Sony Handycam DCR-SX65 Review

I was hesitant at first when I was offered to do a review of the Sony Handycam DCR-SX65. First of all, I knew nothing about video cameras. As a photography nut, I was never really a fan of video cameras because growing up, I just found it so bulky and required so much time and effort to go take videos, replay them and edit them. Plus my mentality is that if I did all of those, how would it be appreciated by others unless I give them all a CD copy of my work.

So let me give you a walkthrough of the Sony Handycam SX65 from a complete amateur like me.

Sony Handycam DCR-SX65

Going back to my hesitation on doing a review for this Sony Handycam, what actually made me give in to the idea of testing it out was when I got a hold of it. Technology is something else, I tell you. The DCR-SX65 is just so small, so good-looking. I never knew that they produced video cameras this small! It weighs 8.1oz. It’s heavier than your normal point-and-shoot camera but it still is really light for my idea of a video camera.

The unit I tested is ruby red and once I slipped my hand into the grip belt, it just felt comfortable to hold. I guess that over the years, they’ve tailored hand-held cameras to finally JUST fit perfectly into my hands.

Sony Handycam DCR-SX65 Sony Handycam DCR-SX65 Sony Handycam DCR-SX65

I’m also not much of a manual-reader so I just dove in and tinkered with the buttons. My props to Sony for not having too many buttons outside the video camera. It has the record button just exactly within reach of my thumb, and I’m able to reach the other buttons with my index and middle finger – that would be the modes (Video, Stills), Shutter button for still shots and zooming button.

Sony Handycam DCR-SX65

Upon opening the 3.0 Wide LCD Touch panel, there were a few buttons just for Power, Play, Light and iAuto. I thought it was brilliant that it didn’t give me a hard time figuring out what I needed to do with this video camera. So, add more points to them for being newbie- and user-friendly.

So off I went taking videos this one weekend I was out of town. I brought the Handycam SX65 on board of a bangka since I was getting certified to dive that weekend. I was a little bit worried that my footage would come out really bad because the waves were pretty choppy and as an amateur, I didn’t know how to do all that panning and all prerequisites needed in making a video. The Handycam DCR-SX65 was put to the test with all the bobbing I got from the boat ride.

Upon reviewing the videos, I expected that it would be shaky. I was impressed that it really came out steadier than I expected. I think the only problem I had was just getting used to zooming in and out steadily, but that’s more of my skill and not the Handycam SX65’s problem.

Sony Handycam DCR-SX65

The Handycam DCR-SX65 has a 70x Extended zoom. I didn’t want to completely zoom in my footage while I was on the boat because surely it won’t be a steady experience. Now, if I had a tripod setup on a perfectly steady environment, I bet the Handycam would give me good zoom results. Switching modes from video to still-shots was pretty easy too. I was able to take a number of still shots, although they were just VGA quality.

Reviewing videos was a pleasant experience since the LCD was touch screen. The quality of the video while being replayed is really clear and fluid and I found myself enjoying replaying the videos during my idle time. My mistake was that I wasn’t able to tinker with the other shooting programs. There were other shooting modes such as Beach, Sports mode, Twilight, Sunset, Fireworks, Portraits to name a few.

Come post-processing, I got a little adventurous and decided on using Sony Vegas Pro 9.0 to edit videos. What are the odds that it’s also the same brand of video-editor, right? I got my hands on Sony Vegas Pro and did a quick 1-hour edit of the video clips. The Handycam DCR-SX65 came with an installer for a video-editor that would make video-editing easier than Sony Vegas, so don’t you worry.

Sony Handycam DCR-SX65 AV OUT Sony Handycam DCR-SX65 card slot

Downloading video clips was also a breeze since the Handycam SX65 has a built-in USB attached to it. I’d have to say that it’s one of my favorite features because this allows me to download the clips and charge the Handycam at the same time. It’s such a pain to be carrying around all those cables.

Here’s a sample clip of a video taken with the Sony Handycam DCR-SX65:

I had this whole mentality of video cameras that changed after this experience of reviewing the Sony DCR-SX65. It really was nowhere near bulky because it fit perfectly in my hand. It was light and very easy to use, even for those who aren’t used to handling video cameras. This Handycam didn’t give me a problem when I was taking videos and replaying them. Plus, with the help of all the technology readily available nowadays, I was able to do some video-editing for a short period of time and upload it online to share in websites like YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook. So am I now a convert from photography to videography? Maybe not, but it sure is a new add-on to my interests!

Verdict

If you’re like me who was not fond of using camcorders because of the preconceived notion that they were bulky, complicated and unwieldy, fret not when using the Handycam DCR-SX65. This camcorder is made for the casual videographers out there especially for those who want to capture family moments in video.

Sony Handycam DCR-SX65

What you’ll get is a standard definition camcorder with a limited 4GB internal memory (external SD card or Memoroy Stick is also supported) which is good for six hours of recording. It’s surely not top-of-the-line but it’s still a very decent ultra-compact camcorder that has a powerful 60x optical zoom (70x extended) for those tight shots. If you want a handy Handycam without those bells and whistles that you probably won’t use, take a look at the DCR-SX65. At Php22,999, it would be a nice investment especially if you still have those old-school bulky tape/disc camcorders.

Sony Handycam DCR-SX65 Specs:
Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar / 37mm
Optical / Digital Zoom: 60x / 2000x
SD Video Codec: MPEG2-PS
Audio Format: Dolby Digital 2ch Stereo, Dolby Digital Stereo Creator
Zoom Mic
SteadyShot (with Active mode)
3.0” Clear Photo LCD (230K dots / Wide 16:9), Touch Panel
Built-in LED Video Ligh
Face Detection
Intelligent Auto
Backlight Compensation
USB 2.0
Movie Recording on Memory Stick and SD/SDHC Memory Card (4GB Built-in Flash Memory)
230g
Php22,999

1 Comment

  1. My tito have this exact Sony Handycam model (a blue one though) and I thought that it was nothing fancy. I was still practicing with my pseudo-DSLR cam(psuedo, kasi di xa manual focus at di pwede kabitan ng mga lens ba yun haha) when my tito handed this to me and told me to give it a try.
    Wow, I didn’t thought that i’ll enjoy taking videos with this handycam!
    It was small, lightweight, easy to use. The zoom is perfect. The video quality is superb – tried it placing on a stable surface and pressed record and the output was good! Everything was fluid! The lens is of course good too, its a Carl Zeiss :D
    My only gripe with this Handycam is the picture quality of still photos – it can only take VGA. Nevertheless, this is a VIDEO CAM, so might as well use this for video-capturing, not photo-capturing.
    By the way, my tito bought one in Boston for almost half the price! Sulit tlaga ang bili nya haha :D

    Anyway, nice review Liane! :D

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