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Sony MHS-PM1 Webbie HD First Look

March 22nd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

sony-hd-mhs-pm1-webbie-7195For reasons I am not exactly clear about myself, I was able to obtain the new Sony MHS-PM1 “Webbie” HD camcorder, apparently before most people on the planet. Being a late adopter of most technology out there, I find more appreciation in people reviewing hardware from their own perspective over any public media review.   All those reviews for all of those years, I find myself with a sense of duty to return the favor. 

I am going to have to have a series of posts related to this camera, as I have no formal method of sitting down and comparing it to the rest of the options out there.  I am also mildly terrible at remembering to shoot video, so I am going to need to force the issue.

I bought this camera for a purpose.  In May 2009, I am taking an 8 day road trip of sorts around the country with two friends as we travel from race track to race track, as part of the One Lap of America.  The trip is a dream come true, and I want to document every possible moment to re-live for years to come.   I will certainly have some follow up reports after that trip to see how this camera survives. This trip however, redefined what I wanted out of a camcorder.

While traveling, I don’t want to run out of recordable space, and I want to be able to swap a battery to continue using the camera.  I wanted to have swappable media cards and a swappable battery.   I also wanted to have the camera record in the car for long track sessions, or even part of the road trip, without me thinking.  Here is where the camera has already failed.

The online reference to this was poor, so let me get it out in the open. This camera will not record video continuously, for more than 25 minutes.  It did reference this time scale under the memory card sizing for still photos.  Not until you get the user manual did it actually read the noted 25 minute restriction also applied to recorded time for video.

25 minutes, really?   The fact that I can put a 16GB card in the camera and get over 8 hours of 720p recording is absolutely useless.  The fact that they tout having over 100 minutes of record time on the battery is also crap, because every 25 minutes my video will stop.  

Will it still be good for vacations and trip? Absolutely. I will however curse this camera to no end, if I start a track session in the car and the recording time stops before I get back to the garage.  

Physical Overview

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I like the design of the camera.  I like the ability to flip the lens closed, which acts as a switch to turn on or off the camera.  Knowing that I will throw it in my pocket, having it closed gives me a sense that I am somehow protecting the lens itself.

The camera is light, and I am convinced that the only thing that adds any weight to it is the battery.  Of course my universal comparison is size is the iPhone, and while it is certainly thicker than the phone, the outside measurements are smaller. The plastic case makes it feel lighter, though I need to put it on a scale to be sure. 

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The slide compartment on the bottom of the phone feel solidly built and has a nice hinge system that opens up to reveal the memory card and battery compartment.  The battery has a securing clip, so opening the cover itself does not send your battery bouncing across the floor. 

The “port” cover however on the side is a “pry it open” operation, and hopes to rely on the rubber tether to keep it from flying off into oblivion.  While it is functional, I would be concerned over continuous use, as I have already found myself giving it a good thumb mashing to get it to re-seat correctly. 

You will of course need to carry a USB cable to get the pictures off, unless you have a Sony Memory Stick Pro card reader to move to.sony-hd-mhs-pm1-webbie-7208

There is a traditional sized threaded tripod hole on the bottom, which will come in handy, when trying to secure the camera down, or keep it one place with an actual tripod.

They knew I drop everything and put a mounting slot on the bottom to mount an included wrist sized fabric string strap.

 The front of the camera has no indication you are recording, and the small hole

 perforation is the microphone to the camera.  There is a blinky green light on the back side of the camera, so you can do you self recording. 

The opposite side of the port access, or right side of the camera while in your hand

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 are the power, menu and options/delete button.  You only actually push the power button when you want to connect the USB or for pure playback, as you get spoiled by rotating the lens to turn it on the rest of the time. 

I know the camera uses the Memory Stick Pro card and doesn’t use a standard SD card.  It isn’t surprising, as it is Sony, but hearing everybody use that as a complaint point gets mildly annoying. There are so few cameras offering any flash based additional memory that I am grateful for anything. 

While I am not typically a video person, I hope to go over some of the controls and post some video clips soon for comparison.  I am excited to be able to record video and keep this on my person at all time, but still having concerns of how to circumvent the 25 minute recording restriction to really make me enjoy the camera.

 

 

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