they might choose is defamation.
What is defamation?
In New Zealand, the basic rule is that you can't communicate defamatory statements about a person or company to any other person. A statement may be defamatory if it (explicitly or implicitly):
- may tend to lower the person in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally.
- is false and discredits the person.
- it is made without justification and is calculated to injure the person's reputation.
To be defamation, the statement must be communicated to a third person. Publication can be in spoken or written form.
Who is liable for defamatory statements?
Every time the statement is republished a separate act of defamation occurs. In addition, every person involved in the publication is liable for the defamation. If you have ever blogged negatively about someone else's goods or services, there is a good chance that what you said was defamatory. If their sales suffer because of your statements, they may be able to sue you for defamation. If you have quoted someone else's blog that commented negatively on someone else's goods or services, there is a good chance that what you did was defamatory. If you allow comments, and someone comments on your blog post and that comment is defamatory you are probably also liable for any loss caused by that comment.
When can you make defamatory statements?
There are a number of defences you might be able to raise if someone accuses you of defamation. The two most likely to be relevant to a blog post are truth and honest opinion.
If you can prove that the substance of what you said (including any innuendoes or possible inferences of what you said) is true then the defamation claim will fail. The plaintiff is not required to prove that what you said is false. You must prove that what you said is true. Sometimes you may not have evidence to prove what you said even though it was true. In that case, you could not use the defence of truth.
Another possible defence is that what you said expressed your honest opinion. To rely on this defence you must show that what you said was presented as your opinion rather than a statement of fact. The opinion must be your genuine opinion. You must also show that the opinion you gave was based on facts that were stated in your blog post, and that those facts were true. You cannot invent facts and then comment on them. This means that in writing a negative blog post, as well as stating your negative opinion, you should be careful to accurately state the facts that you relied on to reach your negative opinion.
Blogs are an expression of freedom of speech in New Zealand, but increasingly they are also a source of income for the blogger. The more commercialised blogging becomes, the more you need to consider writing in a way that avoids the risk of being sued.
Note: This post gives only general information, and should only be used as a guide. It should not be used or relied upon as a substitute for detailed advice. Special considerations apply to individual fact situations.
Bio: Kris Morrison is an associate with Christchurch law firm Parry Field, whose work focuses on commercial/business law, property, trusts and intellectual property.
It's been all over the news. A blown out oil well is causing the largest oil spill in U.S. history, in the Gulf of Mexico. The map below shows the size of the oil spill:
On Saturday I saw a tweet for a website that allows you to overlay the oil spill with something more local. It certainly helps you put this massive ecological disaster into perspective, when shown in front of Godzone:
Q: Would you be interested in a Geekzone evening where you can see, in person, the 3D offerings from the three manufacturers featured in my blog? I may be able to organise such an event, please show your interest here (poll).
Continuing on my adventures in 3D land, last Thursday I was invited to Newton, Auckland to the launch of Samsung's 3D offerings. Having already seen what Sony and Panasonic are bringing to the market, I have a good grasp on what the possibilities are in this space.
Most of the media in attendance were impressed with the 3D LED TV, however I wasn't as excited about this one. To Samsung's credit, this TV is already available in retailers - to compare, at their demonstrations Sony were yet to have stock, and Panasonic only had one unit in the whole country! Being an LED, the TV is very bright, and ridiculously thin, capable of easily hanging on a wall like a picture frame; the glasses are also small and light, though I'm not sure they would fit easily over prescription glasses.
This is where my praise of Samsung ends. The viewing angle to see the 3D is not very wide or high, and picture is not that clear, and you can see a slight ghosting of the image as action in the movie speeds up. It's not that it's bad 3D, it's just that there are better offerings out there.
A good effort from Samsung, however if I was to buy a 3D TV, I would go for a Panasonic.
Photos from the night are on my Flickr account.