Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5 1080p HD camera review

The Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5 is a pocket HD camcorder with an impressive lineup of features (on paper at least). Inside the camera is a sensor capable of 5MP photos, 1080P “full HD” video, SD(HC) and Memory Stick Duo card support, one-touch uploads and a built in USB connector.

The Bloggie is Sony’s answer to the huge lineup of pocket HD camcorders that have invaded the market in recent years – a market that Sony used to dominate with their Camcorders.

The Sony Bloggie PM5 manages to stand out in the busy pocket camera market thanks to several neat innovations – its first (and easiest to notice) is a swiveling lens. Opening the lens also turns the camera on, which makes it easy to take some spur of the moment video clips.Controls and options

Controls on the Sony Bloggie are aplenty – you get a joystick for menu controls, play and menu selector buttons, a video and photo button and a power button, for when you want to do playback without opening the lens. All these buttons are in line with the long list of features found on the camera – while some pocket HD camcorders may only offer the most basic of options, the Sony Bloggie adds features like resolution selection, various playback options and of course, the ability to delete recordings, which is handy if you just recorded someone doing something you don’t want any records of.


The Bloggie feels very “Sony-ish” – I’m not sure how to describe it, but even without seeing the brand name, most geeks will be able to determine that it was made by Sony. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just feels a little over-engineered. The battery and card slot are hidden behind a slide/tilt cover which just feels way too much for a budget camera.

Then there is the USB plug – it slides out, and is hidden by a flimsy plastic cover, something I just know will break off sooner or later. In the box is a short USB extension cable, which means you don’t have to have the Bloggie hang off the front of your computer (and risk breaking something).

In the hardware section, I’ve kept the worst for last – the screen. Oh my goodness what a disaster… The screen on the Bloggie only works well if you look directly at it – a few degrees to the left or right, and it is almost impossible to see what you are recording. This suddenly makes the swivel lens so much more convenient, because you’ll need to swivel up or down to keep the screen angled correctly.

Video and photo quality

This part is actually quite positive – both photos and videos are actually pretty decent – but you’ll need to make sure you stick to the middle of the road in quality. The 1080p setting (highest option) may sound great on paper, but in reality, the camera has a hard time keeping up with any kind of fast movement.

Of all the pocket HD cameras I’ve tested, I actually found the photo quality of the Bloggie to be the most impressive – it obviously won’t replace your day to day camera (no flash, no optical zoom), but it sure beats the quality of most mobile phones.

This clip was shot in 720p 30 frames per second – which is (in my opinion) the best setting for the Bloggie. In daylight the camera works surprisingly well – but you don’t want to use it in any dark rooms, as with most cameras in this class, the quality of dark shots is pretty poor.

The camera does feature a digital zoom, but frustratingly, it only works in the photo mode and the 720p video mode – a nice touch to include, but fairly useless in reality.

Final thoughts

There are several reasons to like the Bloggie, and several to dislike it – so lets start with its pros:

The swivel lens is actually pretty cool – it helps with shots above your head, or self portraits. I also like that the camera takes Memory Stick Duo and SD(HD) cards – this provides some flexibility, and allows you to use cards you may already have lying around. A slightly more expensive version of the Bloggie adds a nifty 360 degree lens – which allows you to make wacky fish-eye shots.

The removable battery is definitely a pro but spare batteries are $40. The upside is that the battery pack charges any time you plug it into a USB port, and that its battery life is really, really good.

The price is a tough call – it retails for $149.99, but that is without any memory cards – so expect to invest a bit more. At this price point, there are several other options, including several with 8GB of storage built in.

Now for the cons:

No HDMI output – I feel that this one is a real missed feature – even though you can hook the camera up to your TV for non-HD playback, or pop the memory card in your computer or PS3, the lack of HDMI is just a real shame. Then there is of course the display – I won’t waste any more words on that…

I find it tough to draw any conclusions about the Bloggie MHS-PM5 – I feel like I shouldn’t like it, but it really isn’t a bad camera – it is just a camera with a ton of competition – and some of that competition offers more value for money.

Bottom line:

Despite its shortcomings, I do like the Bloggie – it feels well made, and it doesn’t have the “toy factor” some other cameras suffer from. Bottom line – if you like the pros, go for it, but if the cons are too much to deal with, find something else, you have plenty to chose from.

Daily gear deal- Kodak Zi6 Pocket HD Camcorder for $99 (refurbished)

My daily deal for today is for a camera I reviewed last year – the Kodak Zi6 pocket handheld HD camcorder.

This camera can record video at 720p, and 60 frames per second, which equals “real HD”.

The device has 128MB of built in memory, and an SD(HC) card slot, so you will have to invest a little more in a memory card if you plan to record more than a few minutes of content.

The camera runs off AA batteries, and a charger with 2 AA’s is included. To transfer the video off the Zi6, you simply flip the integrated USB connector out the side, and plug it into your PC. The included software allows for easy transfers to Youtube.

The Kodak Zi6 normally retails for $179, but is currently on sale through Amazon for just $99.99 with free shipping. This low price does mean you’ll be getting a refurbished version of the camera.

Daily deal – Creative Vado HD pocket HD camcorder for $130

Several weeks ago I reviewed the Creative Vado HD camcorder, and was very impressed with its video quality and included accessories.

This $229 camera is well worth its price, but if you are looking for a way to snag one at a (much) lower price – read on!

Amazon is offering the Vado HD for $229.99 with an instant $100 discount when you use promotional code I4PQ9E3S.

Here is how to get the deal – add the Vado HD to your cart (make sure Amazon is the seller, and not a third party). Then at the final stage in the checkout process, add the promotion code in the box on the right.

It’ll take $100 off, and you can get this awesome HD camera shipped for just $129.99.

(Via: Fatwallet)

Product review – Creative Vado HD pocket high definition camcorder

In this product review I’m going to introduce you to the Creative Vado HD pocket camcorder.

The Vado HD is one of a long lineup of pocket camcorders that has recently hit the market. Last year I reviewed one of the first pocket HD camcorders; the Kodak Zi6. Since then, several other manufacturers have released their own product.

Creative is no a newcomer to the consumer electronics market – they have been making audio and video products for ages, and I still have happy memories of owning my first Sound Blaster audio card back in 1989.

As far as camcorders go, the Vado HD is tiny – at just 3.9″ x 2.2″ at just 0.6″ thick and 190 grams, it is one of the smallest on the market.
On the front of the camera is a small protruding lens, and on the rear is where you’ll find its 2″ display, D-Pad control and play/delete buttons. On the side of the Vado HD is an audio/video jack and a mini-HDMI connector hidden behind a plastic dust cover.

On the bottom of the camera is a regular tripod screw port and a flip-out USB connector.

The Vado HD is powered by an internal rechargeable battery pack, rated for up to 6 hours of video recording.

Inside the camera is 8GB of storage space, which is sufficient for about 2 hours of HD+ recordings. The memory is not expandable, so you will need to move clips to your computer when you are in need of more space.

As far as recording quality goes, the Vado HD is quite simply stunning. I’ve used several of these little cameras in the past, but none really produced anything I’d consider worthy of replacing a “real” camcorder. The Vado HD does 3 things I’ve not seen from any other camera in this class:

  • Audio is impressive
  • Low light recordings are actually usable
  • Video quality really looks “high definition”

Audio is actually better than impressive – even when I used the camera in a really tough location (a large stadium with a dolphin show), it picked up all the noises brilliantly. As far as recording in low light goes – it still won’t be a replacement for a camera with night vision, but in a room with just a couple of regular lamps I was able to make a very decent recording.

The camera records video in 720p with the H.264 video codec format. When set to its highest quality setting, you’ll be able to record up to 2 hours in “HD+ and 4 hours in the regular HD format. When set to VGA (low quality), the camera can record up to 8 hours. Zoom is provided through a 2x digital zoom, which I don’t really recommend as it lowers the quality of the clips.

I’ve made several video clips showing the recording quality, and I’m sure you’ll agree that this is quite acceptable for a $230 HD video camera. I’ve seen worse from a $600 DV (non HD) camera.

Creative Vado HD Demo from Scott C on Vimeo (be sure to click the “HD” button).

(Click here for the HD version of the clip, sorry for the poor quality and stuttering, YouTube does not handle HD clips very well).

As you can see – video quality is actually very good, not “professional HD camera” good, but certainly good enough for your vacation video clips.

The Vado HD retail package makes the camera even better. Creative include a Mini HDMI cable and a silicone case as well as a USB extension cable.

The camera charges using USB, so no additional charger is required, though they do sell extra batteries and chargers if you feel you may need some more juice on the road.

Once you have made your recordings, you have several ways to watch them. The first, and easiest is to plug the camera into your TV using the included HDMI cable. Playback over HDMI is of course in HD, and you only need a single cable for video and audio. The second option is what you’ll want to use to archive and edit all your video clips – using your PC.

The first time you plug the Vado HD into your computer, it installs Vado Central, a simple video viewing application. From within Vado Central, you can instantly upload your clips to Youtube, Photobucket or Box.

The best part about Vado Central is that you do not need to install anything on your PC – which means you should be able to use it at the local Internet Cafe, airport lounge PC or restrictive work laptop. Vado Central also has the ability to grab captures of video files and turn them into photos, as the camera itself does not feature still imaging.

If viewing and uploading is not enough, you can also install a basic video editing suite, which allows you to make quick but fairly creative videos in a matter of minutes. The application offers a couple of video effects and the ability to add some background music, but it is not as flexible as a full video editing package. Naturually you can also import and edit the clips in any third party video editing package capable of working with H.264 video files.

The Creative Vado HD costs $229 and is available directly from or your favorite electronics retailer.

Daily deal – Creative Vado HD Pocket Video camera for $200

My daily deal for today is for the Creative Labs Vado HD Pocket Video Camera.

This pocket HD camera shoots in 720p, which results in a resolution of 1280×720, making for very decent HD video clips. Included in the box is a silicone cover, HDMI cable and rechargeable battery.

The camera charges using the built in flip-out USB connector. Controlling the camera is extremely easy, you simply turn it on, and start shooting. You can then view your recordings on an HDMI equipped TV, or on your PC when you transfer them using the included software. Once on your PC, you can also upload the clips to a variety of video sites.

I’ve got a Vado HD in front of me, and will be posting a full review next week, but I can already reveal that it is an extremely impressive little shooter, and produces surprisingly crisp clips with superb audio. The rechargeable battery and included case and cable make it a great bargain.

The camera has 8GB of built in storage, so you do not need to invest in additional memory.

The Vado HD normally retails for $229, but is currently on sale directly from for just $200. That price even includes free shipping!