New wireless, old camera

Disclosure: Affiliate links in article; if you purchase something from an Amazon link on this page, I’ll receive a small amount from Amazon.

Over the course of my almost-15-years working for Sony Electronics, I acquired quite a few cameras – video and still. While most of them are HD only (I only have a couple with 4K), I’m still attached to them. You might be able to get better performance on paper from just about any random off-brand camera these days, but usually those cameras cut corners in the glass, optics, and other departments. I like my camcorders, and especially when I’m using them for a picture-in-picture detail view, a 1080p HD feed is perfectly good enough.

So, this is what goes into the setup off to the left:

  • Sony PJ790V Camcorder (~$400 on ebay in Jun 2024; didn’t look very long though)
  • Wireless HDMI sender + receiver ($50)
  • Micro HDMI <-> HDMI female plug ($10)
  • Video light arm ($37) – I am only using the arm, not the ring – SEE CONCERNS BELOW ON THIS ARM!
  • V-Mount battery (price varies; the one I’m using here was a no-name which cost around $70 when available – any battery with DTAP connector and USB will work)
  • Camcorder DTAP dummy battery ($40)
  • If you want to get more advanced, add a v-mount bracket and a switched DTAP connector. Right now I have to unplug the USB when not in use, or it will drain the battery.
  • I plan to 3D print a v-mount bracket to hold the battery to the base. Right now it’s loose and the battery would probably pull the whole thing over if it fell, but if I were to secure it to the base, the battery’s weight will lend an excellent amount of stability.

    Overall cost: $207 (not counting the camcorder or the ATEM setup that the wireless HDMI is feeding into)

I haven’t used this for a video yet, but hopefully I will soon. Overall, this feels pretty decent, and being truly decoupled from wires is very pleasant. The experience of using a V-mount battery system is worlds ahead of trying to ensure I’ve got an aging Sony camcorder battery charged and ready any time I want to film something, and the USB ports on the battery mean I can also power the HDMI transmitter and even an optional video light if I feel like it. This really is a nice setup for if I feel like moving things around.

Now for the bad bits. There are a lot of poor reviews on the arm I’m using, and if you are using it the way the product pages show, I am inclined to agree. It does a decent job of holding things upright, but the way the joints are set up, the users are kind of encouraged to bend it way over to a point where its center of gravity is too far forward, and the lever action on its little joints is more than they’re set to resist. It is not a spectacular arm from that viewpoint. On the other hand, if your goal is for it to mostly stand up and angle the camera a little bit, it actually does a pretty good job of that.

As for the wireless HDMI system, it’s about what I expect for the price. It has a low bitrate, which leads to some visible artifacting (though it’s conceivable that the ATEM’s preview screen could be doing this). I would probably not be ok with this if I expected my final video to come off of the HDMI feed, but to me the live stream is just a nice bonus feature and my primary video is what’s being recorded on the camera itself. Given that I mostly intend to use the feed from this as a mini picture-in-picture close-up on whatever I’m working on, the artifacting shouldn’t really matter much at all.


Leave a Reply