Sony HXR-MC50U Pro AVCHD Camcorder


It’s gratifying to know that manufacturers continue to improve the quality of handheld camcorders. We’ll probably see 4K handheld camcorders on the market in just a few years. The Sony HXR-MC50U Ultra Compact Pro AVCHD Camcorder is a stepping stone toward that goal.


 The Sony HXR-MC50U Ultra Compact Pro AVCHD Camcorder packs professional quality features into a highly portable unit. The HXR-MC50U captures 1920 x 1080 video at 24Mbps, which is the maximum possible bit rate in the AVCHD format. While lots of handheld camcorders capture HD, many of them compromise audio quality. But not the HXR-MC50U; the HXR-MC50U features an ECM shotgun microphone that captures high-quality stereo sound. The camcorder also features a large lens hood and a high-capacity battery that won’t cut out on you before your work is done.


The HXR-MC50U has a wide variety of automatic settings, but professional videographers often prefer to use manual settings. That’s why this camcorder also allows manual control over focus, exposure, white balance, iris and shutter speed. Adjusting the iris lets you control depth of field, while adjusting the shutter speed lets you control motion blur.


The HXR-MC50U is built around a very sensitive 1/2.88” back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor which helps to reduce image noise while providing good low-light performance. A powerful BIONZ processor can apply Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer to both video and still image capture, and also allows the camcorder to capture 8.3-megapixel still images while recording video. The camera can capture 12-megapixel still images when not shooting video.


The HXR-MC50U features a 10x optical zoom and 120x digital zoom, and Sony’s new Optical SteadyShot Active Mode provides three-way camera shake correction at all zoom settings. The wide-angle G-Lens, with a 35mm equivalent of 29.8-298mm, features a six-bladed iris that provides superior performance when capturing shallow depth of field.


An improved Quick AF autofocus system is twice as fast as Sony’s other compact camcorders, ensuring consistent focus lock in any shooting environment. A Smooth Slow Record mode increases the camera’s frame rate from 50 frames per second (fps) to 200 fps, allowing you to capture fast motion and play it back at ¼ speed without being choppy. A built-in GPS receiver lets you tag shooting locations and also sets the camcorder's clock to the proper time zone.


The HXR-MC50U features 64GB of embedded flash memory, which is enough to store up to 6 hours of high-definition video footage or up to 48 hours of standard-definition footage. The camcorder also accepts Memory Stick and SD/SDHC media. When it’s time to review your captured footage, you can see it quite clearly on the 3.5-inch widescreen LCD.


A USB 2.0 port lets you copy captured footage to a computer. But the HXR-MC50U also lets you copy footage directly to an external hard drive without using a computer. Why lug around a computer if you don’t have to? An HDMI output lets you review your captured footage on any HDTV.


Many years ago, I had a full-size VHS camcorder that was so big you had to rest it on your shoulder while shooting. The image quality was, of course, VHS. The HXR-MC50U is only one-third the size of that old camcorder—yet it puts it to shame in every respect.


Does anyone know if this camera would work with the Sony VCT-60AV Remote Control Tripod?

In another word, does it has the standard Lanc remote ?

If not, which remote tripod would it work with?

Any help is apprecaited.

I would also like to hear from owners about the audio settings and experiences. What about defeating any automatic gain-up madness ? Could someone also address the previous question about keeping manual settings as you cycle through them? Thanks for all the info.

I'm curious about the camera's manual functions. It appears by looking at several reviews- some from the B&H store and others around the web -that you cannot control more than one manual setting at a time. That would be a downer in situations where you need to adjust the depth of field and motion blur, and or the white balance simultaneously.

So, tell me please if you know: When you adjust two manual settings like the Iris and the shutter speed; after adjusting one setting, when you switch to adjust the second setting, will the previous modifications to the first setting be reset? Or do the settings remain altered while each seperate setting has to be adjusted one at a time?

This would make a big difference in my purchaseing this camera. Thank you so much for your upcoming feedback!

- Logan

Still not getting the "pro" designation. At minimum, a pro video camera has XLR inputs. Even Sony designates its $3500 HDR-AX2000H as a high end consumer level camera. The much talked about Sony NEX VG10 at $2000 with its large sensor and interchangeable lenses is still in the consumer range.

The audio input, management and control capability is a big component and plays a big part in determining a camera's classification. Including a shotgun mic, even a decent one doesn't make the camera any more professional than attaching the same mic to similar spec'd videocams. The 3.5 socket and lack of audio control might make it easy to use but keeps it from being "pro."

While it might make a decent b-roll camera and probably produces a decent image, I suggest that Sony use a more appropriate label for its goods.

Does anyone know if there is an underwater housing available for this camera?

 Does this camera burn a time/date stamp on-screen?  I can't find a manual anywhere on-line.  Thanks.

Dear Mr. Spiwak, I don't really mind your reviews being shameless plugs. Most internet reviews are these days. But could you please try to be a little more imaginative. I mean, you always end your reviews by comparing the camcorder you're reviewing to your old VHS camera. VHS??? That's a totally meaningless comparison that tells me absolutely nothing. Any camcorder today, and I mean any camcorder, looks better than VHS.   

I hope this helps!

This is a great little camera!  Given the newly updated backlit CMOS sensor, you get brilliant, full-quality HD results. I have imported (ingested) captured AVCHD footage into MAC/Final Cut Express v4.x via the Log and Transfer process (using Apple Intermediate Codec 1920x1080/60i via Easy Setup in Final Cut) and into Premiere with no problems, but you need to perform these functions with the camera attached via USB and in Play Mode.  If you want to import via SDHC card and media reader, you will need to use a re-wrapper/transcoder software tool for the Mac (i.e. ClipWrap - $39.99), as it can either wrap Sony's .mts/m2ts formatted files to H.264 AVCHD quicktime .MOV files without loss or transcode to the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) without loss. By the way, this is something you would need to do with other AVCHD cameras on the market too. This is mainly a 1920x1080 resulting camera.  If you wish to use one of the lower HD settings (720p equivelant) you may have problems transferring into Final Cut Express v4.0 via AIC, as its intended to deal with 1920x1080-60i full HD via the H.264 AIC codec.  You could use one of the ProRes 4:2:2 codecs in Final Cut Studio or if you prefer, import into iMovie v8/v9 and export XML into Final Cut....the long route, but it works.

I find the Smooth Slow Record feature valuable for those that do not perform post production editing.  Its clear and I have not experienced any stutter.

You can add a video light, but not via the hot-shoe. You can purchase a camera mount extension and a battery pack version light source.  It uses mini-pin jack for its shotgun mic, which has good quality sound recording.  However you can use a Beechtech, battery pack phantom-powered mini-pin-to-XLR adapter for professional balanced quality audio via another mic source. You can add 37mm UV filter to protect the lens, but the hood must be removed.  Sony still hasn't given us a hood which allows for a filter to be directly affixed to it. However, you can put an aftermarket hood which allows for filters.

This is a great camera for those starting out that want an incredible small camera with excellent HD quality.  You can down-convert HD footage to SD footage...which is better quality than regular SD captured footage.  I use this camera as a secondary HD camera...either as a POV, backup, or when I need a small form factor and footprint due to limited shooting space.  The nightshot addition with 0 lux is excellent too.

I highly recommend this camera for both starters and seasoned experts as part of their video shooting arsenal!


I've spent the past week researching HD Camera's for videotaping car events/racing (in car), etc.  I'm planning to buy Sony Vegas Platinum Production 10, and a new computer to handle editing it all.  Is AVCHD going to be a problem for Vegas 10, and is this a good camera for night time video shooting?  If there is a forum that is better to ask these kind of questions, I'd love to know as I'm just a noob to this all.  Thanks in advance!

Hola saludos desde la ciudad de Aguascalientes Ags. Mexico  a todo el personal que integra la gran familia B&H, desde que me inscribi en su pagina, no se han olvidado de un servidor,y he seguido de cerca toda la informacion que me mandan   les agradezco  de antemano que se tomen la molestia de mandarme la informacion de los difirentes articulos que ustedes manejan y con los precios mas acordes a las necesidades de estos dias tan dificiles en la economia de todos, disculpenme por escribir en español, pero se que entre su personal de atencion al cliente, siempre hay alguien que lo sepa hablar y traducir.

Mi pregunta es como puedo adquirir un articulo como los que ustedes manejan?, porque estoy interesado en una de las camaras que tienen en la informacion que me estan mandando, en este caso la camara compacta de Sony Modelo  HXR-MC50UPRO, o la camara de Sony de lentes intercambiables nueva Modelo NEX-VG10 Handycam, si es posible comprarla como se tendria que pagar y como tendrian que enviarmela a Mexico? gracias por permitirme llegar hasta ustedes a travez de este medio de informacion, espero respuesta gracias reciban saludos desde la tierra de la gente buena Aguascalienytes   Ags. Mexico


Can anyone tell me if this camcorder is supported with iMovie '08? Or will I have to invest in something like Final Cut Express? TIA.   MPD

I've been looking for along time for a good alternative to my mini DV cams and it just keeps getting more and more confusing.

I was actually quite impressed with this camera until I discovered that there was no way to defeat the audio auto gain control and there was no way to adjust audio input. There was what appeared to be some sort of pad, listed in the menu as two settings "normal" and "low" (It may not have been those exact words but you get the idea)

They have this camera displayed in the Pro camera section. While I was impressed with the camera I was a little confused as to why it's displayed in the Pro section - either they just ran out of space in the consumer section or they don't want this camera sitting right next to the CX550.

If the Lens and/or sensor have also been improved it might be worth the extra $.
It's hard to tell in the store, especially when the two cameras are in different rooms.
But if I'm just paying more for that outboard mic I'll be disappointed.

If anyone has any specific info on optical improvements over the 550 I'd love to hear it.


It is not just a dressed up 550v. Besides the obvious hood and stereo mic, it has an extended capacity battery and more importantly comes with professional level software that alone is worth hundreds of dollars.

I'm very interested in this camcorder, but worried about compatability issues. I'm still new to video and I only have Premiere Elements. What are the issues with exporting to Elements and editing on a WinVista platform? I Just want to make sure before purchasing.


Is there a telephoto lens attachment available fo this camera?

Hi, does anybody know the physical dimensions of this camcorder?

Thanks. Bee

I would like to replace my beloved VX2100 so my question is what do I get out of the HDIM Ports? dos it bypass the Compression? Do I Get full Quality? at What Frame Rate? Please advise on other similarly priced prosumer cameras with similar specs as this one. please. Thank you. 

The CX550v does have manual control over iris, shutter and serveral other things.  You don't have control over gain at all, which I hate.  I'm pretty sure this is just a CX550v dressed up with some extra plastic.

Wonderful as this camera may be - the dinosaurial arrogance and over-priced history of Sony has got to be overcome before those familiar with their style of business belly up and pay. That is my opinion.

What are the camera's capabiities for outdoor shoots? I din't see any reference to that.

B&H Reviewers:

Please always include these simple bits of very important information about camcorders:

-PAL, available or not?

-the model number of the battery (so I can see if they match the ones I have).

-Very near similar models.

-Price range right there on the review.

-one expanded picture of the product.

-type BY NAME of the mic input sockets (XLR, mini phone, etc?????).

You may be surprised that B&H info on line is a major source for product info, well beyond the confusing mfg. sites (BAD example is SONY), but these items are often left off, giving me more search time often to not find anything more than fluff.

Thanks, Charles

nice good looking..does it not have a hot shoe....for video light....?                  

 Anyone know what the frame rate is for still capture? I am safe to assume it is as fast as my 7d's at 8 fps...thanks

Will this camera be able to record with a microport (XLR)???

So the Panny HMC40 (with 24p/30p/60p, manual controls, waveform monitor and 3CMOS) is a much better camera, right?

So what's the street price?

It's basically the cx550v with a mic and it "looks" more professional.

BTW I just finished a major shoot using the 550v and couldn't be happier.

It's an amazing little guy.

Typo!  You say  "...A Smooth Slow Record mode increases the camera’s frame rate from 50 frames per second (fps) to 200 fps..." but you also say it is not a PAL camera.  So shouldn't that 50 fps be 60 fps?

The HXR-MC50P has been available in Europe long before the new HXR-MC50U and it records SD in PAL.

All this and still not 24p! 

So... does this camera not offer 24p mode as well as 60i?  The specs don't mention it, but seems like an obvious oversight, if so.

I just unwrapped this camera and have not been able to figure out how to import the video into my MacBook Pro. Any thoughts? I'm using Final Cut Express, but it won't recognize the file format to import and Finder says I don't have an application that will open the video files. In Finder I get a CLIPINF folder with several .CPI files. I also have a PLAYLIST folder with .MPL files and a STREAM folder with .MTS files. Any thoughts?

Does enyone know if it will come able to record in PAL format? Thanks.