The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
If you read my Ciao review of the Sony HDR UX1 you'll understand I'm a fan of this range of camera.
However, there are big differences between the UX1 and this smaller unit, the UX3.
I bought the UX3 as a secondary camera as I got a great deal that was too good to leave. What I mean by 'secondary' camera is that when I'm shooting video - let's say a concert or a show - I'll quite often use multiple angles for editing later.
My main camera is used for the front shots and is always the model with the most features available, the side shots don't nessecery need to have as many features as long as they are comparable quality.
So, I use the Sony HDR UX3 in that way, offering another angle to the main camera.
Compared to the UX1 model, the UX3 has no mic or headphone connections, has a smaller 2.7inch LCD screen and does not have a manual control ring. It's still fairly heavy and quite large, but this is a better unit for a 'family' camera compared to the UX1.
In other words, it's lighter and smaller option that offer comparable performance but without the bells and whistles. All settings apart from zoom and standard operation buttons are controlled via the LCD touch screen. This can be a little tricky on a LCD of this size, but it's just about workable.
Overall, the build quality is good and the quality of video is excellent. It also records in surround sound.
Battery life is ok, but not as good as many other cameras' I've used. Buying a higher capacity or second battery is recommended.
Again, referring to my previous Sony HDR UX1 Ciao review, the following applies:
The biggest downside is that it doesn't have a hard drive like its sister model the SR1. I've been able to work with that by being happy to buy 8cm DVD discs. The cost is very low when you buy write once or re-writable discs, but they only have the capacity to record around 25minutes at decent HD quality.
The answer is to buy dual layer discs (DVD+R DL only) which can record up to around 45mins, but the cost increases significantly to around £2.50 - £3 per disc and they are not re-writable. Worryingly they are also getting harder to source and the price seems to be increasing.
If this isn't a problem, and you are on a tight budget, then this camera is a fair alternative to the better UX1 model, but just consider the limitations before you buy. It may be worth skipping this technology for a hard drive model as without many of the UX1's features that reasons to buy diminish without the extra features that the UX1 offers.