Sony Webbie

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Tue 2009/06/02 04:30 JST in Gadgets

Been wanting a HD video camera for a while so luckily one landed in my lap - thanks to American Otaku Matt who works at Sony for this delicious Webbie MHS-CM1 ^o^

This model is not officially on sale in Japan although one can still buy it at Amazon Japan (Silver or Violet) for 25800 yen.

This Webbie was designed for markets outside of Japan and no plans to release it in Japan yet. If they do then maybe they will make just the casing in aluminum and charge twice the price ^^;

The front of the camera is also equipped with a light for those who want to film dark hanky panky scenes.

Some blurb about the Webbie copypasted from the official product page. Only about 1.7" wide and 2.4" tall, this is one ridiculously small camera. Inside, you'll find an integrated 5MP CMOS sensor that lets the Webbie capture razor-sharp stills in addition to great-looking HD MP4 video. The HD MP4 format is highly versatile, making your media files small enough to easily transfer them to your PC or Mac via USB.

Cram up to 8.5 hours of HD video footage or thousands of photos (based on 16GB media) on ultra-small Memory Stick PRO Duo media (sold separately). What's more, Memory Stick slots are featured on many Sony VAIO notebooks, and most compatible card readers. Transferring files couldn't be easier.

Buttons on the side are covered by the LCD.
The unit dimensions are 43 x 61 x 105mm and weighs 210g.

Not incredibly comfortable to hold. I tend to prefer the shape of the Xacti video cameras which put less strain on the wrist when operating the buttons.

The battery is built in and lasts about 2.5 hours. Once attached to the Mac by USB, the Webbie is recognized as a HD and you can just copy files from there.
Default encoding is H.264 MPEG-4 AVC which play fine on a Mac.

Unfortunately cant be powered via the USB which is very annoying indeed.

2.5" screen looks good at a certain angle which is not much of a bother as you can just tilt the screen. The video resolution is 1440x1080/30p, 1280x720/30p or standard 640x480/30p. I currently take all my vids in 720p.

Default languages are English and Spanish.

So how about video quality then?
Jonny Li at the controls with the Webbie for the K-On Trooper filming. The daylight sample below. The Webbie takes good footage in low light too as you can see from the Roppongi Trooper video below. You can also see a 1080p sample below - click on it to view in full 1080 over at YouTube.

The box which contains the usual stuff:- * Webbie HD camera * AC adaptor * Component Video Cable * Composite Video Cable * USB Cable * Lens Cap * Wrist Strap * Picture Motion Browser software CD-ROM

Like all my equipment, I mark the date on the body somewhere so that I know how long I've been using it for. The Webbie is my only device that I own which uses the Memory Stick.

The Webbie also takes 5 mega pixel photos too - forgot to take samples but found one at impress.
This is the Webbie compared a human hand.

Webbie compared to Dollfie hands. Dollfies will just be able to operate the video camera.

Webbie compared to Figma hands. Could cause permanent damage to the figma who is trying to operate the camera.

Webbie compared to Nendoroid Puchi hands. High possibility of death to which ever Nendo puchi is trying to operate the camera.

Along with its other buddy - the Rolly.

Comparison with the Xacti which I used for all my vids up until the Webbie. While the Xacti only takes VGA, the sound pickup capabilities are much better than the Webbie.
I placed the Webbie a few feet away to shoot some footage of myself at the desk and found that it had a hard time keeping my voice at the same volume level - it would rise and fall.

The webbie works fine picking up your voice when you are actually holding the camera though.

Screen comparison. The tape I put on the screen of the Xacti was so that I could shoot within the guides - that area was cropped when I imported into iMovie09. Been using iMovie since the first Tokyo Dance Trooper movie below. While it hasn't got any advanced features, its pretty decent at throwing stuff together.
What video editing software do you prefer/recommend?

The Webbie comes with a 5 x optical and 20 x digital zoom. The problem I had with the Xacti was that the lens was crap - you had to stand miles away to fit in a scene.
While the Webbie does not have a wide angle lens (nor can you attach one), the lens is decent enough to fit in quite a bit without having to back off too much away from your subject.

My latest two daughters Nanoha and Ryomo play with the gadgets for a while.

If you are looking for something cheap, compact and light with decent quality for mainly web purposes and will be mainly holding the camera while filming then the Webbie could be for you.

If however you are looking for a camera where you are going to place it in a fixed position and talk at it then I cant recommend it at this point - it could be my settings but my voice is not being picked up at a constant volume level.

If you are looking for something to take videos of kids then you will probably want something of better quality - as the name of the Webbie suggests - its mainly optimized for taking stuff to upload to the Internets.

Folks outside of Japan who are interested in the Webbie can pick one up an orange one at for 184 USD or a silver one for the same price.

Playting with Kevin Cooney's Gorillapod thingy.

As for the question - will be very likely to do a giveaway where you show us stuff from your kingdom and am wondering how many of you have a video camera or video capture capability - many standard digital cameras these days seem to take video clips.