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Sony HDR-HC5

High-definition Mini DV digital camcorder

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  • Sony HDR-HC5

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  • Sony HDR-HC5

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Item #: 158HDRHC5
 

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Our take on the Sony HDR-HC5

by Tara W.
Sony

Shoot videos for posterity — or posting online

From birthday parties to YouTube™ antics, camcorders let you capture moments you can share with friends and family, or the world at large. Most newer camcorders save your videos to built-in digital memory or a removable memory card. Some models come with a built-in hard disk drive that gives you much more storage. For maximum portability, check out our smaller cams that fit into a pocket or purse. For high-def videos that look awesome on your HDTV, go for a slightly larger model with a better lens and image sensor.

You've probably experienced the remarkable clarity and realism of high-definition TV — images look smooth, lifelike, and super-detailed. Now create your own high-def videos with Sony's compact HDR-HC5.

Crisp, vivid video
The 'HC5 boasts an advanced Carl Zeiss® lens and a 2.1-megapixel image sensor for stunningly detailed footage. Sony's acclaimed image stabilization keeps your handheld shots steady. This cam records your memories on easy-to-find Mini DV tapes, and it gives you the option of shooting video in either standard or high definition.

Shooting extras
The 'HC5 comes with plenty of features, too. Access advanced focus and exposure settings through the touchpanel LCD, or use this camcorder's "Easy" button for fully automatic, worry-free shooting. The widescreen mode lets you record videos that match your HDTV, without stretching or distorting the picture. Built-in extras like night mode and a flash help you get the best shot, even when your lighting is not ideal. And the HDMI output allows you to send high-definition video and digital audio to a compatible television or audio/video component through a single convenient cable.

Sharp digital photos
Use this cam's digital photo mode to snap pictures in standard or 16:9 widescreen format. You can even take sharp photos while simultaneously filming video, thanks to Sony's dual recording mode. Save the photos to an optional Memory Stick® Duo™ card, for e-mailing to friends and family or posting online.

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Highlights:

  • records and plays back both high-definition (1080i resolution) and standard-definition video on Mini DV tape
  • 2.1-megapixel ClearVid™ CMOS image sensor (1.43 effective)
  • variable-speed 10X Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 80X)
  • x.v.Color™ technology
  • 2-11/16" widescreen touchpanel LCD
  • color viewfinder
  • digital photo mode
  • records photos to optional Memory Stick Duo or Memory Stick PRO® Duo
  • 16:9 widescreen mode for video and digital photos
  • top JPEG resolution for still images: 2304 x 1728
  • dual record mode captures 2.3-megapixels stills while shooting high-definition video
  • Smooth Slow Record mode
  • manual focus
  • Super SteadyShot® image stabilization
  • Super NightShot®
  • tele macro function
  • built-in photo flash
  • shutter speeds (1/2 – 1/500)
  • HDMI output (version 1.3)
  • audio/video output, including composite and component video
  • S-video output (using optional VMC-30FS adapter)
  • i.LINK® jack
  • USB interface
  • PictBridge-compatible
  • LANC terminal
  • Active Interface Shoe for powering an optional accessory
  • 3-3/4"W x 3-1/4"H x 5-5/16"D
  • weight: 18 oz. without battery or media
  • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Supplied Accessories:
  • rechargeable InfoLithium® battery (NP-FH60)
  • AC adapter/charger
  • wireless remote
  • audio/video, component video, i.LINK, and USB cables

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Features and Specs
General
LCD Screen Size (inches)
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2.7
Viewfinder
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Color
Total Pixel Count
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2,100,000
Effective Pixel Count for Video
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1,430,000
High-Definition
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Yes
Aspect Ratio
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16:9 and 4:3
Manual Focusing
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Yes
Filter Diameter
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37 mm
Optical Zoom
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10 x
Digital Zoom
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8 x
Night Imaging
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Super NightShot
Image Stabilization
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Super SteadyShot
Built-in Video Light
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Yes
Built-in Memory
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---
Max Recording Time w/ Included Battery
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110
Digital Still Camera Features
Effective Pixel Count for Stills
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---
Built-in Photo Flash
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Yes
Still Image Aspect Ratios
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16:9 and 4:3
Inputs and Outputs
USB Port
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---
HDMI Output
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---
Mic Input
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Active shoe
Dimensions
Weight With Battery (ounces)
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21
Width (inches)
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3-3/4
Height (inches)
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3-1/4
Depth (inches)
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5-5/16
Warranty
Parts Warranty
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1 Year
Labor Warranty
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90 Days
Image Sensor Warranty
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---
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • High-definition digital camcorder
  • AC-L200 AC Power adapter with attached 5.5' output cord (8.4V/1.7A)
  • 5' AC cord (plugs into AC adapter)
  • RMT-831 wireless remote control
  • CR2025 lithium battery (installed in remote)
  • NP-FH60 InfoLithium battery pack (7.2V/7.2Wh)
  • 5' USB cable (has a USB Type A connector on one end and a Mini USB Version 2.0 on the other)
  • 56" A/V cable (has left and right RCA audio connectors and an RCA composite video connector on one end and a proprietary connector on the other)
  • 5' Component video cable (has three RCA component video connectors on one end and a proprietary connector on the other)
  • 62" i.Link cable
  • "Let's Enjoy Video" DVD
  • Picture Motion Browser v.2.0.02/First step guide/Product registration CD-ROM
  • Operating Instructions
  • Warranty sheet
  • Online registration information
  • Accessories catalog

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

General Features
Mini DV Camcorder Features
Digital Still Camera Features
Battery Information
Inputs and Outputs Notes
Computer Information

General Features

High Definition Video: To keep pace with today's high definition TVs, the HDR-HC5 offers a high definition HDV mode. The HDV resolution is 1080i with a bit rate of 25Mbps. HDV video can also be down-converted to standard definition (SD) for playback on a standard TV.

CMOS Sensor: The 5.9mm (1/3" type) CMOS Sensor provides stunning detail and clarity with exceptional video (up to 1080 lines of horizontal resolution in HD mode, 530 in SD Mode) and still image performance. Unlike traditional CCD Imagers, CMOS Sensors require less power, providing better battery performance.

Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens: This camcorder features a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, which is among some of the most advanced multi-layer coating systems in the world, resulting in even less glare and lens flare with increased contrast compared to other systems. The result is vivid image brilliance, true-to-life color saturation and perfect renditions of subtle tones.

Easy Button: In the Easy Handycam mode most of the camcorder/camera settings are automatically adjusted, leaving you the easiest possible operation. The screen font size is also increased for easy viewing.

Focus: You can select automatic focusing or you can manually focus the camcorder. When using autofocus, you can choose to focus on a subject in the center of the screen, or with Spot Focus, focus on an off-centered object.

Zoom: The camcorder has a 10x Optical Zoom for bringing your subject up close. It also features an 8x Precision Digital Zoom, to give you a total zoom capability of 80x. The digital zoom can be set to 20x or 80x, or turned off if desired. The power zoom lever can be moved slightly for a slow zoom, or moved further for a faster zoom.

2.7" Wide Touch Panel SwivelScreen LCD Screen: The 2.7" Wide (16:9) LCD screen provides excellent viewing clarity with improved resolution. The high resolution 211,200 pixel LCD screen rotates up to 270° (180° forward and 90° backward) for multiple viewing angles providing sharp, detailed images for monitoring or playback. When the LCD is rotated 180° forward the image inverts, so the subject can see themselves on screen. The widescreen format makes shooting in 16:9 mode and composing shots even easier. In addition, the LCD doubles as an "on-screen" touch panel, allowing you to navigate through the menu system by touching the LCD screen.

Color Viewfinder: When the color LCD monitor is not being used, you can view images using the electronic color viewfinder. The viewfinder can be adjusted for your eyesight by moving the diopter control. The viewfinder also has an aspect ratio of 16:9.

i.LINK Interface: The camcorder features an i.LINK interface (also known as IEEE1394 or Firewire), a high-speed bi-directional digital video/audio communication between two compatible devices including camcorders, digital VCRs, capture cards and PCs.

Memory Stick: The HDR-HC5 records digital still images directly onto a Memory Stick Duo or Memory Stick Pro Duo, shorter versions of the standard Memory Stick. With an adapter, you can insert the Memory Stick Duo or Pro Duo memory card into compatible PCs, viewers, and printers and other Memory Stick devices.

Note: Standard-sized Memory Stick media will not fit into the camcorder.

Program AE: In addition to the automatic setting, you can choose one of the following Program AE modes to suit you specific shooting requirements:

  • Twilight: maintains the darkening atmosphere of the distant surroundings at twilight
  • Twilight Portrait: used to photograph people and the background with the flash
  • Candle: maintains the dim atmosphere of a candlelit scene
  • Sunrise/Sunset: allows you to maintain atmosphere when you are recording sunrise and sunset
  • Fireworks: records fireworks displays on a black background
  • Landscape: for recording distant subjects
  • Soft Portrait: brings out the subject while creating a soft background
  • Spotlight: prevents people's faces from appearing excessively white when they have a strong light source shining on them
  • Beach: prevents people's faces from appearing dark in strong light or reflected light
  • Snow: keeps subject from appearing too dark on a bright white background

Dual Record: While recording video you can simultaneously take a still photo in 2016 x 1134 (16:9) or 1512 x 1134 (4:3) resolution.

Playback (PB) Zoom: You can enlarge images during playback; video from 1.1x to 5 times original size, still pictures from 1.5x to 5x original size.

White Balance Adjustment: When the white balance is correct, all other colors will be accurately reproduced. This camcorder can adjust the white balance automatically, and it gives you the option to perform manual white balance adjustment. Besides auto white balance, you may select Outdoor mode, Indoor Mode, or One Push (to record with the white balance adjusted depending upon the light source).

Mini DV Camcorder Features

Switchable HDV/DV Format Recording: The HDR-HC5 is capable of recording and playing back both High Definition (HDV) and Standard Definition (DV) video recorded on standard Mini DV cassettes.

Recording Speeds: In standard definition (DV) this camcorder can record and play back in SP (60 min) or LP (90 min) mode. LP records at 2/3 the speed of SP, so you get longer recording times. You cannot use audio dubbing with a tape recorded using the LP speed. Picture quality is about the same at the lower speed; it is likely, however, that a tape recorded in LP mode will not play back as well on any other Mini DV camcorder. High definition recording (HDV) is automatically set to SP/60 minute mode.

Aspect Ratio: You can choose to record in 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio. Once a recording is made (in either aspect), the video output can be set to 16:9 or 4:3 to match your TV.

Audio Modes: This unit can record and play audio in 12-bit and 16-bit PCM digital stereo modes. When recording in high definition (HDV), 16-bit audio is set automatically. In 12-bit audio mode there are two stereo tracks (stereo 1 and stereo 2) that enable audio dubbing and audio mixing. Tapes recorded in 16-bit mode are of higher audio quality, however, audio inserts cannot be made on a tape recorded in 16-bit audio or LP speed.

Super SteadyShot Picture Stabilization: The HDR-HC5 uses Super SteadyShot electronic picture stabilization to remove unwanted picture shake without compromising picture quality.

Smooth Slow Recording: Fast moving subjects that cannot be captured under general shooting conditions, a golf swing for example, can be recorded in smooth moving slow-motion for about three seconds. The result is a 12 second slow-motion movie.

Super NightShot: This unit is equipped with NightShot and Super NightShot, which allow you to shoot a subject in complete darkness (0 lux) using infra-red technology. With NightShot, you can record natural color images in low-light conditions without the blurring common with other low-light recording systems. Super NightShot records at a maximum of 16 times more sensitivity than NightShot. You can make the colors deeper by using the built-in infrared NightShot light. You can also record clearer pictures in color by activating the Color Slow Shutter function.

Color Slow Shutter: When the Color Slow Shutter is on, you can record an image brighter in color even in dark places.

Fader Modes: You can select Black, White, Mosaic, and Monotone (gradually changes from black and white to color) faders. You can add these modes to currently recording pictures for fading in or out.

Digital Effects: The following digital effects can be added to recording and playback:

  • Cinema Effect: add a cinematic atmosphere to pictures by adjusting the image quality
  • Still Mode: records a movie while superimposing it on a previously recorded still image
  • Flash Motion Function: records still pictures successively at constant intervals for a strobe effect, while the audio remains normal
  • Trail Effect: records images that leave an incidental image such as a trail, the audio is recorded normally
  • Slow Shutter: the shutter speed is slowed to film a subject clearly in a dark setting
  • Old Movie Function: creates an old movie effect by adding a sepia hue to pictures

Picture Effects: You can select one of the following Picture Effect modes:

  • Skintone: makes skin texture appear smoother
  • Negative Art: the color and brightness of the picture are reversed
  • Sepia: picture appears in sepia (brownish tone)
  • B&W: picture appears in monochrome (black and white)
  • Solarize: picture appears as an illustration with strong contrast
  • Pastel: picture appears as a pale pastel drawing
  • Mosaic: picture appears mosaic

Data Code Function: The camcorder automatically records time codes along with the images you shoot, so you can display the date and time during playback or editing.

End Search Function: After you record and play back a tape, you may press the End Search button to have the camcorder fast forward or rewind the tape and play the last 5 seconds of what has been recorded, then enter the standby mode. This feature makes it easy to find the end of the last scene you recorded, so you can start recording from where you left off.

Date Search: You can search for the points on a recording where the date changes.

Zero Set Memory Function: While the unit is in playback mode, you may select a point on the tape to quickly locate later; once a point is selected, you may fast forward or rewind the tape and the unit will automatically stop at the selected point.

Digital Still Camera Features

Photo Recording: Besides the standard Mini DV camcorder features, this unit has a memory card slot that accepts a Memory Stick Duo or Pro Duo to capture Digital Still photos in JPEG format. You can also transfer images recorded on the Mini DV tape to the Memory Stick Duo as a still image.

Image Resolution: When the Power switch is set to Camera-Memory, the still image size can be adjusted to 2304 x 1728 (4:3), 2304 x 1296 (16:9), 1600 x 1200 (4:3), or 640 x 480 (4:3) pixels. When the Power switch is set to Camera-Tape, the still image size can be adjusted to 2016 x 1134 (16:9) or 1512 x 1134 pixels (4:3). In addition to image size, you can select from two image quality modes: Standard (compressed to about 1/10) and Fine (compressed to about 1/4). The approximate number of storable images for each available Memory Stick Duo size is:

When the Power switch is set to Camera-Memory:

Image Size Image Quality Memory Stick Duo Capacity
64MB 128MB 256MB 512MB 1GB 2GB 4GB
2304 x 1704 Fine 31 63 110 230 475 970 1900
Standard 75 150 270 550 1100 2300 4600
2304 x 1296(16:9) Fine 41 83 150 305 620 1250 2500
Standard 98 195 355 720 1450 3000 5900
1600 x 1200 Fine 65 130 235 480 980 2000 3950
Standard 150 300 540 1100 2250 4650 9200
640 x 480 Fine 390 780 1400 2850 5900 12000 23500
Standard 980 1970 3550 7200 14500 30000 59000

When the Power switch is set to Camera-Tape:

Image Size Image Quality Memory Stick Duo Capacity
64MB 128MB 256MB 512MB 1GB 2GB 4GB
2016 x 1134(16:9) Fine 54 105 195 400 820 1650 3300
Standard 130 260 470 960 1950 4000 4900
1512 x 1134 Fine 72 145 260 530 1050 2200 4400
Standard 160 325 590 1200 2450 5000 9500

Automatic Flash: The HDR-HC5 features a flash that automatically fires when lighting conditions determine additional lighting is needed. The recommended range for the flash is 1 to 8 feet. The flash level is adjustable; Normal or High. You can cycle through the following flash settings:

  • Auto Flash: the flash automatically fires when there is insufficient ambient light
  • Forced Flash: the flash always fires, regardless of lighting conditions
  • Auto Red-Eye Reduction: pre-flashes to reduce red-eye before the main flash fires (only when there is not enough ambient light)
  • Forced Red-Eye Reduction: pre-flashes to reduce red-eye; main flash fires regardless of lighting conditions
  • No Flash: the flash doesn't fire, regardless of lighting conditions and red-eye reduction feature setting

Interval Photo Recording: You can make a time-lapse recording by setting the camcorder to automatically record still images onto the Memory Stick Duo at preset intervals. Choose from 1 minute, 5 minute or 10 minute intervals.

Still Image Playback: The pictures can be played back one at a time, or 6 images can be shown simultaneously by selecting the index screen.

Slide Show: You can automatically play back images in sequence. You can choose to play back all of the files, or files from a selected folder.

Image Protection: You can protect images to prevent accidental erasure. Reformatting the Memory Stick Duo will erase all images, including those with image protection.

Print Mark: You can specify which images will be printed out on an optional digital still printer by putting a "print mark" on the still images you want printed. This unit conforms with the DPOF standard for specifying the images that will be printed.

PictBridge: You can print directly from the camcorder to a PictBridge-compliant printer via USB cable, even if you don't have a computer. PictBridge is an industry standard established by the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA). Through the camcorder you select which pictures and the number of copies to print.

Battery Information

Battery: This unit comes with an NP-FH60 InfoLithium battery, and the optional NP-FH50, NP-FH70, and NP-FH100 are compatible with this camcorder. The InfoLithium system exchanges data about its actual power consumption with the camcorder for a more accurate estimate of recording time available. Cold temperatures will increase battery consumption.

Recording Time (HDV format):

Battery Pack Recording with Viewfinder
(in minutes)
Recording with LCD screen
(in minutes)
LCD Backlight On LCD Backlight Off
Continuous Typical* Continuous Typical* Continuous Typical*
NP-FH50 80 45 75 40 80 45
NP-FH60
(supplied)
110 60 100 55 105 55
NP-FH70 180 95 165 90 175 95
NP-FH100 415 225 385 210 405 220

*Typical recording means an approximate number of minutes when recording while you repeatedly record, start/stop, move the Power switch to change the power mode, and zoom. The actual battery life may be shorter.

Recording Time (DV format):

Battery Pack Recording with Viewfinder
(in minutes)
Recording with LCD screen
(in minutes)
LCD Backlight On LCD Backlight Off
Continuous Typical* Continuous Typical* Continuous Typical*
NP-FH50 90 50 80 45 85 45
NP-FH60
(supplied)
120 65 110 60 115 60
NP-FH70 195 105 180 95 190 105
NP-FH100 450 245 415 225 440 240

*Typical recording means an approximate number of minutes when recording while you repeatedly record, start/stop, move the Power switch to change the power mode, and zoom. The actual battery life may be shorter.

Playing Time (HDV format):

Battery Pack Playing Time (in minutes)
LCD Panel Open LCD Panel Closed
NP-FH50 110 125
NP-FH60
(supplied)
145 165
NP-FH70 235 270
NP-FH100 545 615

Playing Time (DV format):

Battery Pack Playing Time (in minutes)
LCD Panel Open LCD Panel Closed
NP-FH50 120 135
NP-FH60
(supplied)
160 180
NP-FH70 255 290
NP-FH100 590 660

Charging Time:

Battery Pack Charging Time (in minutes)
NP-FH50 135
NP-FH60
(supplied)
135
NP-FH70 170
NP-FH100 390

Inputs and Outputs Notes

A/V Output: This camcorder features a proprietary Audio/Video output for use with the supplied A/V connecting cable. The cable has a proprietary plug on one end and male stereo RCA audio and RCA composite video connections on the other end.

Component Output: This camcorder features a proprietary component video connection for use with the supplied component video cable.

HDMI Output: High definition video can be output using the HDMI port.

i.LINK Input/Output: You can connect this camcorder to another digital device (such as a computer, another camcorder, DVD recorder, or digital VCR) via the 4-pin i.LINK jack (IEEE1394 or Firewire) for two-way high speed transfer.

USB: The USB port allows you to transfer still images from the camcorder to your computer or printer.

Active Interface Shoe: There is an Active Interface Shoe on top of the camcorder, which can provide power to various optional accessories such as a video light, flash, or microphone.

LANC Jack: The LANC jack is used for controlling the tape transport of the camcorder when used with certain compatible editing equipment. This jack is sometimes referred to as a Control L or Remote jack.

Computer Information

System Requirements: To transfer motion video or still images from the camcorder to your computer, it must meet the following minimum system requirements:

  • When using Picture Motion Browser (Windows only):
    • Operating System: Pre-installed Windows 2000 Professional, XP Home, XP Professional, or XP Media Center Edition (XP SP2 required for processing HD video)
    • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz CPU or faster (Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz or faster, Intel Pentium D, or Intel Core Duo is recommended)/For processing SD (standard definition) picture quality content only, an Intel Pentium III 1 GHz or faster is necessary
    • Application: DirectX 9.0c or later (this product is based on DirectX technology, it is necessary to have DirectX installed)
    • Sound system: Direct Sound compatible sound card
    • Memory: 512 MB or more (1 GB or more is recommended)/For processing SD (standard definition) picture quality content only, 256 MB of memory or more is necessary
    • Hard disk space: Approximately 500 MB
    • Display: DirectX 7 or later-compatible video card, Minimum 1,024 X 768 dots, High Color (16 bit color)
    • Others: USB port (this must be provided as standard), DV Interface (IEEE1394, i.LINK) to connect via an i.LINK cable, DVD burner (CD-ROM drive is necessary for installation)
  • When playing still images recorded on the Memory Stick Duo/Windows:
    • Operating System: Pre-installed Windows 2000 Professional, XP Home, XP Professional, or XP Media Center Edition (XP SP2 required for processing HD video)
    • CPU: MMX Pentium 200 MHz or faster
    • Others: USB port (this must be provided as standard)
  • When playing still images recorded on the Memory Stick Duo/Macintoch:
    • Operating System: Mac OS 9.1/9.2 or Mac OS X (v 10.1/v 10.2/v 10.3/v 10.4)
    • Other: USB port (this must be provided as standard)
 
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Sony HDR-HC5 Reviews

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5 out of 5

Excellent HD Camcorder

Written By Karl, Toledo, OH on Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I'll make this short and simple. I did a lot of research and DV tape camcorders are still the best system with the least amount of problems. The Sony HDR-HC5 has the right features for the price. Easy to use, and picture color and quality that can't be beat. You can use Sony's HD tapes, which cost about $ 15.00 each but the $3.00 regular DV tapes are just as good without spending the extra $12.00 per tape. Crutchfield has the sales and tech support that the big box retailers don't have so buy from Crutchfield and call them if you still have any questions. They're great people!
14 out of 15 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

HDR-HC5

Written By GeorgeF16, Miami,FL on Sunday, April 22, 2007
 
Nice Camcorder, lightweight,excellent still pictures and videos,the Steady Shot feature is not the best but works very well,80X digital zoom a nightmare- completely useless,beside the digital zoom is an excellent device.
55 out of 83 people found this helpful
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