Friday, July 9, 2010

Points to note for new owners of Sony 350

After using the XR350 for a month or so, there are a few pointers that may be useful for new owners.

Video Resolution
The default resolution is HD HQ with a bit rate of only 9Mbps so you need to manually change it to a higher resolution if so desired. But note that the highest resolution of HD FX is at 24Mbps and if this is selected, there is a message to say that you cannot copy video to an AVCHD disc and you cannot take still shots while taking movie at this resolution. To avoid these issues, use the HD FH mode at 17Mbps which is good enough for normal usage. All HD modes are presumably at 1920x1080i.

iAuto Mode
After making some changes in the menu, the iAuto icon disappeared and I tried desperately to search in the menu to turn it back on but to no avail. The only way you can do it is to press the iAuto button on the side of the camcorder below the green iAuto icon; and this is not even mentioned in the manual at all! The first thing you should do is to turn on iAuto if the screen does not show this and this is the best mode for shooting videos for new owners before you venture into the other manual modes. Almost all my videos during my holiday in Germany are shot using just the iAuto mode and seems to work well. You can see these videos in my Germany travel blog and on Youtube and more videos are added progressively.

Recording Status
It is very easy to turn the Recording button on and off especially if you rest your thumb on the right side of the battery where the Rec button is located. Many a times I found that I have made recordings while holding the camcorder so what is filmed is just the ground. Also sometimes I could not find a clip that I thought I have recorded since I have accidentally turned the camcorder off as soon as I turned it on or did not press it hard enough to turn it on. The best is to check the screen for the recording status (REC/STBY) but this can be hard to see under bright sunlight outdoor. You can also use the Record button on the touch screen of the LCD.

Length of Clip
There is no information on the length of a video clip from the playback menu. You can see this in a roundabout way. Select Photo Capture on the Edit menu and when you play the clip, there is a moving time-line with the length of the clip shown on the right. On the Visual Index screen you can see the total length of all the videos for a particular date but I think this is not very useful, for me anyway. It is more useful to have the length of each individual video for purpose of editing. You can choose to show the date and the time when the video is shot as one of the data options.

File Copy
After connecting the USB cable to the PC, the USB Select screen will appear and you can connect either the internal memory, the internal hard disk or the memory card depending on the model of your 350 and what is available. The PMB Import screen will appear (if you have installed the PMB software) and you can follow the instructions on the screen to import the files to your PC. If you do not want to use the PMB software, bypass the Import screen and go to My Computer and you should see the camcorder as an external media device. You can then just go into the external media device and drag and drop the video files that you want to copy. These are the files with mts file extension such as 00123.mts and the other files are not necessary for playback.

HDMI Cable
To watch video on your HDTV, you must have the mini HDMI cable which is not supplied with the camcorder. Thank goodness the mini HDMI cable is not proprietary as I was able to view the videos on my HDTV by buying a generic mini HDMI cable that costs only 1/8 the price of the Sony cable. However, you have to get the Sony USB adaptor cable if you want to use the Direct Copy function as a generic one will not work.

Hope these hints will be of help to new users and I'll be happy to answer any other queries that users may have, if I can.

Ronald Kwok


  1. Hi, I´ve searched a lot for an example of a photo taken with the XR350 camera, can you post some? Thanks.

  2. Hi Fausto,
    I'll post some samples in my next post. Hope they help. Cheers

  3. Hi Ronald!

    Even I purchased the same camcorder in Canada (HDR-XR350) around the same time. You can have a look at them in my YouTube channel:

    Specially, a few of the good ones are: Niagara Helicopter, Views from CN Tower, View from my room at Grenada, Niagara Falls Fireworks, Toronto Skyline, and Maid of the mist boat ride.
    (I am not sharing the links here, as it may extend the comment a lot, you can find the links in my youtube channel, when you click see all.)

  4. Thanks for your informative blogs, and videos. I never noticed the iAuto function. Now I think the videos shoot better :)

  5. Hi Ujjwal,
    thanks for viewing. You've shot some nice videos. Were they not shot using iAuto? It is strange that they do not mention setting the iAuto in the user manual and I think it is great for beginners. I have also left a comment under the fireworks Youtube clip. Cheers.