132 of 132 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
...but no cigar., 20 July 2006
I'd read all these reviews and decided that yes, it sounded good, I'd take the plunge into video. I knew nothing about MiniDV or any other video formats come to that, but decided to have a go...
And having used it for about 2 weeks...
It's an amazing amount of technology for comparatively very little money. It will give you hours of memories simply due to its ease of use. Just over £200 barely gets you half-decent digital camera, let alone a camcorder. An excellent starting point for the likes of me, an innocent in the world of digital video.
. Very easy to use. Very decent results.
. Video quality viewed through the tv when connected to the supplied 'Handycam station' using the supplied cable/scart adapter is very good. And the supplied remote control comes in useful here too.
. Good sound quality.
. Well designed and well thought-out throughout.
. x20 optical zoom is plenty, but also has an x800 digital zoom for filming moon landings and the like...
Along with the camcorder I bought a Hama Star 8 Monopod which is quick and easy to use, great for reducing camera shake generally and especially when using the zoom (the heavier the monopod the better, this camcorder is very small and very light).
The DCRHC35 is an amazing piece of kit for the money but it's not without its shortcomings.
How well or badly the Sony DCRHC35 fares in comparison to other camcorders on the market, I couldn't say. You get what you pay for?
. Supplied software is not good. Very basic.
. Supplied user manual is not very detailed in some areas e.g. on transferring video to your pc. It suggests that using the supplied USB cable is a good way of doing this but fails to detail the very poor quality of video you'll end up with.
. No Firewire cable is supplied. You'll need one of these and also a Firewire port in your pc if you want to transfer video to your pc at best quality for editing.
. Firewire transferred video quality does deteriorate when saved as mpeg2 on a pc (This applies to all video format conversions regardless of thier source). Saving it as an AVI apparently results in no loss of original quality but very big sized video files, a consideration if you're thinking about later recording your footage to dvd.
. The normally very crisp and clear LCD screen is difficult to see in very bright sunlight.
. No Mini DV tape supplied. Buy a five-pack at the same time. And buy some bigger batteries... (shop around).
And be prepared for quite another learning experience once you start to get into editing your footage! I bought a copy of Sony Vegas Movie Studio video editing software and found it far too complicated. If you're new to it all like me, read software reviews and go for the one that says it's the most 'beginner friendly'. It'll probably have the same basic way of editing your footage as the more complicated programs, so later if you decide to 'upgrade' to a another program you won't find it such a culture shock! You possibly don't need to go any expense at all though (he said with hindsight...), Windows XP comes with built-in video editing software, Windows Movie Maker, which is perfectly adequate for knocking something half-decent together and it recognised the DCRHC35 and imported the video without any trouble.