Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

HDW : Over the last week I have had 3 companies phone me to see if I am reviewing the new Sony MC50 which came as a surprise to me, they all want to see the camcorder and one person is looking to but 2 of them ! Needless to say when I get my hands on an MC50 I will give it a thorough testing. I think it will sit neatly as a good second camcorder for the EX/NX range…time will tell.

Wide Angle G-Lens
Experience Sony’s latest lens technology with the professional-quality G Lens. Engineered for superior optical performance, Sony G lenses deliver brilliant, accurate colour reproduction and sharp, amazingly detailed images. In addition, the 29.8mm lens offers a very wide angle of view. The six bladed iris offers superb shallow depth of field videography.

10x Optical / 120x Digital Zoom
10x optical zoom helps to bring the action close up from far away. In addition, Digital Zoom Interpolation means that digital zooming (up to 120x) is clearer, with less distortion than previous types of digital zoom.

Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilisation with Active Mode
SteadyShot image stabilisation with Active Mode represents the next step forward in Sony image stabilisation technology. Active Mode improves on existing SteadyShot image stabilisation by allowing the camera to compensate for greater degrees of camera shake and deliver a stunning level of image smoothness.

1/2.88″ Back-Illuminated “Exmor R” CMOS Sensor
Experience low-light sensitivity with improved image clarity and drastically reduced grain with the back-illuminated “Exmor R” sensor. “Exmor R” technology captures footage with high resolution and high sensitivity, while the advanced Sony BIONZ Image Processor improves camera response time and screens out noise to help ensure that the signal from each pixel is as pure as possible.

BIONZ Image Processor
The BIONZ Image Processor works in conjunction with the Exmor CMOS sensor with ClearVid array for pristine imaging. The BIONZ Image Processor provides Data Noise Reduction, Fast Image processing, and Data compression. In addition, the BIONZ Image Processor enables Sony’s Dynamic Range Optimiser for both video and still image capture. The higher processing speed also allows Dual Recording to capture still images while recording video footage.

Dynamic Range Optimiser
The D-Range (Dynamic Range) Optimiser function adjusts the exposure and contrast of an image to counter the effects of high-contrast shooting condition, allowing better picture reproduction. The D-Range Optimiser suppresses “blackout” in dark areas such as shadows and “whiteout” in bright areas such as skies. As a result, the footage appears more natural.

1920 x 1080 Full High Definition AVCHD Recording
1920 x 1080i FULL HD resolution gives your production exceptional high definition quality

64GB Internal Flash Memory
The built-in 64GB embedded flash memory can record and store up to 6 hours of high definition video footage (HD FX mode at 24Mbps), or up to 48 hours of standard definition footage (SD HQ mode).

Media Card Slot
The camcorder accepts a wide range of removeable media including: Memory Stick Duo / Memory Stick PRO Duo / Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo media and SD/SDHC media (optional)

3.5″ Wide Xtra Fine TruBlack LCD Plus Viewfinder
TruBlack technology brings remarkably higher contrast and brightness to the camcorder’s 3.5″ Wide Xtra Fine TruBlack LCD display, delivering more natural, realistic colours and easier viewing in bright conditions by reducing glare. An adjustable 0.27″ colour viewfinder (201k) allows you to capture video and frame your shots with the LCD closed.

Assignable Dial
Get the most out of your camcorder with enhanced manual controls. The assignable dial allows for control of focus, exposure, white balance, iris, and shutter speed. Adjusting the iris lets you control depth of field, while shutter speed allows for control motion blur. There are a total of 6 settings available: Focus, Exposure, AE Shift, WB Shift, Iris control, and Shutter speed control.

Geotagging with Built-In GPS Receiver and NAVTEQ Maps
A built-in GPS receiver gives you the ability to view your current location on the LCD map display, as well as “tag” your shooting locations with GPS metadata. This metadata can be viewed using the Map Index function on the camcorder or once downloaded to your PC using the supplied PMB (Picture Motion Browser) software. Additionally, the receiver automatically adjusts your camcorder’s clock to the proper time zone.

Dedicated Shotgun Microphone and Headphone Inputs
The HXR-MC50E offers a supplied professional shotgun microphone and mount which coupled with the headphone input allows acquisition and monitoring of location sound. (Headphones not supplied)

Golf Shot
Building on the slow-motion capture capabilities of Smooth Slow Record on models such as the HVR-Z5E and Z7E, Golf Shot captures a few seconds of motion as a sequence of up to 22 still images, which can be viewed/printed individually or as a composite “sequence shot” image, great for analysing the nuances of a golf swing, tennis serve, and other fast action for sports science teaching and sports tutoring applications.

2x Faster Quick AF
With the improved autofocus (AF) system, Quick AF, the focusing speed is twice as fast compared to other Sony compact camcorders. Whether in bright daylight or in a dimly lit environment, Quick AF ensures fast, accurate, and consistent focus lock, enabling users to shoot in a wide range of scenes without missing any important moments. When shooting night scenes, conventional AF might struggle to focus, but thanks to the much improved AF algorithm in Quick AF, you can get that all important shot.

Intelligent Auto (10 iAuto modes)
Intelligent Auto mode goes a step beyond traditional auto modes by analysing your shot and then automatically selecting the appropriate settings from ten distinct scene modes: Portrait Mode, Smile Shutter, Backlight Control, Scenery, Night Scenery Mode, High Sensitivity Mode, Macro Mode, Baby Mode, Tripod, and Low Light Mode ideal for corporate or video diary applications where non-camera operators are shooting.

Film Roll Index
Film Roll Index helps you easily find desired clips. When using this feature, the camcorder previews the beginning of clips and can create clip indexes set at specified display intervals (3, 6, or 12 seconds and 1 or 5 minutes)

Direct Copy to External HDD without a PC
Store your content in a whole new way with the ability to copy content from your camcorder directly to an external hard disk drive (optional), all without a pc or mac. Your camcorder can also access content stored on the external hard drive for playback on an HDMI monitor or consumer TV, allowing you to use the camcorder’s handy playback features, great for viewing full HD rushes.

Smooth Slow Record
The Smooth Slow Record mode increases the frame rate from 50 frames per second (fps) to 200 fps, allowing you to capture 3 seconds of fast motion and play the video back in 12 seconds. This is a great tool for analysing a golf swing or a natural history applications.

12MP Digital Still Capture
12 megapixel still image capture lets you take stunning, high resolution digital photos while the Dual record capability lets you capture 8.3MP still images while shooting high definition video – so you can capture still images without having to switch recording modes.

Sony PMB (Picture Motion Browser) Software
Sony Picture Motion Browser software offers a simple, intuitive way to transfer, sort, and view your video and still images on your compatible PC. In addition, multiple output options let you burn your content to DVD (optional), as well as being able to upload your rushes with just one click to popular video sharing sites.

Additional Creative Control and Workflow Features
HDMI output
Power on by simply opening the camera’s LCD display
USB 2.0 provides an easy connection between your camcorder and PC for fast transfer into your NLE
Record and zoom controls on LCD for more control and flexibility, especially for overhead or low angle shots
Dolby Digital stereo recording with built-in zoom mic focuses on subject for clear dialogue and crisp, discrete sounds


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

11 thoughts on “The Sony HXR-MC50 “Causing a stir” £1300

  1. Be interesting to see how it compares to the JVC HM-100 for pics and price. I love the HM-100 as a ‘mini EX-1’ and the fast turnaround with native mov file format. Maybe this is a challenger?

  2. I have looked far and wide for a review for this little camera. I can find nothing for the USA version. I did find a short video preview of the euro version, but it yielded little info. If low light performance is decent, this would be a great second camera. The price is certainly right.

  3. Hey there,

    Love the reviews!

    I am trying to decide between the CX550V and MC50U for underwater video. I do not really care about the lens hood, the mic or the battery or 2 year warranty.

    Image quality is everything. Can anyone tell me if the Exmor R sensor in the CX550V is the same 2nd Generation Chip in the MC50U as stated in the MC50U marketing doc?

    I also read that the sensor on the CX550 is the same as the older 500. Not sure this is accurate.

    I cannot get a definitive answer anywhere.

    Also, do both these camera shoot real 1920 or do they shoot 1440 and then the software interprets it as 1920?

    Thank you in advance. I need to order this soon.

  4. There is no difference between the 550 and the MC50 as far as the inner electronics is concerned they are one and the same camcorder. Full 1920 x 1080 50i. I have an underwater housing on order myself I will be doing a further update to the MC50 once I get all the accessories that make this camcorder a truly exceptional tool.

  5. I was choosing between nex vg10 and hxr-mc50 for my first camera… and i need it in filming for my film projects, i’m a film student. I was wondering what is the difference and what is worth buying for?

  6. The obvious choice is the VG10 as it comes far closer to the film look than the MC50. The VG10 outputs 1080 25p while the MC50 outputs 1080 50i.

  7. watch this and do nit buy it. the worst sound record of a camera i’ve ever heard. useless! i regret what i paid.does anybody know how to fix it? everywhere you see the reviews that such a good camcorder that is or stuff.. no it is not external shotgun microphone is a noise recorder. you can get rid of the noise but in some occasions you can’t. don’t believe in the reviews and don’t buy it

  8. The only reason I allow this is to let people see how technical you are at testing equipment. You don’t have any idea what you are talking about the camera is mainly auto audio as I tell people but the sound is good in fact very good for an almost auto sound camera. You may like to get your ears tested.

  9. I know Im a little late to this discussion, Im starting up doing wedding and event videos and was considering buying a couple of these Ive read good things about the picture and I think the smaller form factor might lessen that rabbit in headlights reaction people get around large cameras. Do you think the MC50 will cut the mustard?

    Many thanks


  10. Any advice on where I can buy the MC50 – I am really struggling to find it anywhere.

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