Looking for experiences with Sony HDR-CX625 (vs. Nikon D3300)

Elthuleion

Commendable
Oct 29, 2016
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Hello, long time lurker, first time asker here.

I've been looking into getting a camera for vlogging/light reporting (strictly online). I'm planning on using a Videomic Pro, so I need a mic input and a shoe. My research left me with two options (within my starting budget): a Sony HDR-CX625 or a Nikon D3300. I already own a Nikon DSLR (plus kit lenses and a 50mm/1.8f) but it's an older model without mic input or full HD video. It's good for at least another year of photos though.

Currently I'm leaning more towards the Sony because it seems better for on-the-go reporting. The D3300 still seems quite slow and loud in autofocusing. Bad autofocus sounds like a dealbreaker for a dynamic environment. Also, I'm scared even an external mic would pick up the noise. And I haven't got the funds to buy that new silent lens. If it was just for static vlogging the DSLR would win, but now I'm not so sure.

Sadly enough I can't seem to find any extensive reviews on the CX625. Or well, I have, but they're in Russian, which isn't much help and makes me crave vodka. I have found some short reviews that mention issues with the image quality, although the test clips I've seen on YouTube look good enough. I did notice plenty of chromatic aberration at the higher zoom levels, but that's to be expected. Besides, I'm not planning to use extreme zooming that much. My main concern with the CX625 is the image quality indoors, since I haven't found much clips of that. My house is pretty bright (and has plenty of additional lighting) but I'm wondering how it will fare in the average indoor location (again, in case of on-the-go reporting).

So, to summarize: How much grain does the CX625 pick up inside your average building/How bad is the autofocus on the D3300? Alternative camcorder options are also welcome (with mic input and shoe). I know other DSLRs do video better than Nikon, but buying into an entire new brand seems a bit silly at this point.

Thanks in advance!
 

kenrivers

Splendid
Moderator
I have owned three different Sony camcorders going back the Hi8 (8mm tape) days. I will attest that the ones I have used have not done well with low-light performance. Have you considered any of the camcorder offerings from Canon?
What is the most you are willing to spend for a new camera or camcorder? Would you consider a refurbished camera or camcorder?
 

Elthuleion

Commendable
Oct 29, 2016
3
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1,510
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I did look into Canon, but the only models that offer both a mic input and a shoe seem to start at 750 euro. The bracket I'm currently in is +/- 400 (can get the CX625 for 377). Might boot it up to 500 euro, but there'd have to be a good reason (like a reasonable jump in low-light performance). Never tried company refurbished, but I don't have anything against it per se. There aren't many brands that seem to offer refurbished over here though (Nikon does). I did look into the Panasonic HC-V770 as well, but the specs are pretty much the same as the CX625 (except it's more expensive).
 

kenrivers

Splendid
Moderator
You could consider the Canon 32GB VIXIA HF R72 for 439.60 Euros ($399.99 USD) - assuming the conversion rate is right. It has a larger sensor (1/4.85") than the Sony CX625 (1/5.8") which should give you better low-light performance. The HF R72 does have a mic input and a headphone jack as well.
 

Elthuleion

Commendable
Oct 29, 2016
3
0
1,510
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The conversion is backwards, so it would be even cheaper. Sadly enough the stock seems to have dried up on our side and second hand is turning up little as well.

However, I did take another look at the Panasonic, trying to figure out where the extra cost is coming from. Turns out I can't read or do basic math after 10pm; the Panasonic has a 1/2.3" BMOS sensor (vs the 1/5.8" CMOS Sony). So unless I'm missing something, this might be my best option for better low-light performance. The only thing I don't like about it, is that the shoe is on an adapter at the back of the camera, so the VideoMic Pro would be hovering over the zoom button. There seems to be plenty of clearance though and I'm pretty sure it's in the mic's dead zone, but I'm a worrywart. So if anyone has insight on that, feel free to share ^^ You also lose 10x optical zoom, but the chromatic aberration was horrible past 20x on the Sony (how often do you need more than 10x anyway). The rest just seems like bells and whistles. Would you mind giving the CX625 and Panasonic HC-V770 specs a quick look to see if I'm missing any major downsides? Also, it's been ages since I used Pana so I have no clue about their opticals quality.
 

kenrivers

Splendid
Moderator
After viewing the specs I agree the Panasonic would be a better choice. The larger sensor will make a difference in low-light performance. Worse comes to worse there are adapters that mount between the camcorder and the tripod on which you can mount the microphone and thus remove it from just above the zoom switch.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/images1000x1000/General_Brand_Right_Angle_Bracket_with_131401.jpg

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/images2500x2500/Sunpak_VLB_GRIP_Action_Video_Grip_854195.jpg
 
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