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Sony Handycam HDR-XR520

alaTest has collected and analyzed 277 reviews of Sony Handycam HDR-XR520. The average rating for this product is 4.3/5, compared to an average rating of 4.0/5 for other Camcorders for all reviews. Reviewers really like the design and size. The image quality and portability also get good feedback, whereas the battery and price get negative opinions.

usability, portability, image quality, size, design

price, battery

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Camcorders the Sony Handycam HDR-XR520 is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 88/100 = Very good quality.

See all Sony Camcorders

Review analysis

(Based on 277 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

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Showing 1 - 71 of 80 Show Reviews: from Australia | from other countries (197)

Consumer review by: ( review summary for Sony Handycam HDR-XR520


alaTest has collected and analyzed 14 user reviews of Sony Handycam HDR-XR520 from The average user rating for this product is 4.7/5, compared to an average user rating of 4.0/5 for other Camcorders on People are impressed by the battery and design. The image quality and portability are also mentioned favorably. The price and size get critical views.

usability, portability, image quality, design, battery

size, price

100% of the reviews on give this product a positive rating.

This summary is based on the products: Sony HDRXR520VE High Definition Handycam Camcorder With Built-In 240GB Hard Disc Drive (101hrs)Sony HDRXR520VE High Definition Handycam Camcorder With Built-In 240GB Hard Disc Drive (101hrs)

Jan, 2018

Consumer review by: ( review summary for Sony Handycam HDR-XR520


alaTest has collected and analyzed 47 user reviews of Sony Handycam HDR-XR520 from The average user rating for this product is 4.4/5, compared to an average user rating of 3.9/5 for other Camcorders on Reviewers really like the size and portability. The price and image quality are also appreciated.

usability, image quality, price, portability, size

100% of the reviews on give this product a positive rating.

This summary is based on the products: Sony HDR-XR520V 240GB HDD High Definition Camcorder w/12x Optical ZoomSony HDR-XR520V 240GB HDD High Definition Camcorder w/12x Optical Zoom

Jan, 2018

Expert review by: Chris Jager (

Sony HDR-XR520


Good video quality, excellent stills mode, 240GB hard drive

Video quality slightly below Canon HF S10, depressingly unaffordable

The Sony HDR-XR520 is a rock-solid HDD video camera that improves on its predecessors in nearly every way. On the other hand, it's unlikely that many consumers will be able to afford it at its current price point.

Jun, 2009

Consumer review by: (

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


I have now been using the XR500 for a number of months with lots of demand for low light (in side boat) and on the high(low) seas, filming commercial boats. This camera is a great improvement over the 2 HDR-SR1's that I was using in both of the above...

Low Light, image stabilisation

Nav touch screen controls

Jun, 2010

Consumer review by: Saresh (

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


My brother has one and I had a play with it. We recorded a family event and we found that it was a bit tricky to operate. Then when we plugged it into our HD Plasma we found that the image was reasonable but I thought it should of been better for a...

Good OIS and reasonable picture

Too complicated and innaccurate colours

Aug, 2009

Consumer review by: Goran (

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


This is supposed to be a enthusiest dream camcorder but where are the enthusiest controls?? The colours didn't quite do it for me as I found them to be soft and a little inaccurate.

Good OIS & lots of storage

Too expensive & missing aperture and shutter control and focus assist. Average colour accuracy

May, 2009

Consumer review by: George (

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


Good visual quality(when set to non default (Fh mode 16MB/sec), good build and capacity. But can't make GPS system work in Sydney, not even on a clear night with 360 degree views. Sony Store also has same problem with their models in CBD, but they say...

Good quality build and capacity

GPS is crap

Apr, 2009

Consumer review by: Mr.HighDef (

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


In my weekly discussions with my mate who works in a camera shop we talked long and hard about this model. At first I was impressed by the specifiactions apon release, but when he told me not to get too excited i was a little worried. I had high hopes...

good manual control, nice screen

after all the hype, i wasn't overly impressed with the image quality for the $2.7k they're charging for it

Apr, 2009

Consumer review by: barry (

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


I saw one in a store as well. I wasn't that impressed. It looked allright but I had higher expectations for a camcorder around that price. The colours seemed a little muted I think. This was under normal lighting conditions.Maybe it is the processing...

Massive storage ; Reasonable OIS

Low zoom ; Expensive

Mar, 2009

Consumer review by: BobsCam (

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


I took delivery last week and this camera is so far ahead of every camcorder I have ever seen. The image quality is spectacular, I think you really need to use one fairly compare them to what has been before. Yes the still photo's are interpolated,...

Video Quality ; Wide Angle Stability ; Noise Reduction


Mar, 2009

Consumer review by: rohitpriti1 (

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


Whatever I have never seen such clear pictures before, I care about quality not bigger numbers

easy to use, additional features


Mar, 2009

Consumer review by: Cee Jay (

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


Whilst pending on a review we can only go by the specs.There are strengths and weaknesses to this camcorder. I'll give one point per advantage and minus a point for a disadvantage.

Good OIS ; 240GB storage ; Big Image sensor ; Large LCD screen ; Option for mic and headphones

Expensive $2700 ; Big/Bulky ; Only 12x zoom ; Not true 12MP stills ; Only 16Mbs bit rate, other brands are up to 24Mbs

Mar, 2009

Product Specifications


Built-In Microphone: Yes
Built-in speaker(s): Yes

Audio Input

Microphone Operation Mode:Surround


Battery Form Factor:Manufacturer specific
Manufacturer Battery Name:Sony NP-FH60

Camcorder Features

High Definition Video Support:1080i
Low Lux / Night Mode: Yes
Widescreen Video Capture:Widescreen Video Capture


Minimum illumination:3

Camera Flash

Type:Built-in flash


Colour of product:Black / Grey

Digital Storage Media

Type:Hard disc drive

Dimensions & Weight



Display diagonal:8.13

Display (Projector)

Diagonal Size:3.2in
Diagonal Size (metric):8.1cm
Display Form Factor:Rotating
Technology:TFT active matrix
Type:LCD display

Exposure Parameters

Shooting Programs:Beach / Fireworks / Landscape / Portrait mode / Snow / Spotlight / Sunrise / Sunset / Twilight mode / Twilight portrait


Built-in Flash: Yes


Packaged Quantity:1
Product Line:Sony Handycam

Image sensor

Optical sensor size:25.4 / 2.88 / 25.4 / 2.9
Sensor Type:CMOS
Total MegaPixels:12 / 6.631

Lens System

Digital Zoom:150
Filter Size:3.7
Focal length (35mm film equivalent):43 - 516
Focal length range (f-f):5.5 - 60
Lens Aperture:F/1.8-3.4
Max Focal Length:60mm
Min Focal Length:5.5mm
Optical Zoom:12
Optical Zoom:12
Type:Zoom lens

Optical Sensor

Camcorder Effective Still Resolution:6Megapixel
Camcorder Effective Video Resolution:4.15Mpix
Camcorder Sensor Resolution:6.631Mpix
Optical Sensor Size:1/2.9"
Optical Sensor Size (metric):8.8 mm ( 1/2.9" ) / 8.8 mm ( 1/2.9 )
Optical Sensor Type:Exmor R CMOS
Sensor Qty:1CMOS

Optical System

Built-in Optical Image Stabilizer:Built-in / Yes
Image Stabiliser:Optical (Steady Shot)

Other features

Aperture range (F-F):1.8 - 3.4
Audio output:1
Auto Focus: Yes
Lens system:Sony G Lens
Manual Focus: Yes
Resolution:1920 x 1080
Spotlight: Yes
Twilight: Yes
Video Out:1

Ports & interfaces

Component video (YPbPr/YCbCr) out:1
DC-in jack: Yes
PictBridge: Yes
S-Video Out: Yes
USB 2.0 ports quantity:2


Camera shutter speed:1/2 - 1/800

Still image

Still image resolution(s):4000 x 3000


Compatible memory cards:MS PRO
Internal storage capacity:240

Storage Floppy Drive

Type: None


Video formats supported:AVCHD, MPEG2

Video Input

Digital Video Format:AVCHD / MPEG-2
Digital Zoom:150
Face Detection:Built-in / Yes
Faders:Black fader / White fader
Media Type:Flash card / Hard disc drive
Shooting Modes:Digital photo mode
Still Image Format:JPEG


Viewfinder Colour Support:Colour
Viewfinder Type:Electronic

Weight & Dimensions

Height :7.5

White balance

Indoor white balance: Yes
Onepush white balance: Yes
Outdoor white balance: Yes