41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
A novice's view.,
This review is from: Sony DCR-HC22E Handycam MiniDV Camcorder [20x Optical Zoom, 2.5" LCD] (Camera)
I really didn't have a clue about what would be a good buy but I wanted a small & lightweight video camera that would be easy to use and give good results. Based mainly on reviews on Amazon I went for the Sony Handycam DCR-HC22E.
I am delighted with my purchase & think I made a good choice. You can comfortably hold and operate the camera in one hand and then press the record button with your thumb and the zoom lens with you index finger.There is a strap on the side of the camera which your hand fits tightly under leaving your fingers free to operate the controls whilst the camera feels like it is strapped to your hand and you don't even have to make an effort to hold it. I'm generally a little on the clumsy side but I had no problem quickly gaining good control of the zoom, panning in and out easily whilst filming. All the while the LCD screen which opens outwards provides a good sized viewing area although you can view directly through the lens if you prefer. On the side of the camera is a button which says 'easy'. You press this before starting and then most of the camera settings are adjusted optimally and automatically. It's possible to fairly easily do it all manually via the touch screen on the LCD. but for beginners like me you can get started easily without this. The results are excellent. So far I've only used the optical zoom which is x20. With digital zoom you can actually get x800 but this reduces quality whereas optical zoom doesn't.
What I had been worried about was the ease of transfer to my computer & I took the advice of others on here to purchase a firewire cable which only cost a few pounds. This has proved to be a very good move. I have not even bothered to load the supplied software from Sony. When I connected the camera to my computer via the firewire cable a box appeared on my computer screen asking which program I wanted to use to 'capture video'. I could use Windows Movie Maker or Nero Vision Express which I also have on my computer. I opted for Nero Vision Express because I have greater familiarity with it & it couldn't have been much easier. I pressed 'play' on the camera & 'record' on Nero Vision Express and it produced a Mpeg file on my hard drive & then asked if I wanted to make a DVD which I did. So at the end I have a mpeg file on the computer which I can watch or play the DVD disc on my DVD player and watch it on my TV. I should add that if you want you can simply plug your camera into the TV using the supplied AV cable and watch it on the TV without even bothering with the computer if that is what you want. Doing it this way you would have to keep buying supplies of the cassette tapes that the camera records onto if you wanted to keep what you have done. Doing it my way you can keep recording over the top of the cassette knowing you already have a permanent record on the computer and/or DVD disc.
In the handbook it says something about needing a Sony computer to copy to DVD. Didn't really understand this but as I have described you can make a DVD on any computer if you have software like Nero or Windows Movie Maker.
The HC22E model comes with something described as a Handycam Station. It is a docking station which the camera sits in. Essentially it means that the various connecting cables, mains leads etc. are attached to the docking station rather than the camera itself. I notice some have said this isn't really worth having (you can buy a cheaper model without it) but I don't really agree. I have got my Handycam station set up near my computer already connected to the mains supply and to the computer via the firewire cable. So when I am not using the camera it just sits in the station and the battery is automatically recharging. Also I just switch the camera on and the Nero program starts up for me to capture what I have recorded. So although the Handycam station is not essential it does add a good measure of ease and convenience. You are not messing about with wires & cables everytime you want to charge the battery or capture to the computer. Instead you just sit the camera in the Handycam station.
By the way I almost forgot - the quality of what you record is really really good!
I must stress I know nothing about other similar products so I can't make comparisons I can only talk about this one. If you are like me and don't know much about these things I do not think you will be disappointed if you buy this camera in fact I think you will be delighted. Do what I did and order a firewire cable at the same time and also some mini DV casettes which are what the camera records onto. Surprisingly these are not included with the camera, not even one, and that is my only, very minor complaint.