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on 2 June 2004
Top Camera! This little gem is small, light and simple to use! My local Sony Centre supplied me with a couple of mini DVD-RW's (none available on line) and off I went.
The Zoom is incredible with the assistance of Super still shot. The still picture mode does require a steady hand though as still shot does not appear to be available when taking still photo's.
Hooking the 201 up to a computer was simple with the step by step guide. (Simple that is, once I realised the camera needed to be in 'Play back' mode before the computer could pick it up!)
The night shot facility is clever enough to eak out the last remnants of natural light before it looses colours and fades to black and white. Even at this point, Sony have fitted Super Night Shot plus that attempts to create colours when filming in the darkest of conditions. This is clever but cannot run steady shot mode simultaneously.
Never again do i have to say 'Hang on, i need to wind the video on/back', as the camera always returns to the next available space automatically. With its clear picture and quality sound, I would recommend this camera to anyone.
Delivery of the Camera and NP-QM71D extra life battery was very good (3 days!). The supplier 'DigiFocus' kept me informed of status at every stage after despatch.
However i am still waiting for delivery of a fast charger! So far i have been waiting one month! Come on Amazon, chase your sub contractor suppliers, It's your name that gets tarnished!
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on 23 July 2004
This is a brilliant piece of kit and with the free case promo (make sure you use the promo code) this is a great deal.
It's small, compact, light weight and realy easy to use. The 120x zoom lens is incredible.
The only down-side at the moment is that Sony appear to have a backlog of orders for the RW dics and so there aren't any around at the moment. There's plenty of the R discs available but you'll need at least one RW to get real effieciency out of this machine.
I'm yet to link the machine up to my PC but you get everything you need including the software to able to do this.
All in all, I'm glad I spent the extra cash for the 201 model.
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on 6 January 2005
I love this camcorder. It looks stylish, and it gets the job done. Easy to use, even for a beginner, it can also shoot photographs as well as high-quality movies. It also has 2 great nightshot modes (invaluable for shooting at night) and a fully rotatable LCD monitor. Also, the camera can zoom up to 120 times! However, the instruction booklet tends to go on , and the video-making software isn't very detailed, but it does get the job done. Still, this is a great little package: why would you need a different camcorder for home movies? It has everything you need to develop quality movies! Buy, buy, buy! (And if the price is putting you off, go for the 101E, it's almost as good!)
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on 19 May 2005
Dummy. Thats exactly how I came into the world of camcorders. Having crossed the rubicon and purchased a Sony digital camera earlier in the year, I felt it was time to do the same, and treat myself to a digital camcorder. I knew I wanted a Sony, I'd always trusted the make, and friends who were more technically adept than me recommended them.
But I went into this, as the title suggests, totally and utterly naive to this medium. Didn't even know the difference between a DVD-RW and a DVD-R, so if you're coming at the topic from this perspective read on!
So. big box arrives. Full of stuff. Ignore that, go straight to the main event. Beautifully crafted, small, aesthetically pleasing camcorder. Cautiously look for manual (usually written by geeks, for geeks)-easy to understand, fitting battery-no problem, turning it on (don't laugh!) -simple. Loading the DVD-RW and viewing the display, easy, simple menu system that talks you through it. Instruction manual continues to confound with its easy approach, although it would be nice if things were laid out in the order you'd look to do them-but a minor quibble.
The CD's have to be formatted before you can use them. No idea why, seems pointless, but easy enough to do-took seconds and, again, clearly explained and accessed. So, literally 15-20 mins after opening the box, ready for a trial film, and out in the garden. SO easy to film, to zoom, to follow your subject. Using the LCD screen takes up more battery juice, but its so easy to use, forget the viewfinder! Seven minutes of outdoor film later, ready to view. You have to "formalize" the DVD first however, if you want to watch it on your DVD player or PC. But yet again, quick and easy to do.
Wonderful results. Picture very sharp, sound (including background of bird song etc) clear, images, even on a close zoom have a defined and "real life" clarity. Colours are true, no fade or "glare". Hugely impressed. Impressed that, from opening the box as a complete novice to easy and confident filming and viewing took no more than half an hour. Have barely touched the surface of what this camcorder can do, but now excited by the possibilities. Read the manual in bed last night-how sad is that? But a sure sign of satisfaction and wanting more! An excellent purchase, am delighted. If, like me, you are reading this as a camcorder virgin, then make those first fumbling steps and purchase this model. You won't regret it.
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on 3 December 2004
What a nifty little thing this is! Small enough to fit in your pocket, but with all the power you need. The Zeiss lens gives crystal clarity to both moving and still images and Super NightShot Plus picks up images, that can barely be seen with the naked eye, in complete blackness thanks to infrared technology. I have only one complaint, and that is the price and availability of the 8cm DVD-RW discs. I bought a 5-pack of TDK ones which are easier to get hold of, then I use the simple USB PC connection to burn to standard DVD-Rs, so hopefully I should never need more than those 5. The supplied editing software is also pretty good. Shame it doesn't have a built-in zoom mic, but the ECM HS1 doesn't cost the earth, so that'll be my next purchase. Do I sound like a sales rep? I'm not, I'm just one extremely happy owner.
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on 20 July 2004
A great piece of kit. I like the fact that you can put in a disk, record a bit of fun or something else and then just play it pack via the dvd player (avoiding the hassle of plugging in cables to the tv). The kids love it Small size and also great stills capability. Worth serious examination.
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on 17 May 2005
I debated whether to give this camera 1* or5*! I have 30 years experience of photography and the handycam is at the very top of the amateur range. The Ziess lens is crystal clear with no visible aberrations. Focussing is so quick as to be almost undetectable. It's small enough to carry unobtrusively, designed to fit easily into the hand and is solidly made. The 120X magnification offered is a bit optimistic, as picture quality deteriorates very rapidly on approaching maximum magnification. (Then, we are looking at terrestrial telescope magnification.) Image quality in low light is superb. Nightshot works at a limited range in very low light conditions, and supernightshot will work in total darkness but at only a few frames per second. All told, a superb camera which will deliver all the serious amateur and many professionals can ask of it, and more. I'm very impressed........BUT....why is it sold bundled with the ghastly Pixella software? On connecting to your pc you will be greeted by an interface that looks as if it was designed in the 1960's and is about as useful. Even Windows Moviemaker is better at producing movies than this. As yet, I haven't found a way around this. Pixella is OK for just producing a simple home movie, and that's fine by me. But why, oh why, put a professional quality camcorder on the market at a price that is accessible to the amateur bundled with software that Ken Barlow would use? Having whinged, I still say "BUY IT" You won't find better
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on 3 August 2005
The image quality on playback in a DVD player is excellent. However their are some draw backs.
The discs cost a fortune (you cannot use standard DVD-R discs). In HQ mode the disc lasts 20mins but the quality is exceptional even on a large screen TV.
At Standard/Short Play a disc (1.47gb) will last 30mins. The quality is still excellent and this is the recommended setting.
Long Play mode gives you a full hour from a disc but the reduction in quality is noticeable and you get the kind of quality you'd expect from a Good analogue camcorder.
Battery life is another issue as the supplied battery lasts about 2 discs of normal use. If you only use the viewfinder and do not playback any of your footage and do not create lots of short clips then you could probably stretch this to 3 discs. Extended batteries and other accessories are available but most only at a Sony store and even then you may have to order it in.
Another concern is that after about 1hr of recording it gets hot. If you continue to record too much longer you could possibly loose data or corrupt the entire disc. Due to the limitations of the battery and the length of the discs this is not usually an issue.
On the plus side the device is really compact and easy to use. The features are endless and this model is slightly more than the entry-level DVD camcorder as it also features USB connectivity to transfer movies to your PC. Without this you would have to finalise your disc before your PC could read it and then use alternative software to extract the movie.
The included software won't let you make Starwars Episode VII but it is good enough to edit a family movie. Not got it to work properly myself but had a look at the features.
I've recently seen some double sided discs, which you can record on both sides, and some double length discs, which apparently store twice the amount of data. The first disc isn't as handy as it sounds as it takes a good 5mins to flip the disc due to the long eject and start up time. As to whether the 2nd disc is compatible I don't know as I have yet to try this.
Even despite the draw backs mentioned I still give this 4 stars as the image quality, good night shot mode (be careful the infra-red mode can make some clothes transparent), sound quality, compactness, available accessories (including underwater adapter). The device is also hardwearing - took it on a ski trip and it stood up to the extreme cold well and didn't mind getting a bit of rough and tumble. Also took it to the beach in the summer and no problems in the heat or sandy conditions.
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on 25 May 2004
Sony have not been able to supply further DVD-R or DVD-RW discs. Therefore you are restricted to the capacity of the disc supplied with the Camcorder.
The software supporting the connection of the Camcorder to the Computer does not work. No reply from Technical Support. (SPVD-011 USB Driver).
The Camcorder is great but the administravtive backup is POOR.
Don Hellings
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on 1 April 2014
I would have given this camera a decimal rating as it is another case of a big corporation neglecting to support it's products. The bundled software will not install on a Windows 7 OS. I tried all different ways to get it to work - even trying compatibility modes. In the end my computer would not start without having to do a repair. Fortunately, this worked but I had to reinstall my Norton Firewall and antivirus. The Sony product/customer support are impossible to contact, I was on the phone for ages awaiting an agent to speak to me. Emailing does no good as the 'contact us' page will not 'send'. So, once again be very careful in choosing this camers.
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