Movie Mode

The HX200V is one of few compact cameras that can record Full HD video (that's 1920 x 1080) at 60p. It does this using the AVCHD Progressive format, which may not be supported by all devices or video editing suites. Sound is recorded in Dolby Digital Stereo, as you'd expect. If you don't need 1080/60p video (along with its 28 MBps bit rate), you can also choose from 1080/60i (at 17 or 24 MBps) or 1440 x 1080 @ 60i. The maximum recording time for all of those is around 29 minutes.

Sony uses two different codecs for video recording on the DSC-HX200V: AVCHD and MPEG-4. The PlayMemories software can be used to view all videos produced by the camera, and it can remove unwanted footage from your clip, or save a frame as a still image. While it can convert videos to WMV format, they'll be VGA quality. PMH can also burn videos to Blu-ray or DVD discs. If you want to use a commercial product to edit your videos and plan on using the AVCHD Progressive (1080/60p) mode, check with your software manufacturer to make sure you can actually edit the video.

Mac users can edit MPEG-4 and most AVCHD videos with ease, using iMovie or Final Cut Pro X. You will not be able to open the AVCHD Progressive videos however, unless you run them through Media Converter first (be sure to download the AVCHD rewrap plug-in, as well).

While AVCHD movies look great on your HDTV, editing and sharing them isn't so easy. Heck, just finding them on your memory card is a pain. Thankfully, Sony also supports the MPEG-4 codec, which is much easier to work with. Choose from 1440 x 1080, 1280 x 720, or 640 x 480 resolutions, all at 30 frames/second. Recording will stop when the file size reaches 2GB, which takes about 15 minutes at the highest quality setting.

As you might imagine, the HX200V lets you use the optical zoom while you're recording a movie, with the ring around the lens being especially handy. The camera's autofocus system will keep everything sharp as you zoom in and out. The image stabilizer is available as well, with a special "active" mode that reduces heavy camera shake in three directions.

Movie recording is a point-and-shoot experience on the HX200V. You can turn on a wind filter and adjust the mic level, but that's about it. You can take 13MP stills while you're recording a movie, but not at the 1080/60p setting. While you can take a movie in any shooting mode, there is a dedicated spot on the mode dial where you can let the camera pick a movie scene for you, or you can select one for yourself. Most of the camera's Picture Effects can be used for movies as well as stills.

I have two sample movies for you today, both of which were taken at the 1080/60p setting. The first one is your standard cable car movie, while the second attempts to showcase the active image stabilization system in action. I've converted these from AVCHD to QuickTime format using the Media Converter (Mac) software I mentioned earlier. If you want to play with the original MTS files, they're available for your downloading pleasure, as well.

Sample Video 1

Download original MTS file (1920 x 1080, 60 fps, 27.9 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)

Sample Video 2

Download original MTS file (1920 x 1080, 60 fps, 42.4 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)