Pros / Image stabilization is available to steady the effects of shaky hands or a rough environment.
Cons / It has a manual lens cover.
Verdict / The Sony Handycam HDR-CX405 gives you the basic features you need from a camcorder and records in full 1080p high definition.
This camcorder is very similar to the other Sony we tested, the Handycam HDR-CX440, except that it lacks integrated Wi-Fi. It can film in up to 1080p high definition video and has a rotating LCD screen you navigate with a toggle button. Those who find touchscreens cumbersome should enjoy this aspect of this camcorder.
We took this camcorder outside and also shot video inside our labs in varying kinds of light. Seven reviewers watched the footage from every camera and ranked it best to worst, earning this camcorder a D+ for overall video quality. It was ranked second to last by three of the seven people who reviewed the footage. It did, however, receive an A grade for its color balance that was very true to life. For instance, the trees were green but not unnaturally green.
This camcorder has a 30x optical zoom, which is near the bottom of the range of the camcorders we tested – substantially lower than the Panasonic HC-W580 with its 50x optical zoom or the Samsung HMX-F90 with its 52x optical zoom. You’ll want to consider those two cameras if distance filming is important to you. This Sony also has 60x clear image zoom and 350 digital zoom, though image quality isn’t as good.
This camera lacks integrated Wi-Fi as well as editing features, but there are basic features like image stabilization at your fingertips. Like the other camcorders we tested, this model takes still images as well. There is a dual record mode that allows you to shoot video and take still images at the same time, and there’s a dual video mode for recording video simultaneously in two formats.
The accessories that come with this camcorder include the removable battery, an AC adaptor, USB cord and HDMI cable. A short portion of the charging cable is permanently affixed to the camcorder, but is easy to hide by simply sticking inside the hand strap. It’s also lightweight at a mere 7.6 ounces. Some users might like this, but most of the testers in our lab who picked it up were immediately worried it might break and said it felt cheap. It lacks any internal memory as well, so make sure you have an extra microSD card with you so you won’t run out of recording space. The lens cover is manual as well, so you’ll need to open it with the switch on the side of the camcorder before filming.