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First Impressions: Sony HDR-TG1.

“The World’s Smallest and lightest High Definition Camcorder”. 


I bought the Sony HDR-TG1 (TG3 in Europe). My first impression being that it is not just small; it is pretty, sleek and easy to use. Its body made with pure Titanium and Premium Hard Coating, makes it resistant to scratches and fingerprints. The HDR-TG1 is relatively clutter-free with just one record button and a zoom ring. Most of the menu options are conveniently found on the 2.7 inch LCD touch screen.


Sony HDR-TG1

Sony HDR-TG1 Highlights:

Record 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution:  To explain the different size I wil compare to the size of differente screen resolutions.

  • YouTube: 320 x 240 resolution.
  • Vimeo 1280 x 720 resolution.
  • 13” MacBook Air: 1280 x 800 resolution.
  • 15” MacBook Pro: 1440 x 900 resolution.
  • 17” MacBook Pro: 1680 x 1050 resolution.
  • 63” Flat Screen TV:  1920 x 1080 resolution.

Face Detection for Video and Photos: Up to 8 faces reconized anywhere in the frame and automatically controls focus, exposure, and color. It is very impressinve to see on the LCD screen the little frames searching for the faces and automatically controls focus, exposer and color.
2.3 Megapixel video footage and 4.0 megapixel still images.




The 2.7-inch Wide (16:9) LCD screen is big enough to give an excellent resolution and clarity even with a lot of sun light. The rotation of the display offers mutiple viewing angles.

Stabilization System controls skakes and vibration: Unfortunatly I cannot compare it to an other device’s stabilization system, since this is my first camcorder.

10x Optical Zoom & 20x Digital Zoom: The digital zoom does make the picture a little “grainny” especialy at night which I guess, is normal.

The built-in zoom microphone helps reducing the suround noise and focuses audio recording on the subject. I wish I knew the way to reduce the wind noise during the recording.


Sony HDR-TG1 Speakers


Picture Motion Browser Software: The sofware does not work with Mac OS X. No real need for it anyway because Mac supplied software that makes it easier to upload, organize, search, and edit video (iMovie) and for still images (iPhoto). IMovie works fine. However, I find it too long to upload the movies form the HDR-TG1.

iPhoto is not 100% compatible: it is mopssible to delete the stil pictures after uploading them on the Mac.


My first editing experience was not too bad. The editing of the movie I did about Ralph Brancacci's Y Project in Cambridge (Ma) can be improved. With practice, it will become better. I find the quality of the image very good even  after being published on vimeo.com. What do you think?


The camcorder comes with a little stand. Placing the camcorder on the station provides quick connections, to the computer for editing or sharing, or to the TV for direct viewing, while the battery charges at the same time. 




Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lense is a guarantee of quality which delivers an excellent image.


Sony HDR-TG1 Lense

A case, a HDMI cable (to connect the cam to the HD-TV and a Memory Stick Duo media (4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo media) are included.

Sony HDR-TG1 Case

My Impressions:

As a casual videographer (this is my first camcorder) I don’t like to change the original setting to start recording.  Once I start recording video, I was stunned by how pictures are wonderfully shown on the little LCD. The Image Stabilization (IS) is amazingly stunning and precise whether or not you are zooming. The movie I did of my nephew Devin (Surfing in Narragansett) is done from the beach with a lot of zooming. The quality is very good considering my experience in filming.


Sony HDR-TG1 Quick On

When the camcorder is turned off it usually take too long to turn it on to start filming. Missing an important scene can be frustrating. With the 'Quick On' feature, the touch of a single button places that camcorder in Sleep mode. Another push instantly wakes the camcorder to start filming. This feature is the best one for the “none-pro” l am.

While recording video in High Definition I like to the ability to capture still images. The quality of the still image is not the best (especially with the flash mode). It certainly does not replace a good camera.


Sony HDR-TG1 Travel Kit


For the battery I bought an extra battery with the travel kit. I did not want to carry the station with me while traveling. I regret the extra expense ($100), but there is no other way to charge the battery if you don’t have the Handycam’s Station. 

I regret that there is no optional Wide Angle lenses and the Interface User made by Sony is not compatble with a Mac. In the futur Apple will certainly update iPhoto to be 100% compatible with the Sony HDR-TG1.

iMovie is a great app. to edit the movies. I was able to edit my first one in a very short time and publish it directly on YouTube. I published it on vimeo.com to keep the HD resolution. The result is pretty amazing. Flickr only allows you to upload a short movie (less than 90 seconds). This is not bad considering the enormous number of videos out-here and the limited time we have to watch them. 90 seconds obliges you to go directly to the essentials. 

Would you spend $1,000 on a video camcorder?


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Read about Mac Compatibility

UPDATE: Sony Customer Service