Today I am reviewing my Sony Bloggie Sport HD. I got this for free as part of an online super group. The Sony Bloggie Sport HD retails at roughly £100 to £150, so I think I bagged quite a good freebie as I would not have been willing to pay that much for it. My Bloggie Sport is matt black and it also comes in red or blue.
The Bloggie Sport is packaged in a small sturdy box, despite the small box everything you need to get started is contained within. The box contains the Bloggie, a wrist strap, USB cable and instructions.
Once out the box I attached the wrist strap, I am very clumsy, before starting to have a look at the Bloggie. The Bloggie is about the size (11.5 x 5.6 x 2.3cm) and weight (150g) that mobile phones were a few years back. It is quite tactile with its different textured surfaces and all the buttons are sunk into the Bloggie case, the only stand out part is the auto focus camera lens on the back of the Bloggie. The size of the Bloggie means that it is a little chunky for carrying around in a pocket but big enough so as not to get lost in a bag.
Using the Bloggie is quite self explanatory but it does come with a good instruction manual and a handy quick start guide for those eager to get started as well as an on board instruction manual that can be accessed when the Bloggie is plugged in to charge via the USB.
When the Bloggie is switched on it makes a nice musical sound and the rear 2.7 inch touch screen comes to life. The screen briefly displays the menu button, a play button, the battery indicator, flash on/off and a slide for telescopic or wide angle. All these option are also available in the menu that is easily accessed via the touch screen.
I find the touch screen to be a little bit stubborn and you have to be heavier handed when pressing on the screen than you would expect, it is not as responsive as the screen on my Sony Xperia but better than having an array of buttons clumsily located on the Bloggie case. No matter which way around you hold the camera the display will witch around between landscape and portrait, which makes using the menu really easy no matter what.
There are no special skills need for taking photographs, just choose your subject and then zoom in or out (4x Digital Zoom) using the T or W on the touch screen, then press the shutter button down half way and you will see a green dot flashing on the screen, as soon as the camera is focused the dot will stop flashing and the camera will make a little beep noise and then you can press the shutter button fully and your photo will be taken. You can disable the beep in the menu. You can rush the process and the camera will take the picture but I find I get better results every time by allowing the camera time to focus fully.
Once the picture has been taken a share button flashes up on the touch screen, if you press this you can bookmark the photo for easier uploading once the camera is connected to your computer.
The Sony Bloggie easily connects to your PC or Mac via the flip out USB port, the flip out port can be pushed directly into the USB slot on your computer but I find it much easier to use the wired adaptor that came in the box as the flip out USB feels quite fragile and once that is accidentally broken the camera is pretty useless. The flip out USB and mini HDMI port is concealed behind a panel that can be easily accessed but still keeps the lines of the camera neat and smooth and also keeps the internals of the camera well protected.
Shooting video footage is also quite simple. Just press the round button that is next to the screen and you will hear a chime to indicate that the camera is recording and you will also see a red dot in the top left hand corner of the screen and a counter to indicate the length of time you have been filming for. While you are filming you can again use the W and T buttons on the touch screen to zoom in and out. Zooming in and out while filming is smooth and there is no blurring of the video. To end your film clip just press the round button again and the camera will make a short chime. As soon as you have finished filming there is again the option to bookmark your video for easier uploading when the camera is connected to your computer. Another down side for me is that the camera is not WiFi or blue tooth enabled, that would have made uploading pictures so much easier.
The Bloggie also comes with a small LED light on the front for low light shots, this can be turned on via the touch screen but I find it only useful for close up shots like selfies etc. Other than that it is pretty useless.
Unfortunately there is no camera lens on the screen side of the camera; this would have been a great addition for filming videos of yourself which is what the Bloggie was given to me for as find it quite difficult to get myself lined up in a shot for filming when I am on my own. The Bloggie can be connected to a camera tripod or to a purpose built handlebar mount for the adventurous ones out there.
The Bloggie Sport claims to be super rugged and can withstand drops up to 1.5 meter and can be immersed in up to 5 meters of water for up to an hour. While under water you can film and take pictures and the touch screen will still work. There is an option in the menu for under water mode that will balance contrast and blue tones for life like colour. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to use the camera under water but its claim of being waterproof, drop proof and dustproof does make it ideal for all sorts of adventurous holiday occasions.
Another great feature is that while filming you can easily take a photograph by pressing the shutter button without interrupting your video.
The camera comes with 4GB of internal memory that unfortunately can not be upgraded. There is enough room on the 4GB memory for thousands of pictures or up to 2 hours of HD video or a combination of the two. The Bloggie will only video in 30 minute segments so that is worth bearing in mind if you want to film something for a long time.
The Bloggie does come with built in software which I have never used, I prefer to transfer my pictures off the camera in the same fashion as I would a memory card or flash drive. I connect the Bloggie to my PC via the USB and when the Bloggie pops up on screen as a drive I click open folder to view files, I then go to the folder labelled DCIM and inside there will be another folder when that is clicked it opens up for you to view your pictures and drag and drop them onto your PC. Any video footage you have taken will be in a folder call MP_ROOT, from there you can view your videos using your PC's default media player and the video files can also be dragged and dropped on to your PC. This is also the method I use to delete any unwanted videos and pictures. You can also delete pictures on the Bloggie using the touch screen menu.
Something I do feel is worth pointing out is that to charge the Bloggie you only need to plug it in but to transfer files you need to turn the Bloggie on while it is plugged in to your USB port. Once fully charged the Bloggie seems to last forever, I would estimate you have roughly 7 hours of on and off use for pictures and short videos.
The sound during video play back is of a reasonable quality although there is an underlying hiss it is nothing drastic. The video quality is good enough but I would not describe it as HD it can get a little grainy in low light conditions. I find the picture quality to be ok (5.1mp) it is nothing special and I would not use the Bloggie Sport to capture moments in life that I want crystal clear clarity.
At the end of the day the Sony Bloggie Sport is exactly what it claims to be a tough little sports camera that is water proof, dust proof and drop proof. It is handy for when you are out and about in mud, muck and water and don't want to bring along your pricey camera phone or expensive photography equipment. Yes there are digital cameras out on the market at a cheaper price and with a higher Mega Pixel rating but would they be tough enough to survive a drop or be used for videos and filming under water without having to resort to a specialised water proof bag. The user interface is easy to navigate through and although the touch screen is not a sensitive as that of a phone it does the job.
The downsides for me are the lack of lens on the rear for easier self videos. The unfortunately missing space to expand the memory and the inaccessible onboard battery as once that battery is done so is the camera. I do feel that the Bloggie is a bit of a let down when you consider its HD promise; I feel Sony should have put a little more effort in to the quality of video and picture to justify its HD tag.
I personally would not have purchased a Sony Bloggie Sport and would suggest shopping around on internet auction sites to try and find one cheaper than the rrp of £149. As this was a freebie from an online community am more than happy with it. I have owned the camera since April 2013 and have personally used it for pictures and videos. It has also been kayaking and climbing with the kids and is off to Drax power Station next week as part of my sons A level Geography work. After six months of use the camera case shows very little wear and the screen is scratch free.
Thank you for reading.