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Sony HDR-PJ790V

High-definition projection camcorder with 96GB flash memory

3 Reviews

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Item # 158PJ790V

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Our take on the Sony HDR-PJ790V

If you spend just a minute or two looking over the specifications of the Sony Handycam® HDR-PJ790V camcorder, it won't surprise you in the least that we feel this model truly deserves its "flagship" designation. From the meticulously crafted Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T 10X zoom lens, to the generously sized sensor, to the many features designed to deliver top-quality HD video and audio, the 'PJ790V is designed to be a standout. If it were just a camcorder, it would still be competitive in the marketplace. But with the addition of a top-quality 35-lumen projector and 96GB of built-in flash memory, it goes above and beyond in offering everything you'd like to have in a family camcorder.

The flagship appears

If you spend just a minute or two looking over the specifications of the Sony Handycam® HDR-PJ790V camcorder, it won't surprise you in the least that we feel this model truly deserves its "flagship" designation. From the meticulously crafted Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T 10X zoom lens, to the generously sized sensor, to the many features designed to deliver top-quality HD video and audio, the 'PJ790V is designed to be a standout. If it were just a camcorder, it would still be competitive in the marketplace. But with the addition of a top-quality 35-lumen projector and 96GB of built-in flash memory, it goes above and beyond in offering everything you'd like to have in a family camcorder.

The Sony Handycam® HDR-PJ790V's forward-mounted 5.1 surround-sound microphone delivers natural, immersive sound.

The Sony Handycam® HDR-PJ790V's forward-mounted 5.1 surround-sound microphone delivers natural, immersive sound.

Anything but ordinary

Let's start with the features that mean something to the more-than-casual enthusiast. Manual focus, exposure, audio levels, white balance and more. Balanced Optical Steady Shot™ to keep your shots stable. A dedicated electronic viewfinder so you can hold the camera to your eye, for those long telephoto handheld shots.

And, on top of that, you'll find a wealth of assistive automatic settings, to keep you shooting when you don't have time to adjust on the go. 180 scene modes, recognized automatically by the camcorder as it shoots in Intelligent Auto mode. Cinema-inspired tone curves and frame rates. Automatic gain controls to manage unexpected highlights. Even in low light, the 'PJ790V shines, with the Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T lens feeding the large, sensitive back-illuminated Exmor® R sensor. There's even an infrared-assisted night-shot mode. And the 10X optical zoom lens is perfect for getting up close to the action.

See it now

This camcorder features a built-in extra-high-intensity projector, so you can see your shots without the need for an external monitor — anywhere you have a bit of darkness and a flat expanse of light-colored wall. Plus, the projector offers an HDMI input, so you can use the camcorder as a projector for other devices with an HDMI output.

Action shots are a snap with the Sony Handycam® HDR-CX430V

Action shots are a snap with the Sony Handycam® HDR-PJ790V.

Sound to match the video

Sitting in your living room playing your captured video back on an HD monitor in full 5.1-channel surround, you'll be even more impressed. The 'PJ790V offers a forward-mounted 5.1-channel surround sound microphone that produces more in the way of realistic, immersive sound than the flush-mounted microphones found in most camcorders. Plus, you get external microphone in/headphone out stereo minijacks and all of Sony's advanced sound system improvements like wind noise reduction and Closer Voice technology, to make the audio presentation of your shots every bit as engaging as the video.

Where or when

The 'PJ790V has a built-in GPS receiver that will give you your current location on the LCD display, tag your location on your captured video, and set your camcorder's system clock based on your current time zone. A map index screen on the LCD gives you a handy way to browse your travel footage according to where you shot it.

Memory for your memories

Because this camcorder takes Memory Stick® media and SD cards, you can customize the amount of storage you have — with just a few cards you'll have hours upon hours of capacity waiting for when you need it. If you don't have any cards on hand, not to worry; this camcorder has 96GB of flash memory on-board, for almost 38 hours of HD video storage in LP mode. And the 'PJ790V will also copy your memories to an external hard drive without the aid of a computer. For that, you'll need an optional USB adapter cable available from Sony (the VMC-UAM1 cable). Here's another trick: you can access media on that hard drive using the 'PJ790V's handy playback controls, and display those files on your HDTV via an HDMI connection from the camcorder.

The producer is built-in

Don't feel like editing your footage? Highlight Playback mode will identify and compile scenes from your day of shooting and make a short, engaging movie complete with music and transitions. You can even select the scenes you want in your day's highlight reel.

Product Highlights:

    Storage and Formats:
    • 1/2.88" (6.3mm) back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor for improved detail and drastically reduced noise
    • control your camcorder via Wi-Fi® with compatible smartphones, tablets, and laptops using the separately available ADP-WL1M1 adapter
    • Balanced Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization provides Sony's best shake-reduction performance by moving the entire optical assembly
    • built-in 35-lumen projector has external micro HDMI input so you can use camcorder as a stand-alone projector
    • 10X Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T optical zoom lens (17X extended mode; digital zoom to 120X)
    • manual focus assist features like zoom assist and focus peaking
    • on-board flash for still shooting
    • night-shot infrared-illuminated mode delivers visible video in apparent darkness
    • built-in GPS tags your shooting locations and updates your system clock
    • Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel audio with top-mounted microphone for better, more natural sound
    • 3.0" high-resolution 921k-dot widescreen touch-panel LCD
    • dedicated electronic viewfinder makes long-zoom shots even more stable
    • multi-interface shoe hosts many accessories including microphones, lights, XLR input adapters, and the optional Wi-Fi module
    • Intelligent Auto mode has 180 scene presets for easy, no-worry shooting
    • autofocus tracking locks onto a moving subject and keeps the subject in focus
    • Golf Shot mode captures a few seconds of motion as a sequence of up to 22 still images for in-depth analysis
    • Cinema Tone presets allow extra control over your images for a nostalgic, filmlike quality
    • Highlight Playback mode identifies key scenes from your shoot and creates a short movie complete with music and transitions
    Connections, Supplied Accessories and Dimensions:
    • built-in high-speed USB cable for video transfer to a computer
    • external microphone input (stereo minijack)
    • dedicated headphone output (stereo minijack)
    • micro HDMI output (cable included) for watching your videos on an HDTV
    • includes AC adapter/charger and rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-FV50)
    • includes USB connecting cable
    • includes lens hood
    • includes operating guide, remote, and software DVD
    • 3-1/2"W x 3-3/8"H x 5-7/16"D
    • weight: 23.8 oz. with supplied battery
    • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

    Love the camera. Easy to use and the picture quality is fantastic. I love not having to worry about tapes and the memory size is terrific. Ordered from Crutchfield on a Monday night at 8pm and had the camera by Wednesday afternoon.

    Harlan, New York, NY

    What's in the Box:

    • High definition digital camcorder (black)
    • RMT-835 Wireless remote control
    • CR2025 Lithium battery (installed in remote)
    • NP-FV50 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (6.8V/7.0Wh/1030mAh)
    • AC-L200D AC adapter with attached 67" DC output cord (DC output: 8.4V/1.7A)
    • 40" AC power cord
    • 40" USB extension cable (Male Type A USB on one end and female Type A USB on other end)
    • 39" HDMI cable (full-sized HDMI on one end and micro-HDMI on other end)
    • Step-down Ring
    • Lens Hood
    • Wind Screen
    • Operating Guide (Eng)
    • Operating Guide (Span)
    • Limited Warranty (US)
    • Consumer 1 Year Warranty (Canada)
    • Online registration sheet
    • Accessories brochure
    • How to Use the Wi-Fi Function
    • Advisory regarding projecting images

    Featured Video:


    Sony HDR-PJ790V Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (3 Reviews)


    WEEKEND FANATIC from Long Island , N.Y. on 4/12/2014

    Extremely happy with my PJ790v, All the bells and whistles. I returned the new CX900 because of fringing and poor over quality when shooting anything moving quickly, The floating lens is amazing and the crisp detail is superb.Tons of Prosumer features. I think Sony pulled this camera after one year because the price point and options were affecting the profit margin. I love this camera ,beats all the 2014 line up hands down lenses up :)

    Pros: Lens, 24mp,Still Shots,size of camera, elevated sound mic off body, 96 gig hard drive plus option to for SD card.

    Cons: No cons except that I would have liked a time lapse/Star night feature.

    Sony HDR-PJ790V Not as Good As I Hoped

    Joe from Bethlehem, Pa on 8/8/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    After reading reviews on the Sony cam it sounded impressive.....until I used it. I'm very disappointed with just about every aspect of it....the picture quality, both camera and video, and the sound quality as well....5.1 sound?? Really?? What's really a bummer is Sony....the famous Japanese company that makes fine quality products.....made in CHINA!!! I think that says a lot about the product and were Sony is headed.

    Pros: Hmmmm...the name??

    Cons: A lot.....from the touch screen usability to the overall ease of use of the camera. Might be sending it back.....

    Outstanding camera

    Harlan from New York, NY on 4/4/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Love the camera. Easy to use and the picture quality is fantastic. I love not having to worry about tapes and the memory size is terrific. Ordered from Crutchfield on a Monday night at 8pm and had the camera by Wednesday afternoon.

    Pros: Picture quality, size

    Cons: price


    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    LCD Screen Size (inches) 3.0
    Viewfinder Yes
    Total Pixel Count 6,650,000
    Effective Pixel Count for Video 6,140,000
    4K Video ---
    High-Definition Yes
    Aspect Ratio 16:9, 4:3
    Manual Focusing Yes
    Filter Diameter 37mm
    Optical Zoom 10 (17ext)x
    Digital Zoom 7 x
    Night Imaging NightShot
    Image Stabilization Optical
    Built-in Video Light Yes
    Built-in Memory 96GB Flash Memory
    Max Recording Time w/ Included Battery 130 min
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Effective Pixel Count for Stills 6,140,000
    Built-in Photo Flash Yes
    Still Image Aspect Ratios 16:9, 4:3
    Inputs and Outputs
    USB Port 2.0 High Speed
    HDMI Output Micro
    Mic Input 3.5mm
    Weight With Battery (ounces) 23.8
    Width (inches) 3-1/2
    Height (inches) 3-3/8
    Depth (inches) 5-7/16
    Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Labor Warranty 90 days
    Image Sensor Warranty 1 Year

    Product Research

    General Features
    Video Camcorder Features
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Battery Information
    Input and Output Notes

    General Features

    Built-in Projector: The Sony HDR-PJ790V allows you to share your movies or photos virtually anywhere with its built-in high contrast projector. The 35-lumen DLP projector is built into the LCD panel, and is powerful enough to project a 100" diagonal screen. It has an output resolution of 640 x 360, and a throw distance of 1.6' and over. The camcorder features an HDMI input for connecting an external device to project photos and videos. With a fully charged battery pack, the PJ790V can project continuously for about 95 minutes.

    Memory Card Slot: The HDR-PJ790V Full HD camcorder can record video and photos onto Memory Stick PRO Duo and PRO-HG Duo cards up to 32 GB in capacity, as well as Class 4 or faster SD, SDHC, and SDXC Memory Cards up to 64 GB.

    Built-in Memory: In addition to memory cards, you can record movies and photos onto the camcorder's 96 GB built-in flash memory. Because a portion of the flash memory is used for system management, map, and/or application files, the actual usable media capacity is approximately 90.6 GB. The built-in memory can store 36-1/2 hours of high-definition video (LP mode), or 7-1/2 hours of Full HD 1080p video (PS mode).

    3.0" LCD Touch Screen: The 3.0" Xtra Fine LCD touch screen provides excellent viewing clarity with improved resolution. The 921,600 pixel (1920 x 480) LCD screen rotates up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles providing sharp and detailed images for monitoring or playback. You can navigate through the menu system by touching the icons on the screen. The LCD also features an adjustable brightness and color level. You can also power on this camcorder by simply opening its LCD display.

    Viewfinder: In addition to the 3.0" LCD touch screen, the camcorder includes a separate 0.27", 201,000-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF). The viewfinder features a diopter adjustment to allow you to set the viewfinder to your personal eyesight. Using the viewfinder instead of the LCD conserves battery power.

    Imaging Device: The HDR-PJ790V features an advanced 1/2.88" (6.3mm) back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS imaging sensor with 6,650,000 gross pixels. The 6,140,000 effective video pixels provide excellent detail and clarity. The unique image processing system of Sony's BIONZ allows still image resolution equivalent to a maximum of 24.1 megapixels (6544 x 3680).

    Carl Zeiss Lens: The camcorder features a high-quality, wide angle Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* (T-star) lens. The wide angle 26mm lens lets you shoot expansive landscapes as well as large group shots.

    Lens Hood/Step Down Ring: The camcorder comes with a lens hood to block out unwanted light and prevent lens flare. In addition, the included Step Down Ring lets you attach optical filters with a diameter of 37mm.

    Zoom: The camcorder's maximum optical zoom depends upon the SteadyShot setting. With the setting at Active, the optical zoom is 10x. If SteadyShot is set to Active the maximum optical zoom is 17x (Extended Zoom). Combined with the digital zoom, the total zoom capability is 120x. Because the digital zoom processes the image digitally, the picture quality deteriorates the more you zoom in. The power zoom lever can be moved slightly for a slow zoom, or moved further for a faster zoom.

    Global Positioning System: The PJ790V is equipped with a built-in GPS which receives location data from any of the 24 GPS satellites located above the earth and records it onto your movies and photos. You can record location information on movies or photos, and use the data to display a map of your current location. The Map View function lets you play movies and photos by searching for them on a map. The camcorder can use the GPS data to automatically set the clock and the time zone.

    Balanced Optical SteadyShot: Standard SteadyShot compensates for camera shake by shifting the lens. On the PJ790V, Balanced Optical SteadyShot moves the entire optical block at once, which maintains the integrity of the optical path, and improves shake reduction by 13x. You can choose from Standard and Active modes.

    Multi-Interface Shoe: The top-mounted Multi-Interface Shoe lets you quickly and easily attach a wide assortment of accessories, including video lights and microphones. With the optional ADP-WL1M1 Wi-Fi Adapter, you can turn your smartphone or tablet into a remote control for the camcorder, or instantly share your videos and photos online using your smartphone or tablet.

    Wireless Remote Commander: The PJ790V includes the RMT-835 Wireless Remote Commander, which can be helpful when projecting recorded videos and still images from the camcorder. You can also operate the camcorder's record and playback functions from a distance.

    Manual Control: On the front of the camcorder is a rotary dial that allows you to make adjustments to assigned menu items. You can manually control focus, exposure, iris, shutter speed, AE shift, or white balance shift.

    NightShot: The NightShot function lets you record video in total darkness (0 Lux) using infrared light emitted from the camcorder.

    Face Detection: The camcorder's Face Detection technology recognizes faces and optimizes the camera settings for videos and still photos. Videos and photos recorded using Face Detection are indexed according to the faces detected in each scene. This allows you to search for what you want by selecting the faces displayed in the index.

    Focus Modes: The Sony Handycam HDR-PJ790V features Auto Focus and Manual Focus modes. When using Auto Focus, you can choose to focus on a subject in the center of the screen. For more difficult focusing situations, you can manually adjust the focus of the camcorder.

    Scene Selection Modes: The following Scene Selection modes are available to suit your specific shooting requirements: Auto, Night Scene, Sunrise & Sunset, Fireworks, Landscape, Portrait, Spotlight, Beach, and Snow.

    White Balance Adjustment: Sets the color balance to the brightness of the recording environment. Your choices are:

    • Auto: The white balance is adjusted automatically.
    • Outdoor: The white balance is adjusted for the following conditions: Outdoors, night views, neon signs and fireworks, sunrise, sunsets, under daylight fluorescent lamps.
    • Indoor: The white balance is adjusted for the following conditions: Indoors, party scenes and studios where lighting conditions change quickly, and under the video lamps or incandescent-like color lamps.
    • One Push: The white balance will be adjusted according to the present ambient light.

    Auto Back Light: You can use the Auto Back Light function to adjust the exposure for backlit subjects.

    Guide Frame: The Guide Frame displays a frame and grid around your subject and allows you to check the horizontal and vertical position.

    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. You can also display the camera settings when recording movies or photos.

    Protect: You can protect movies and photos to avoid deleting them by mistake.

    Power On By LCD: You can set the camcorder to automatically power on when you open the LCD, and turn off when you close the LCD.

    Video Camcorder Features

    Video Recording: The HDR-PJ790V records High Definition video in 16:9 aspect ratio with 5 image sizes to choose from. A Standard Definition recording mode is also available. You can choose from the following recording modes:

    Image Quality Bit Rate Pixels Aspect Ratio
    High Definition
    PS 28 Mbps 1920 x 1080/60p 16:9
    FX 24 Mbps 1920 x 1080/60i or
    1920 x 1080/24p
    FH 17 Mbps 1920 x 1080/60i or
    1920 x 1080/24p
    HQ 9 Mbps 1440 x 1080/60i 16:9
    LP 5 Mbps 1440 x 1080/60i 16:9
    Standard Definition
    HQ 9 Mbps 720 x 480 16:9, 4:3
    MP4   1280 x 720/30p 16:9

    5.1-ch Surround Mic: The PJ790V has a top-mounted 5.1-channel surround microphone to record sounds coming from all directions. The supplied windscreen cuts the amount of background noise and wind noise by up to 90%.

    Closer Voice: When the Closer Voice function is turned on, the camcorder detects faces and records the voices clearly. This function cannot be activated when using an optional external mic.

    Auto Wind NR: The camcorder features an Auto Wind Noise Reduction setting which reduces noise and interference caused by wind passing over the microphones. With the Wind NR activated, you'll get clearer, more enjoyable audio.

    Clear Phase Speakers: The PJ790V is equipped with Clear Phase stereo speakers positioned just below the LCD screen. The speakers produce dynamic, true-to-life sound for your videos.

    Divide Movies: The Divide Movies feature allows you to divide movies on the inserted memory card. You cannot restore movies once they are divided.

    Digital Still Camera Features

    Digital Still Image Recording: The HDR-PJ790V can record still images on a Memory Stick PRO Duo, PRO-HG Duo, SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card (sold separately), or the built-in 96 GB flash memory. Still images can be recorded with the camcorder in the either Still Image or Movie mode (Dual Capture). Still images are recorded in the following resolutions, depending upon the selected aspect ratio:

    • 6544 x 3680 (16:9)
    • 4912 x 3680 (4:3)
    • 4672 x 2628 (16:9)
    • 2592 x 1944 (4:3)
    • 1920 x 1080 (16:9)
    • 640 x 480 (4:3)

    Capturing Still Images From Video: You can capture still images from recorded video. The image size is fixed depending upon the aspect ratio of the movie: 1920 x 1080, 640 x 360, or 640 x 480. The recording date and time of the captured photos is the same as the recording date and time of the movie. If there is no data code on the movie, the recording date and time will be the date/time you captured the photo from the video.

    Golf Shot: You can record a sequence of up to 22 still photos which can be viewed or printed individually, or as a composite sequence shot. This feature is perfect for analyzing a person's golf swing, tennis serve, or other fast action.

    Self Timer: This feature allows you to record a still image about 10 seconds after the "Photo" button is depressed.

    Slide Show: You can automatically play back images stored on the memory card in a slide-show fashion.

    Battery Information

    Battery: This unit comes with an NP-FV50 InfoLithium battery (6.8 Volts, 1030 mAh). 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. The battery can be charged in the camera via USB in approximately 280 minutes. You can also charge the battery in about 155 minutes using the supplied AC adapter (AC-L200D). The HDR-PJ790V is compatible with the following Sony InfoLithium V-series batteries: NP-FV100 (3900 mAh), and NP-FV70 (2060 mAh).

    Auto Shut Off: When powered by the battery the camcorder can be set to turn off automatically if not used for 5 minutes.

    Input and Output Notes

    HDMI Out: The PJ790V is equipped with a micro-HDMI (Type D) output for connecting your camcorder to an HDTV. A 39" HDMI cable is included with the camcorder. You can set the HDMI output resolution to 1080p/480p, 1080i/480i, 720p/480p, 480p, or 480i, depending upon the capability of the TV's input. The Auto setting will output the signal according to the TV's capability. When connecting the camcorder to a Bravia Sync-compatible TV via HDMI, you can control play back on the camcorder by aiming the TV's Remote Commander at the TV.

    Projector (HDMI) In: In addition to the HDMI output, the PJ790V has a micro HDMI input that allows you to connect an external device that has an HDMI output, and use the camcorder's projector to view photos and videos. This allows you to project content from your smartphone, laptop, tablet, or other HDMI-equipped device.

    Multi Connector: The camcorder features a proprietary Multi Connector for use with the optional VMC-15MR2 AV connecting cable for displaying the camcorder's contents on your non-HD television. You can change the aspect ratio of the camcorder's video output from 16:9 or 4:3 according to the screen aspect ratio of your TV. You can also choose to display the camcorder's information, such as the time code on the screen of your TV during playback from the camcorder. The optional VMC-15MR2 AV cable has a proprietary plug on one end and male stereo RCA audio and RCA composite video connections on the other end.

    Built-in USB: The camcorder has a built-in male USB Type A plug and a 40" USB extension cable (Type A USB female-to-Type A USB male) for connecting to a PC. Connecting to a PC via USB allows you to download still images and video files on the memory card. You can edit and save your video files onto your computer, then make DVDs of them using the downloadable PlayMemories Home software.

    Microphone Input: The PJ790V has a 3.5mm microphone input that allows you to connect an optional stereo microphone, such as the ECM-AW3. Recorded audio is greatly improved when an external microphone is used, compared to the built-in microphones.

    Headphone Jack: The camcorder features a 3.5mm headphone jack for monitoring the audio of your videos as you shoot them or play them back. Plugging in headphones will mute the camcorder's built-in speakers.

    DC In Jack: The DC In Jack is for use with the supplied AC-L200C AC adapter.


    Downloadable Software: The camcorder has no built-in software for importing images and video from the camcorder to your computer. Instead, the PlayMemories Home software can be downloaded directly to your computer via the Internet (URL provided in the supplied Operating Guide). With PlayMemories Home, you can:

    • Import images from your camcorder
    • View images on a calendar
    • Share images on "PlayMemories Online"
    • Upload images to network services, such as Facebook and YouTube
    • Create a disc

    Compatible Operating Systems: PlayMemories Home is compatible with the following Windows Operating Systems: Windows 8, Windows 7 (SP1), Windows Vista¹ (SP2), Windows XP² (SP3)

    ¹ Starter (Edition) is not supported
    ² 64-bit editions and Starter (Edition) are not supported. Windows Image Mastering API (IMAPI) Ver.2.0 or newer is required to use disc creation function, etc.

    Macintosh: PlayMemories Home software is not supported with Mac computers. You should use the appropriate software on your Mac to import images from the camcorder to your Mac and play them.

    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 verify what’s in the box, 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.

    Staff Reviews

    Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

    Sony's projector camcorders offer sophisticated manual and automatic functions, plus a built-in projector so you can see your shots without a monitor.

    What are the Labs?