This Sony HDR-CX405 Handycam camera is a great product. The price is unbelievable for what you get. This is Sony, it's basically all I buy. This is a very basic camera without any bells and whistles.
The picture quality is very good during daylight and normal bright conditions. At night and during dark scenes however, it lacks in its ability to deliver a quality image without a lot of image noise. It does have a low-light mode that does help a little.
The camera is very lightweight. Some people think that it is cheaply built. But there are advantages to going towards an ultra-light camera. It is certainly easier to hold up in the air with your arms for longer periods of time than traditional cameras that have some weight to them. However, parts on the camera probably tend to break much more easily. For me, there is a little plastic flap that covers where the memory card goes and I have managed to leave that open, while the screen slammed shut and bent the hinges on the little flap. It still works and didn't break, but it is bent now but it still closes properly and completely. The other side of the camera has a smaller plastic flap that covers a single input. That little plastic cover flap gets snagged on my hand often, when I put my hand up through the hand-strap to hold the camera properly. It won't last too long and will no doubt break at some point, especially when I'm grabbing my camera as I'm going to film another viral video. They should have made the plastic cover to have the hinge on the opposite side or something. Poor design on the plastic flap covers.
The view-screen is not touch-screen, but instead you will use a tiny joystick to move the cursor around on the screen and you press the center of the joystick to make selections.
It has a built-in speaker with volume control that allows you to watch back your recorded video while being able to listen to it too.
The screen flips out from the camera. The screen can then be rotated so that the person that the camera is recording can see themselves on the screen at the same time. Perfect for recording video selfies or taking selfie photos too.
The menus could be constructed better and might take a little getting accustomed to before you feel comfortable knowing where all of the options are located. Personally, I always use Sony products so there is hardly a learning curve for me.
I recommend changing the recording to the highest quality possible, which is at 60 full frames per second. Go in to the menu. Go: "Image Quality / Size". Select "Frame Rate". Select "60p" then click "Next". Now click "OK" to save setting. Now you are set to the highest quality of video recording. Note that when it is set to this highest quality, that you cannot press the "Photo" button that is on top of the camera (it sits right up against the zoom lever), while you are video recording. If you do have the video quality set to a lower setting, it is possible to press the photo button which takes a photo while simultaneously recording video. But personally, I want nothing less than the most premium video quality possible, and will sacrifice all else to do so.
There is a short USB cord that you cannot remove from the camera. This is a Sony standard and it is just amazing. You can use that USB cord to plug in to any USB charger and it will charge the camera. You can also use the embedded USB cord to plug in to your computer (or easily to any other computer wherever you are) to charge the camera and to transfer images and videos to the computer for long-term storage, editing, and sharing to all of your friends and family on your favorite social media sites.
This camera has a micro-SD memory card slot. I have issues with it not inserting properly sometimes and the camera tells me to "Reinsert the memory card". I comply, and it usually works after trying once or twice. I found that a good trick seems to be to turn the camera over so that it is upside-down and then insert the memory card in to the slot firmly.
It is so lightweight, that you can use a rope that has a clip where you can wear the rope around your neck, allowing the camera to hang as if a pendant on a necklace. I have had this before with my previous Sony camera that was much heavier and it worked well.
This camera uses the very exact same battery as does my tiny Sony Actioncam (Sony's version of a GoPro) and consequently, I now have an extra battery for either camera. The batteries are very slim and lightweight. Great for packing many with you and you won't even notice.
It has a great playback feature that will automatically mix clips from your videos from the day and it will create a final edited video for you to watch on the screen, and even allows you to save it for later so you can transfer and watch it on your computer.
The zoom is very good. It says it is 60x optical zoom. Do not turn on digital zoom (on any camera, ever) as that distorts the image and is just horrible. Friends don't let friends use digital zoom. The higher the optical zoom number, the better. Don't be fooled by a high digital zoom number cause the higher the digital zoom number, the absolute worse the image will be (totally grainy and blocky and just ugly).
I have a 32 GB memory card on board this camera and that gives me 2 hours 38 minutes of video recording at the highest quality.
It records in stereo and it does not have any type of microphone input jacks, as it is just a very basic video camera.
It has a standard tripod mounting screw hole that allows you to attach it to a standard tripod, monopod, or other attachments.
It has a flip-switch near the lens that will open and close the lens cover. It is not a powered lens cover and does not open and close automatically, so be sure to remember to switch it closed after each use to prevent dirt and scratches to your lens. The camera will remind you that the lens cover is still closed, if you forget to open it up before starting to record video.
I paid $179 for this Sony HDR-CX405 camera in April 2017 from Best Buy Honolulu.
I don't expect this camera to be available for very long as I think it will soon be a discontinued item. This camera for this price range will be replaced be the next camera in the line.
This camera should provide you a few years of service at a minimum and even longer if you take care of it.