Video QualityFor a small, lower-priced consumer camcorder, the Sony CX110 has an adequate picture. It sports a Carl Zeiss lens and is capable of recording what Sony calls “Full HD 1080,” which is 1440 x 1080 lines of resolution interpolated to be viewed as 1920 x 1080/60i. A 1080p image is no doubt better than a 1080i image, but just five years ago, a 1080i camcorder at this price would have been a fantasy.
In HD mode, the image is compressed using the MPEG4 AVC/H.264 codec, which is a powerful codec, but when the images are viewed on large 1080p HDTV, you can see that the image has been highly compressed with various degrees of artifacts. The picture quality is acceptable for web media and should be clean enough for the average home user. For those looking for something more robust, look toward higher-end Sony camcorders.
Low-Light Video QualityThe CX110 performs very well in low-light situations. When I tested the camera in a dark room with a distant, singular light source, the image quality had an almost filmic effect with one side of the subject’s face still lit while the other side of the face blended into the shadows. The low light feature, which essentially boosts the gain, was very effective in creating usable images in extremely dark situations.
Ease of UseConsumers who just want to pick up a camcorder and start shooting will be at home with the CX110. As soon as you flip open the LCD screen, the camcorder powers up in auto shooting mode. The white balance, audio levels, exposure and focus are all handled automatically.
Special FeaturesAt first glance, the camcorder appears to do point and shoot tasks only, but Sony hides most of the camera’s controls in its touch-sensitive LCD screen. Touching anywhere on the screen once will activate the menu and provide access for some of the more robust controls. Among these features is “face detection,” which is already enabled in auto mode. A box will illuminate around any face in the LCD screen, and the camera operator need only touch the screen to make the camera focus upon what’s in the box. I found that feature incredibly useful when shooting with auto-focus activated.
The camcorder also has the ability to set manual focus, but because it is hidden away within several menus on the LCD touch screen, it is not terribly useful in a real-world scenario beyond locking focus for a stationary shot.
Another interesting feature was the spot meter and exposure control. Again, because it is deeply embedded within the touch screen menus, it’s not very functional for run-and-gun-type shooting, but will suffice for a stationary shot. In addition, the camcorder does also offer both preset and manual white balance.