Sony CX500v HD camcorder

High Definition In A Compact Form Factor: Sony HDR-CX500V Review

Sony CX500v HD camcorder

Sony, a company that knows what they’re doing, and their Sony CX series are no exception to that matter. I initially had owned Canon’s t2i but the lens was flawed so I ended up returning the entire package. When I returned it, I had in mind for a smaller camera. One that I could a carry anywhere and be able to pull it out quickly to record in HD. So after reading many reviews I picked out this little piece of hardware, The Sony HDR-CX500v with a beautiful and clear 3.0” touch screen. A huge 32gbs of built in memory, shooting at a full 1080p. I’m putting this camera to the test to see if it lives up to its hype. Like any camera of course it has its stronger and weaker sides. I had this camera for over a year and while I no longer own it, I enjoyed my usage as it it did its job well. While sony has released many newer models of the CX500v as the CX560v, the CX500v is still an extremely capable one and you currently can find with a very reasonable price tag. So let’s see how it does.



Video Quality

Superb. To start, shooting with good lightning this camera brings out some of the best quality I’d ever seen. The texture in the picture is just outstanding and crisp. I was very impressive. In low light this camera (along with many other cameras) has a dedicated actual mode for low light shooting and it’s very good for what it does. Of course it wont be better than today’s current advance DSLR’s with a separate lens for low light shooting. But this camera still gets the job done quite well. You do have the option to shoot in a lower quality, to get longer record time but if your getting an HD camera, I don’t see a reason to record in anything less.


Battery Life

Sony CX500vIt says it right on the camera and box. “13hrs of RECORDING”….in small print underneath (at 5mbps). Which is the lowest quality you can record in on the CX500V. The highest reaches up to 16mbps. I obviously didnt expect 13 hours of recording on full Hd. However I did get a good 4 -5 hours of recording before I had to recharge. If you’re not satisfied with that you could always pick up an extra battery!




Still Photos

Sony CX500v ScreenI had mixed feelings about it. I suppose I had higher expectations coming from the t2i (in which I shouldnt have) but I originally took a few snaps and I just thought Id never us it again. I returned my t2i and I actually got back into using this. Its a 12mp camera and with good lighting the camera gets the job done. (For a camcorder) Its not the best but it does do it right and it’s nice and convenient to have if you need it. I’d say better to have it subpar then to completely leave out the feature. So thanks Sony for keeping it! (Another neat feature is taking stills while recording!)

EDIT: When using this camera youll definitely need the flash on. With flash plus natural lighting (Or any extra lighting) the pics actually come out pretty crisp for a camcorder. Here are a few comparison shots with flash on and off. (Note these pics were all shot during the day with plenty of light in the room.)


Sample Shots taken with the CX500V


CX500v Wish Flash #2
CX500v Wish Flash #2
CX500v Without Flash #2
CX500v Without Flash #2









It comes with 32gbs of built in memory. I currently have about 5 hours in the camera of full 1080p recording and it still says 4.8 gigs left. If that’s not enough you could also add in Sony’s memory stick. For me 32gbs is just fine lol. I’m pretty sure after recording 6 hours of footage in full HD I’ll back it up and start it back at 32gbs. But that’s all in personal preference.

Mic/sound quality

I’d say above average. My first project was a documentary for school and one of the interviewee had had to whisper in a library that had a presentation going on. There was a lot of noise in the background and my interviewee whispered, but even then, the camera picked up what she had to say just fine. What I dont like however is Sony’s way of doing things; if the mic isnt good enough for you and you need or want some sort of boom mic, youll need to pick up Sonys mic because its shoot at the top is proprietary. (It’s the same thing with Sony’s and their memory sticks.)


Other Functionalities

1)The camera offers a three-way shake cancelation. At first I thought this may have been a gimmick like thing, but Ive actually ran around with the camera while recording and I really did notice a big difference. Ive ran and recorded with a few cameras (The t1i which probably wasnt the best idea) an older Sony Handicam, a few point and shoots and also the canon M30 and Ill say this camera tops all of them with shake cancelation.


2) Theres a GPS option in the camera but I just leave it off to save battery because I dont really travel to often. It pretty much keeps track of the film you record and where exactly you recorded it.

3)The camera has adopted the feature many cameras have, face detection. It’ll focus on your subject while recording.


4)You also do have control of the white balance, exposure and focus points. There’s a little wheel you can use to control the depth of field but I don’t find it too useful. I notice I’m scrolling with my thumb as fast as I can and it takes forever to focus on a subject from one distant to the other. But again, its better to have it than leave it out.



The screen is a touch screen. While many new cameras are adopting touch screen, I personally rather have a physical button because it is more responsive. CX500v screen response is fine but I found it a little slow to navigate around the menus with the touch screen.


All in All

Great camera. It’s very small and compact. The Battery life is great with the option of a removable battery. Very good shake cancelation. Impressive low light for a camera this small. Great video. Pretty good still image snaps. Great Storage. The only downside is sonys proprietary connections and also the manual focus. It is what you make out of it. It’s pretty much the complete package. So if your looking into getting an HD camera I’d highly recommend checking out the Sony CX500v.


Len Thou

Len is a full time college student who enjoys creative writing, photography, and from time to time boxing. He is an ongoing contributor and publisher to the site. His motto is simply, "Hard Work."

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