The Sony HDR-XR150 is a very versatile midrange camcorder



It is too bad that today's children are not being exposed to a right of passage to which every childhood spent in the 60‘s or 70‘s was subjected   That’s right, the annual family get together, complete with a viewing of the....wait for it.... Dad's Home Video.  How many of us have had our painfully awkward moments, splashed across a portable screen in gloriously grainy halting action?  I’m sad to realize that today's generation of children won’t get to experience the click clacking of film being fed into the mysterious machine that usually caused my father to cuss under his breath at least once every two to three minutes.  That, and they will never have to walk to school uphill, both ways, in the snow either.  Kids today are soft.  


However, putting nostalgia aside, it is amazing what today’s camcorders are capable of producing.  One of the most impressive camcorders available today is the Sony HDR-XR150.  This handycam is a high tech, pocket sized, full HD camcorder.  Even though it is lightweight (at 10 ounces), it offers a very powerful 120 Gigabyte hard drive, steady shot image stabilization, smooth slow motion record, an EXMOR R low light sensor, a 25X optical zoom, and full compatibility with multiple outside appliances.  All these hi-tech features create an easy to use,  and powerful camcorder.  

When picking a camcorder, one of the first decisions to make is the type of memory storage you want in your camera.  Most camcorders use memory cards or small hard drives to capture the action.  With the Sony XR150, a built-in 120 GB hard drive allows you shoot and record up to 30 hours of amazingly clear, high definition video.  This amount of storage is equal to fifteen 8GB memory cards (try not losing some of those). For such a large memory capacity, you would expect an ugly, unwieldy, monster of a camera that would double as dumb bell for your right arm.    However, the Sony XR-150, is a very sleek and appealing design.  The hard drive is implemented into the camera in a small, comfortable, and attractive fashion.  The camcorder is easy to carry in your hand while providing a sure and steady grip.  

The Sony XR150 utilizes a new and improved steady shot image stabilization technology.  Nobody wants to watch shaky, wobbly movies.   With the steady shot mode activated, shakiness is greatly reduced.   This will save you time in the editing phase of your video production.  With just a flip of the dial you can switch from the regular recording mode to the smooth slow motion recording mode.   This mode also allows the camcorder to be easy for kids to use – Let your kids take control and the video playback will still be smooth and flawless. 

Slow motion recording is not new to the current market of camcorders, but Sony has improved on the technology over previous models.   Rather than recording at the standard 60 frames per second under normal recording settings, you now have the capability of recording three seconds at 240 frames per second.  The 3 second video is then automatically processed and played back in 12 seconds, which creates 12 seconds of high quality, slow motion video.  This slow motion video setting does not reduce the quality at all because it still records the same amount of frames per second as under regular circumstances. It also does not require intense lighting to capture the video, as other camcorders do when attempting to record in slow motion.

Most camcorders are capable of great performance when the lighting is perfect.  However, when there is low light, the quality of video is seriously degraded.  Poor lighting is no longer a problem with the Sony HDR-XR150.  The camera uses an “EXMOR R” CMOS sensor.  This sensor greatly increases the low light sensitivity of the camera and will dramatically reduce any graininess.  This technology will allow for extended film time when outdoors, and will eliminate the need for extra lighting while shooting inside.  While other cameras will be recording Aunt Bea with a darkened face or in silhouette at dawn or dusk, the Sony HDR XR-150 will be capturing her bright and amazingly clear smile with ease.

Many camcorders on the market come with a ten, twelve, or maybe fifteen times optical zoom.  The XR-150 raises the bar with a 25x optical zooom.  This tremendous long range capability allows you to get high quality shots, even from amazing distances.  The zooming capability gives you amazing versatility as allow you will easily be able to film sporting events from a distance or even film far away objects and animals in the outdoors.  When zoomed out fully,  most cameras are extremely shaky unless you are using a tripod.  However, this camera’s tight, long distance shots will be much steadier than its other camcorders because of the steady shot image stabilization mode.  

Recording of video is amazingly clear in 1920 x 1080 full High Definition.  And the camcorder records stereo audio as well.  While most people don't use video cameras for still shots (for good reason) the Sony HDR-XR150 does have a 3 MP still photo option (I just wouldn't use it). 

The list price for the Sony HDR-XR150 is $899.99, but I found it on for $549.00.

The Sony HDR-XR150 is a great looking, convenient, lightweight camera that is packed full of video enhancing features, but small enough to carry in a coat pocket or small bag.  The 120 GB hard drive, steady shot image stabilization, smooth slow motion recording, EXMOR R low light sensor, 25X optical zoom, and full compatibility with outside appliances are just six of dozens of impressive, experience enhancing features.  Record your experiences and memories using a top quality camcorder.  If you are looking for your next mid-priced yet high quality camcorder, you have found it.  Unless of course, you want to go back to 16 mm film experience of your youth.