There are no other controls to speak of on the camcorder itself. The remainder of the TG7VE’s features must be accessed via the 2.7in touchscreen LCD. The interface has been redesigned compared to previous Sony camcorders, and uses a simple scrolling list divided into categories. There are ‘fast forward’-style double-arrow onscreen buttons for skipping categories, and single-arrow buttons to scroll through the options in each category.
However, despite the new interface, the same healthy selection of manual controls is available. You can use the touchscreen to indicate a point within the frame to stand as a reference for focusing, exposure, or both put together. You can also configure focus and exposure using onscreen sliders, but there is no way of accessing iris or shutter settings directly.
The TG7VE offers Sony’s Smooth Slow Record, too. This buffers footage at a high frame rate and lower resolution, then records it to memory at the usual 25 frames/sec at Full HD. The result is slow-motion video that is clear and smooth, albeit not quite as high quality as the regular Full HD footage.
There are 10 scene modes to choose from, with most of the usual suspects in evidence such as portrait, twilight, beach and landscape, but curiously no sports option. So if you want to capture fast motion without blur then you’re out of luck.
The much-vaunted GPS system lets you tag photos and videos with their location. You can then browse them by location, or via the built-in map. However, it’s a bit of a gimmick. Although location tagging for photos is now well established, the same cannot be said for video.
With its identical optics to the TG3, the TG7VE provides virtually the same image quality. But that’s no bad thing as the previous model punched well above its size in this area. The picture is colourful and packed with detail when the lighting is good. There is a slight lack of sharpness compared to the very best Full HD camcorders currently available, but nothing too intrusive. Image stabilisation is of the electronic variety, but Sony’s version is relatively effective, albeit not on par with the optical systems found in higher-end consumer camcorders.