Sony HDR-TD20VE - Manual Settings, Image Quality and Verdict

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As

if the 3D shooting wasn’t enough, the TD20VE also incorporates a

built-in GPS. If you’re shooting in a location where a signal is

available, the location will be recorded alongside the footage. So you

can browse your clips by where they were shot in the world, as well as

by date or in sequential order. The TD20VE also sports the requisite

connections for enthusiast videomakers. There’s a minijack for an

external microphone and headphones. However, the accessory shoe is

Sony’s proprietary version, so you will need to buy Sony’s own

peripherals or invest in an adapter.

Sony HDR-TD20VE

There are a couple of novel shooting modes, as well. The Smooth Slow

Record function has been a mainstay of Sony HD camcorders for some years

now, allowing you to grab high-speed footage at a lower resolution to

high definition, then play it back at the regular frame rate for a fluid

slow motion. But more novel is the Golf Shot. When in this mode, you

can trigger recording as a golf swing or other sporting stroke hits its

target, and the camcorder will actually record the split second

beforehand, to compensate for most people’s slow reactions. What it

actually records is a string of tall skinny still images in succession,

which are played across the frame in two rows, so the whole motion is

visible at once in a modern take on Muybridge. This function has a very

specific use for analysing sporting form, but could be beneficial if you

do want a detailed view of motion.

Sony HDR-TD20VE

Although

the TD20VE doesn’t use sensors quite as large as Sony’s top 2D-only

camcorders, it’s still capable of excellent image quality in either 2D

or 3D mode. As is typical of Sony camcorders, colours are particularly

vibrant and detail is excellent. The 3D effect can be quite effective,

too, and the LCD screen is one of the best glassless 3D displays we’ve

seen on a camcorder. The most impressive performance is in poor

illumination in 3D mode, however. Camcorders which record side-by-side

images onto a single CMOS tend to exhibit significantly inferior image

quality in low light. But the TD20VE’s footage maintains impressive

levels of brightness and colour, with very little sign of grain. There’s

actually no noticeable difference between 2D and 3D low light

performance.

Verdict
The Sony HDR-TD20VE shoots

great video in 2D or 3D, and is packed with enthusiast capabilities. It

lacks a couple of important features, in particular a full lens ring and

standard accessory shoe, which would make it the perfect enthusiast 3D

camcorder. It’s also relatively expensive, at close to £1,200 from the

cheapest stores we found, and more from most retailers. But this is

still a great camcorder, if ultimate value isn’t your chief concern.

Score in detail

  • Design 9
  • Image Quality 10
  • Features 9
  • Value 7
  • Perfomance 10

Image Processor

Image Sensor 1/3.9in CMOS with 5.4Mpixels
Image Sensor Quantity 2

Lens Features

Optical Zoom (Times) 10x
Digital Zoom (Times) 120x

Video Recording

Recording Media Flash Drive
Video Capture Format AVCHD 2.0
Max Video Res 1920 x 1080 / 50p
Minimum Lux Rating (Lux) 3lx
Image Stabilisation Active OIS

General Features

LCD Screen Size (Inch) 3.5in
On-board Storage (Gigabyte) 64GB
On-board Microphone Dolby 5.1 Surround

A/V ports

HDMI Yes
USB 2.0 Yes
Audio / Video Out Yes
Audio / Video In No
External Microphone Yes

Physical Specifications

Weight (Gram) 460g
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