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17 Reviews
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206 of 207 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent camcorder
Was after a new hard drive based camcorder to replace my existing Sony mini dv model. After doing some research, decided to get this model. Whilst mini dv models still offer the highest recording quality, I needed convenience, for which this Sony is perfect.

The camera is quite small, but fits the hand well and is very lightweight. At the highest recording...
Published on 10 Mar 2008 by Ray

versus
72 of 78 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
This is a great little (4-star) camera but for one thing -- the quality of the mpeg-2 compressed video, hence the two stars. If you're used to uncompressed video from the older generation of Sony mini-DV Handycams, which recorded to tape, you may find the image on SP (standard play setting) completely unacceptable. The best I can describe it is as a watercolour painting...
Published on 21 April 2008 by R. A. Hambling


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206 of 207 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent camcorder, 10 Mar 2008
This review is from: Sony DCR-SR55E Hard Disc Drive Handycam Camcorder with X25 Zoom (Electronics)
Was after a new hard drive based camcorder to replace my existing Sony mini dv model. After doing some research, decided to get this model. Whilst mini dv models still offer the highest recording quality, I needed convenience, for which this Sony is perfect.

The camera is quite small, but fits the hand well and is very lightweight. At the highest recording quality, the 40gb hard drive holds over 9 hours of video footage. Video can also be recorded directly to memory stick duo. Controls are simple and intuitive, you can simply point and shoot using the easy recording mode. If you want to tweak settings, options are accessed via the 2.7in touchscreen.

Video quality is good for a camera of this class with the limiting factor being the small size of the CCD. However, this camera is all about convenience. Recorded video can be instantly accessed, with each piece of footage showing as a thumbnail. Video can also be easily transferred to a pc via usb. No drivers are required, the camera shows as a removable drive. Sony has wisely put a usb socket on the camera itself. Previous models forced you to use the docking station which required mains power. This means it is possible to shoot video and transfer to your laptop whilst out and about.

Another positive is Sony's decision to record in MPEG format, unlike some others that use their own format. MPEG is universal and can be used by virtually all video editing software, as well as playing back in windows media player without the need for additional codecs.

Overall, this camcorder is ideal for someone who needs good quality video that can be quickly accessed and easily transferred to a pc for editing.
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61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent, Competitively-Priced DigiCam, 19 Jun 2008
By 
S. Bradnam (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony DCR-SR55E Hard Disc Drive Handycam Camcorder with X25 Zoom (Electronics)
Having bought a Sony digital camera 2 years ago, and been very impressed with it, we were looking for a compact digital camcorder with a hard drive that would serve as a family machine, and also work in the classroom. This machine is proving to be an excellent buy for the following reasons:

Amazon have it very competitively priced.

At only 14oz (400grams approx) it is amazingly light and compact

The 40 Gb Hard Drive allows over 20 hours of recording at standard quality (less at high quality).

The battery gives you 2 hours of recording capability between charges.

You do not have to mess around with DVDs in the camera - the hard drive is an ideal medium for recording, and it has Sony's Pro mem stick capability which gives it great functionality with other Sony products and/or card readers in your PC.

Full USB connectivity to your PC/Laptop - and SCART connectivity to the TV

This 55 model is a better buy, and worth the few extra pounds, than the 35 for a number of reasons: 10Gb more hard drive space; a docking station which allows recharge, DVD burn, via USB to your PC, and quick link to your TV for viewing; and a remote control for the cam - excellent and useful accessories; and finally, 1 Megapixel compared with 0.8 Mp on the 35.

The screen is clear, and the touch menu system is easy to use. It has a robust carrying strap, and just feels well-made - having said that a carry case is always a good investment for such a piece of kit!

I am no technical expert, but this is a great-priced and intuitive digicam, with lots of great features. Highly recommended.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My First Video Camera, 6 April 2008
By 
T. Bennett (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sony DCR-SR55E Hard Disc Drive Handycam Camcorder with X25 Zoom (Electronics)
Only had this video camera for a couple of days but so far I think it's brilliant. It's small, lightweight, very easy to setup and use and the quality of the video is excellent. Still images are also pretty good and the supplied software makes it easy to manage your video's and pictures. Having problems playing back the video on my PC after uploading from the camera's hard disk but think this is down to my PC being a few years old so I may need a new video card - hopfully not a new PC! I think this may be due to the video format being MPEG-2 so worth checking if your PC supports this format. The video's play back fine on my work laptop which is only a year or so old.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for capturing those family moments, 4 Nov 2008
By 
Mr. C. Butler (Tyne & Wear) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sony DCR-SR55E Hard Disc Drive Handycam Camcorder with X25 Zoom (Electronics)
After lots of research I settled on the SR55. The reasons for this were

1. Sony products are normally good quality.
2. 40gb hard drive meant I didn't have to carry lots of DVDs as with other camcorders.
3. Small size meaning easy to carry round on holiday.
4. Not overly priced.

What I have found about this camcorder so far is that it is very easy to set up and use. A novice could easily pick this up and be fully conversant within an hour. The docking station is very effective when connecting to a PC and/or TV. I personally have the station attached to my TV and PC together meaning I can connect to either one at the touch of a button. The software included was easy to install and use and the one touch disc burn is very handy. The file formats mean they can be transferred to any PC unlike some other hard drive camcorders on the market.

If you are looking for professional quality video footage then this camcorder is not for you. If, however, you are looking for a fairly cheap and easy to use camcorder to capture family moments, holidays etc then the quality of this is fine. I would recommend transferring to the high quality setting immediately though as the other settings would not really be suitable for buring to DVD or for playback on a large screen TV. At high quality you can capture up to 10 hours of video. The photographs are not very good quality but I did not buy this for still photos so not an issue for me.

Overall, this is a very good product and I am very happy with my purchase. If you have the money to spend on a Sony High Definition camcorder then go for one of them but if you only have around 250 to spend then go for this. You will definately need an extra battery as the one which comes with the battery will only last for about 90 minutes of recording time before needing to be recharged. i am going to try the ex-pro versions on here as they are much cheaper than the Sony versions but will let you know how this pans out.
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plug and play but average picture quality, 27 Mar 2008
By 
Mr. D. Bowen (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sony DCR-SR55E Hard Disc Drive Handycam Camcorder with X25 Zoom (Electronics)
I got sick of messing around with software and cables to convert video footage from my 10 year old Canon camcorder to DVD and started looking at the Sony HDD range. After dismissing the older SR32 and SR52, I started looking at the new SR35 and SR55. I chose the more expensive 55 because of it's larger CCD sensor.
The great thing about this camera is it records to industry standard mpeg2 format and transferring videos to my PC is now a case of plugging into a USB port and copying the files. The camera appears as a removable disk drive to Windows.
Unfortunately, I was a little dissapointed with the quality of images even when using the HQ recording mode. When recording in daylight things aren't too bad but in artificial and low light conditions, the quality of the images aren't too good. I wasn't expecting top end quality from this camera anyway, but was ultimately expecting better. I would say the quality is marginally better that that of videos from my old camcorder which have been converted through my digital TV adaptor.
Overall, I do like this camera for it's small size, low weight and plug and play capabilities. But if you are looking for high quality images, it's probably not a good choice.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the Panasonic, 7 Sep 2008
By 
I. Pearson "Mr P" (West Sussex, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sony DCR-SR55E Hard Disc Drive Handycam Camcorder with X25 Zoom (Electronics)
I had to make a choice between the Sony SR55 and the Panasonic SDR H40. So I went for the Panasonic as it was cheaper. OMG what a load of rubbish that was. So that went back and replaced it with the SR55. It is 10 times better. picture quality is far superior and working with the finished file was also easier as it is in mpeg2, something that was much harder on the Panasonic. All in all it is light, small, sturdy and a good quality home movie camera. Had a lone of a HD Sony and it was really nice but HD used so much computer resource that it was hard work.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good Camcorder, 5 Aug 2008
By 
R. Gabra - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sony DCR-SR55E Hard Disc Drive Handycam Camcorder with X25 Zoom (Electronics)
I bought it 2 months ago, it is very easy to use and the picture quality is very good

The main problem is in the battery which does not last more than an hour recording
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great camcorder, 8 April 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony DCR-SR55E Hard Disc Drive Handycam Camcorder with X25 Zoom (Electronics)
I've had this camcorder for the best part of a week and it's very good.

Pros:
relatively small, (will fit into a small bag not a pocket)
light weight
controls are easy to use
one of the best features is the mpeg recording so there is no conversion needed for the movie files to play e.g. on a standard pc with windows media player.
Once plugged in via usb the camcorder is shown as an external drive, so you can just drag and drop the files.
Video quality is great for home movies.
It copes with low light very well.
You can put a memory card in it and record directly to that.
It has a hot shoe for accessories.
Comes with a remote

Cons:
It uses a hard disk, so I wouldn't like to drop it (although it does have some type of impact sensor)
Doesn't come with a case
Can't switch it on from the remote
Wouldn't really use it as a stills camera because of the low resolution

Conclusion
Good all round take anywhere family movie camcorder.
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72 of 78 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 21 April 2008
By 
R. A. Hambling "romillyh" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sony DCR-SR55E Hard Disc Drive Handycam Camcorder with X25 Zoom (Electronics)
This is a great little (4-star) camera but for one thing -- the quality of the mpeg-2 compressed video, hence the two stars. If you're used to uncompressed video from the older generation of Sony mini-DV Handycams, which recorded to tape, you may find the image on SP (standard play setting) completely unacceptable. The best I can describe it is as a watercolour painting that's had a wet sponge smeared over it. Those who are familiar with this kind of compression artefact will know what I mean. I guess it's what one has to accept from the fact that 13 Gb of video -- the size of an hour's uncompressed mini-DV footage -- is being squeezed down to about 2.7 Gb, which is how you get over 14 hours recording onto a 40 Gb hard disk. It's a big hit, and I found it unacceptable. I mainly film nature subjects outdoors. If you're filming buildings or indoor settings you may find the results more tolerable.

My point of reference for this camera is an earlier one in the Handycam series -- my trusty DCR-PC8 bought in 2003. This is a tape cassette machine that turns in beautiful video for the format with good colour and no compression artefacts.

I couldn't test the HQ (high-quality) setting on my Apple computer as Apple charge for the mpeg-2 codec you need to play movies from this camera, but I doubt HQ is very much better as 8 hours of video are still being squeezed down to about 5 Gb for a hour (from 13 Gb for an hour of uncompressed video). I looked at video made on the SP setting on a good-quality digital television -- A/V connection is easy and you can view clips easily and quickly. The chapter format, whereby each clip appears as a picture icon, makes this delightfully simple. Just touch one and the clip plays.

Another reason for not liking the output of this camera is the rather poor colour. Colours are not well saturated, i.e. they look faded compared to the scene you actually see with your eyes. The DCR-PC8 produces better colour.

Apple Mac users can use this camera -- make the USB connection and you see your (Quicktime) files by clicking on the hard disk icon that appears on the desktop. These can then be dragged to the computer's hard disk. But you need the mpeg-2 codec and an up to date version of Quicktime to be able to play the movies.

Plus points: the lens is amazing and at minimum zoom will focus from almost 0 mm to infinity. The zoom is 25x, and by adding the 2x digital zoom you get a fairly acceptable 50x zoom, which really pulls in faraway subjects. I was able to get a recognisable image of a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the top of a tree at least 80 yards away. A negative point is that fringing can be bad at high zooms. Also I noticed a pale "misty" band appearing in the lower quarter of the image at zoom settings over about 20x.

I love the manual spot focus and metering: put the camera in manual mode, touch the part of the screen you want focused or metered and bingo. The only thing I wondered was whether -- as you'd want -- you can do the two things at the same time. It seems not -- it's either one or the other -- so maybe Sony could implemement simultaneous spot focusing and metering on the next model. Silly not to have done it already. The zoom control is much better than on my old camcorder. No runaway zoom effects!

Overall impression: Nice software on a beautifully engineered camcorder, as you'd expect from Sony. But for some this will be horribly ruined by the poor movie quality on the standard setting. I'd probably have kept mine if there'd been an uncompressed video setting, which would give 3 hours of recording on the 40 Gb hard disk. I guess my reservations about the SR55 apply to the range of SR hard-disk camcorders using mpeg-2 compression.

So why such compromised quality? I guess this camcorder is aimed at people who want to take one on holiday without the hassle of tapes -- it'd easily do up to two weeks worth before the hard disk was full. Or maybe just people who aren't aware how much better quality you can get.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sony DCR-SR55e, exceptional camera!, 25 Nov 2008
By 
Mr. S. D. Mills (Redditch, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sony DCR-SR55E Hard Disc Drive Handycam Camcorder with X25 Zoom (Electronics)
I initially intended to buy the Sony DCR-SR35e with the 30gb hard drive, then I saw that the 55e had the optional accessory shoe which allows you to purchase better microphones and lights etc. The quality is excellent for what I need, and the touch screen is a handy extra! For under 300 this is an extremely good camera and I would highly recommend it to others.

Plus points include the crystal clear LCD, 40gig hdd, docking station, included remote, one-touch DVD burn feature and the touch screen. Don't think twice about purchasing this great camera!
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