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Sony Handycam HDR-CX105E - Sony HDR-CX105E
As this is a tiny pocket camcorder, there are few provisions for the more serious videomaker. There is no accessory shoe, nor minijacks for an external microphone or headphones. The few discrete buttons, which are available beneath the LCD, control global features like switching to playback and Easy mode, the latter hiding the majority of settings for those worried that they might end up configuring them accidentally. The CX105E also has face detection to help get the exposure of human faces correct automatically. However, one automated feature we would have liked is a lens cover that opens when the camcorder turns on, like many HD camcorders in this class now have. But instead you have to open this yourself with a slider on the side.
If you do want to delve into manual settings, these are all controlled via the touchscreen LCD. As with the XR520, the one-touch system now extends to simultaneous configuration of focus and exposure with a single tap. You can still access these two settings separately, like previous Sony touchscreen camcorders, and there are manual sliders to control them as well. But there is no way of changing the shutter speed directly. The only way to bias this is via one of the scene modes, such as the Sports option which selects the fastest possible shutter. There are eight other scene modes to choose from as well.
The CX105E also incorporates Sony's Smooth Slow Record. This is a separate mode alongside Movie and Photo that captures footage at four times normal speed. However, it only works for three-second bursts, which are buffered and then transferred to create 12 seconds of regular AVCHD. Quality isn't as good as when recording at normal speed, and Sony hasn't made public what resolution or data rate is actually used when buffering. But the results are quite reasonable, and look better than some of the slo-mo options available from other manufacturers.