The SR72E is decidedly low-end in terms of features as well. It does offer an accessory shoe, but this is Sony’s proprietary version, so you’ll be restricted to Sony peripherals. Third-party ones won’t fit. No headphone or microphone jack is provided, either. The only camcorder-resident video connection is an all-in-one A/V connector, and that merely offers composite video output not S-video, plus RCA audio. The built-in lens cover is very convenient, though.
Virtually all manual controls are accessed through the 2.7in touch screen, with backlight compensation one of the few exceptions. Two types of manual focus are available – either via incrementing up and down using the onscreen buttons, or by touching the point on the viewfinder image to indicate the point you want spot focus to use for reference. Similarly, you can control exposure incrementally or touch the viewfinder image for spot exposure. Ten different Scene modes are available, including Twilight, Candle, Sunrise & Sunset, Fireworks, Landscape, Portrait, Spotlight, Sports, Beach and Snow. With so many on offer, you’ll probably rarely use some of them, if ever.
You can toggle a tele macro function, and three types of low light assistance. Colour Slow Shutter simply drops the shutter speed to allow more light in. Nightshot Plus has its own discrete button on the top of the camcorder. This fires up an infrared light source next to the lens and switches to monochromatic infrared sensing mode. Super Nightshot Plus then adds slower shutter speeds on top of this. Then there is a selection of digital effects, but we’re not a big fan of in-camera effects in these days of ubiquitous video editing software. You can add filters like Old Movie later with most editing apps, usually with much better end results.
After reviewing quite a few high definition camcorders recently, it would be easy for us to be unimpressed with the SR72’s video performance. The extra detail of HD makes SD look somewhat lacking in clarity by comparison. But the SR72 does exhibit Sony’s excellent capabilities with colour, at least in strong sunlight. The chromatic range is well saturated with a characteristic emphasis towards blue, which has been the company’s visual trademark for decades. However, quite a bit of noise is evident even with this level of lighting.