I replaced a 6 year old Sony HDR-CX160 camcorder and had paid $450 for it in 2011 through Costco. It replaced a Sony D8 camcorder and a previous Sony Hi8 camcorder which was the first camcorder I purchased about 25 years ago. The CX160 was a great compact HD camcorder, 3” touchscreen, smile detection, usb cord in the strap, etc. Very similar to the current Sony CX455 except for its few added features over the years . . . batteries are even compatible including the CX675 so got to reuse those, The CX160 was a great camera, many recording hours, a trip to Spain, and multiple drops survived. Eventually the usb plug cable where it attached to the camera wore out as I would use it to charge, instead of the adapter that came with it, so take care when using the usb to charge though Sony sells the adapter if you want to go that route. After multiple drops, the start/stop switch broke off and I would have to use the onscreen record button. Finally, this last drop did the camera in by knocking an internal lens loose, so it will no longer focus . . . time for a new camera.
I considered taking the leap to Sony’s consumer 4K, but they were a much larger and heavier camcorder. For home videos, HD works more than fine for me and I became spoiled with the CX160’s light weight and small size and in my opinion, HD is currently easier to handle and store (vs 4K), and easily burns to blu-ray.
So why did I choose the CX675 over the CX455? Having had some type of camcorder for 25 years for comparison, the “Balanced Optical SteadyShot” hands down is awesome! Yes, the CX455 has the Optical SteadyShot, but so did my CX160. When my children were younger, it was fun following them around or zooming in during sporting or performance events. Each time, you would get the “shakiness” which I accepted as par for the course. The “Balanced” takes out that shakiness and the video looks so much better (see the side/side comparison video on Sony’s website and videos folks have uploaded on youtube). Yes the “balanced” look is legit and does not hurt the quality of the image. When you check out the camcorder in person, it’s cool watching the lens in motion - it actually moves. Is it worth the $200 price difference and the slight increase in size/bulk as compared to my CX160 or CX455? Yep, totally worth that investment and slight size increase which I have noticed has not been a big deal for me though it was an initial con- and you get an accessory shoe to boot - though I admittedly never used one, even on my Hi8 and D8 camcorders.
Be sure to get a 46 mm UV protection filter, it screws right on the lens. It helps protect the auto lens cover which I have messed up on occasion with my CX160 and have had to delicately pop it back into place. Every once in awhile you might see light glare on this filter, it you do, just take it off and replace it when you are done.
There have been comments about the picture quality having a greenish hue to it, if you experience this, which I did, you just need to to go into the settings and check your different white balances, then it will be fine. Some comments have been about the touch screen, there’s a calibration setting you can run and i think the touchscreen works fine.
Finally a favorite “new” feature for me is the dual video recording mode that captures both AVCHD and MP4. This allows you to transfer very quickly the smaller MP4 file container via a WiFi direct connection (no router needed) to a smart phone. Per specs it appears it might be easier to do on an Android, but still works well on my iPhone 7. Some reviews say they had issues setting up this ability with the Sony PlayMemories App, but I was patient and learned how to do it correctly and now I can do this slick transfer in less than a minute and post, email, drop, or text a video clip, no computer needed. You can also use your app to control the camcorder and use your phone as a view finder, again, no wifi router needed, it’s a direct wireless connection. App works great, only wish you could “toggle” between camera control and video/picture transfers, but no big deal.
For those who are looking at camcorders vs recording on smartphones, there is a huge quality and functionality difference. I still use my phone on occasion, but love the versatility and quality of a good consumer camcorder, especially this one. You won’t regret it. One of my children’s favorite things to do is to watch themselves and others from years past on the big screen with great audio and these camcorders make that possible and easy to do.
Overall, very satisfied and happy with my purchase.