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$208.88 list($299.99)
1. Sharp VLAH151U Hi8 Viewcam W/
list($1,119.99)
2. Sony DCRTRV27 MiniDV Digital Handycam
list($1,699.99)
3. Sony DCRTRV50 MiniDV Digital Camcorder
list($449.99)
4. Sony CCDTRV608 Hi8 Camcorder with
list($699.99)
5. Panasonic PVDC252 MiniDV Ultra
$349.99 list($499.99)
6. Sharp VLNZ50U MiniDV Compact Digital
list($499.99)
7. Sony DCRTRV140 Digital8 Camcorder
list($399.99)
8. Panasonic PVL452 VHS-C Mulitcam
list($1,299.00)
9. Sony DCRIP5 MicroMV Digital Camcorder
list($449.99)
10. Panasonic SVAV10 MPEG4 e-Wear
list($1,199.99)
11. Sony DCRTRV18 MiniDV Digital Handycam
list($399.99)
12. Sony CCDTRV308 Hi8 Camcorder with
list($649.99)
13. Panasonic PVDV102 MiniDV Multicam
list($599.99)
14. Samsung SCD80 MiniDV Compact Digital
15. Panasonic PV-L352 Analog Camcorder
list($699.99)
16. JVC GR-DVL520U MiniDV Digital
$309.98 list($599.99)
17. Sharp VLNZ100U MiniDV Compact
list($799.99)
18. Sony DCRTRV340 Digital8 Camcorder
list($299.99)
19. Sony CCDTRV108 Hi8 Camcorder with
list($599.99)
20. JVC GRDVL120U MiniDV Digital CyberCam

1. Sharp VLAH151U Hi8 Viewcam W/ 3" Color LCD Screen, Picture in Picture & Remote Control
by Sharp
list price: $299.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063EKI
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sharp
Sales Rank: 2321
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

With its full auto mode, the user-friendly Sharp VL-AH151U Hi8 camcorder enables you to simply point and shoot to capture hours of fun video memories. It also features a picture-in-picture mode, 3-inch LCD, optical and digital zoom capabilities, and digital image stabilization.

Lens
With an optical zoom magnification of 16x, the VL-AH151U also has a digital zoom--which works by electronically enhancing the optical image--that can magnify the picture up to 400 times. The digital image stabilization system keeps the picture steady and solid throughout zooms and camera shakes.

Other Features
With its 270-degree variable angle, you can hold the VL-AH151U in a variety of angles to record over people and objects or close to the ground. You can even record yourself by rotating the view screen 180 degrees. The VL-AH151U also features several digital effects (black and white, sepia, NEG) that can be viewed without affecting the original recording.

Sharp's advanced circuitry allows recording down to less than 1 lux (the light of one candle about one yard away from the subject) and eliminates complex lighting arrangements and harsh floodlight glare. The backlight-compensation feature also adjusts only the dark parts of a shot to optimal brightness levels, and leaves the bright sections untouched, so they don't become glaringly washed out.

Contents
This package comes with the VL-AH151U camcorder, one rechargeable NiMH battery, one lithium-ion battery, AC adapter, remote control (and batteries), AV dubbing cables, wrist strap, and lens cap. ... Read more

Features

  • Hi8 camcorder
  • 16x optical, 400x digital, zoom with digital image stabilization
  • 3-inch color LCD
  • Viewcam body style for easy shooting
  • Features various picture effects and picture in picture mode

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Service!
As a first time buyer I was a little scepticle. I e-mailed once about the tracking of my package because I'd gotten it for my wife for her birthday. Within the next day I had gotten a response with tracking info and all! The package came in right on time for her birthday. Thanks for the great service! The sharp camera works Great!
God Bless!!

5-0 out of 5 stars SUPERB!
Works like a charm. Love it, take it everywhere and video are crisp and clear.

1-0 out of 5 stars horrible service
I contacted this seller 15 times via emails and phones and he/she never responded. I guess s/he is dead or something. The camera I recieved was totally different than the one I pictured. I would never ever buy from this person again in my life.
thanks

5-0 out of 5 stars Great value at a great price.
This little gem has all the right stuff. Auto focus with great clarity, a small price tag and a great size for carrying. I can't wait to take it to Disney World!

5-0 out of 5 stars Brendon says :
If you are on a budget to buy a camcorder then this is the one! I saw the new Panasoinic E- wear which was my first choice but it ... , it doesnt even have ZOOM! It does almost nothing only shoot pictures and download Mp3 . But the SHARP camcorder does alot of things and it is at a good price and it is a good size because i wouldn't buy a big bulky size camcorder !......WHO WANTS THAT!? This has a LCD screen and has picture in Picture and it has ZOOM which is the most important thing in taking pictures from far away or film something far away. ... Read more


2. Sony DCRTRV27 MiniDV Digital Handycam Camcorder w/ 3.5" LCD, MPEG EX, Memory Stick& Mega Pixel Video/ Still
by Sony
list price: $1,119.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006686Q
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 3032
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

The Sony DCR-TRV27 is a solid MiniDV camera with a load of functions, including that of a 1-megapixel digital still camera. Demanding video enthusiasts will find their needs satisfied with a 10x optical zoom, manual focus ring, a night-shooting function, and a large 3.5-inch LCD screen.

Lens
The lens is a famous, high-quality Carl Zeiss construction with a single 1/4.7-inch CCD capturing the image, enabling the camera to produce 520 lines of resolution. The SteadyShot function stabilizes the picture and reduces camera shake. Use the infrared NightShot for shooting at night or in dark settings. The TRV27 also sports a 10x optical zoom, which is enough for most purposes. Turn on the digital zoom, which electronically magnifies the optical image, and reach up to 120 times.

Digital Stills
Digital stills can be stored on a Memory Stick, which works independently from the DV tape system. The camera performs with 1-megapixel resolution, making it capable of sharp images that are up to 1,152 x 864 pixels in size. The camera can also shoot in MPEG movie mode, storing 320 x 240 videos onto the memory stick. MPEG movie lengths range from five seconds to the length allowed by the capacity of your Memory Stick.

Inputs and Outputs
The TRV27 is equipped with the standard DV IEEE 1394 port (also known as FireWire) for a super-fast, lossless connection to a PC or other DV machines. The USB connection is used to transfer digital photos and MPEG movies. The traditional S-video and RCA connections are also present for direct viewing on a television or VHS dubbing.

The DCR-TRV27 comes with one 8 MB Memory Stick. Memory Sticks are reusable, but if you tend to take a lot of digital images, then you'll want a bigger card.

MiniDV Format
MiniDV digital technology delivers clear, sharp video with over 500 lines of horizontal resolution--far superior to the 240 lines of resolution offered by 8mm camcorders. You'll also get minimal color noise interference for a more stable picture.

You'll also get excellent sound quality, recorded in either 12-bit or 16-bit audio recording modes.

  • 16-bit audio includes on set of stereo audio tracks to produce CD-quality sound.
  • 12-bit audio utilizes two sets of audio tracks so you can easily add background music or commentary into your videos while maintaining the existing soundtrack.

This is all delivered on a cassette that's 1/12th the size of a standard VHS tape. A MiniDV tape offers digital recording time of two full hours--20 times the capacity of a CD. ... Read more

Features

  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 120x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 3.5-inch color LCD monitor; color EVF
  • Records still photos onto tape or included Memory Stick media
  • Analog-to-digital conversion with pass-through analog inputs

Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars Little Giant
After reading many reviews and shoping at several stores, I took home my new Sony Handycam. ( DCR-TRV27 )
Don't let the compact size of this little giant fool you!
The power and fetures found in the TRV27 are many you might pay more money for in other cameras. The image quality was great!
I used it to record live music with very nice sound & video.
Low light video was brighter than stills in same light.
I found the controls laid out well and easy to use.
The manual that came with it was good for basic operation, but when geting onto some of the advanced operations it was some times confusing. My bigest dislike about the camera is loading tapes is done from the bottom of the camera. If you have it mouted on a tripod, you must remove it for tape loading. Overal I love the camera and would recomend it to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sony DCR TRV27
Excellent camcorder!

Was looking for TRV30 which went out of production and came across this one.

Pros: 1) clear and vibrant video picture (video 690K pixels and still 1 mega pixels CCD)
2) Fast focusing when using zoom in auto mode
3) simple to use knobs and buttons
4) Value for price
5) still photo fairly good with 1 megapixel rating
6) video looks great on TV (at least in Sony Wega TV) than the LCD screen (May be I have reduce the brightness of screen)

Cons:
1) 10x optical and 120x digital zoom slightly less than the competion JVC, Panasonic, Canon
2) Battery life is short with LCD usage
3) No memory stick holder/case supplied
4) No flashlight/ video light (have to buy separately)

Will recommend for anyone who wants good decent video with high resolution and money to spend.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent value
I've used the DCR-TRV27 for almost a year and a half now. Excellent image quality, light weight, great battery life, data flows through FireWire to computer very well.

Down sides: Sony's web site doesn't even acknowledge they ever made this camera; searching on its model number will not produce any results. So if you lost the manual, the best source to get it in .pdf form is Amazon! Also, the zoom is a little over-sensitive.

These are minor quibbles though. For the money, this camera is a bargain.

5-0 out of 5 stars Versatile and High Quality
I bought this unit for Christmas 2003. After one year, the device is still flawless.

The features are more than enough to satisfy the recreational videographer. I usually use the automatic settings (auto focus, auto brightness, etc.) whenever I can, but I'm glad the device has so many options, if I find myself in a situation where I need them.

The 9-point auto focus is spectacular. While most camcorders use a single point to focus, this unit has a group of 9 points or boxes it uses to determine the optimum focus for the shot. It's really amazing, and almost instantaneous.

I love the small size, and the 3.5" LCD screen is much better than the 2.5". When taking video of people, especially kids, they love it when I flip the screen toward them, so they can see themselves. To them, it's like they are on TV. They tend to be more expressive. When I do this, I just look throught the viwfinder to keep the subject in frame.

It's rugged. My wife dropped it at Disney World 9 months ago. It scratched the case a bit, but otherwise the unit wasn't phased.

I've made a few CD-ROM-based videos on my computer. The Sony TRV27 easily transfers video to the computer through the Firewire connection. The USB connection also works, but the compressed image quality is far worse the the pure Firewire transfer.

It's nice to have the capabilities to shoot digital stils. However, the 640x480 1 megapixel image is too low-res for printing phoro-lab quality prints on a photo inkjet printer.

I think of the digital camera feature as a quite a bit above most cell phone cameras, and quite a bit below most 3+ megapixel cameras.

Battery life is great. I have not yet bought a spare, and haven't needed it. If I shot more video, I would probably get one of the larger batteries, which would, however, make the unit a little heavier.

All in all, this is an excellent product. I'm sure the newest models are even better. Sony costs a bit more than some of the other brands, but when it comes to camcorders, you can't beat 'em.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not satisfactory
I bought this camcorder 11 months ago. Used it 7-8 times. Now the tape is getting stuck. It is difficult to get through with Sony customer support and when I get in, they said parts are under warranty , but labour is not. It costs usd 220 to repair it. Picture under low light is not good. ... Read more


3. Sony DCRTRV50 MiniDV Digital Camcorder w/ 3.5" Touch Panel LCD, Mega Pixel Video/ Still, Memory Stick &Network Capability
by Sony
list price: $1,699.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006686S
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 4319
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

From its professional Carl Zeiss lens to the 3.5-inch LCD, and everything in between, the DCR-TRV50 screams quality. It is unequivocally Sony's top consumer model, and well worth the expense.

Imaging System
The foundation of any camcorder is the imaging system: the lens and CCD. The lens is a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar. While less expensive models may have a larger zoom, the truth is that the larger the optical zoom, the larger the chance that any lens defects will show up in the video you are shooting. A 10x zoom is a good tradeoff in terms of image quality and zoom length. Additionally, Super SteadyShot technology helps keep your video from suffering from the common malady known as handshake, an unavoidable consequence of high zoom levels. Super SteadyShot essentially means image stabilization. There are varying types of image stabilization, but the Super SteadyShot variety moves the internal mechanisms of the camcorder to compensate for any camera movements. Finally, the lens on the TRV50 also has a manual focus ring--a step better and more immediate than the clunky interface most often used in digital camcorders with a manual focus.

The CCD in the TRV50 is of enough resolution to capture 1,360 x 1,020 digital stills onto the included 8 MB Memory Stick--about a 1.38-megapixel image. That resolution is currently tops in the digital-camcorder world (the digital still resolution of camcorders hasn't risen nearly as fast as that of digital cameras), and is good for prints up to about 6 by 9 inches. As far as video is concerned, Sony claims the high-resolution CCD translates into a video resolution of around 530 horizontal lines.

LCD
LCDs are probably the best way to frame your shots on a camcorder, and that usually means the larger the screen the better. At 3.5 inches, the argument could be made that the TRV50 offers the best, just based on size. The only downside? The larger the screen the larger the battery drain. This isn't that serious an issue, as there are many other factors in battery life besides LCD size.

Inputs/Outputs
Two items jump out as features that should be included on all camcorders: a headphone jack and a mic input. Not only do most camcorders have poor built-in microphones, but also they are often situated too near the tape mechanism, meaning you get the annoying throbbing sound of the tape pulled through the heads. Additionally, a headphone jack takes some of the guesswork out of your audio sources. For example, if you're recording a child's presentation, you'd most likely want to make sure you can hear the child.

Of course, the TRV50 also has a slew of other ports, including the standard IEEE 1394, which is used to transfer footage to a computer digitally. Other important ports include S-video, a special AV port, and USB for transferring stills and use with the USB-streaming mode. Additionally, the analog ports (S-video, special AV), allow you to archive your analog footage. Sony has taken the extra step of making the ports pass-through, which means you can plug an IEEE 1394 cable into your computer and archive directly to that without going through the extra step of recording to a tape first.

Special Features
USB streaming essentially allows you to use your camcorder as a Webcam, broadcasting 320 x 240 video at 30 fps. It's a fun feature that should allow you to get even more use from an already loaded machine.

Finally, Sony also added an MPEG movie mode; essentially, this allows you to record movie clips onto a Memory Stick. While the quality won't replace MiniDV anytime soon, it's easier to shoot short MPEG movies and e-mail them than it is to edit your DV footage to a manageable length, render it into a format that's easy on the bandwidth, and send it off.

Included with the DCR-TRV50 are a power adapter, InfoLithium battery, remote control, stereo AV cable, lens cap, shoulder strap, 8 MB Memory Stick, USB cable, and a software CD-ROM. ... Read more

Features

  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 120x digital, zoom with Super SteadyShot image stabilization
  • 3.5-inch color LCD and color EVF
  • Records 1.3 megapixel stills onto included 8 MB Memory Stick
  • USB streaming turns your camcorder into a webcam

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars great machine
This is a very nice camcorder with the best video imaging available in a single-chip camcorder. Video pictures are crystal clear, digital images are the best of any consumer level camcorder anywhere, and the manual switches on the camcorder put you in control of important functions. i must say this is better than any other camcorder. buying this camcorder is not overkilling. if you want good quality go for this. but if you think this is expensive then you have choice. you can go for trv27. but remember you cann't compare TRV50 with TRV27 becoz the features are different. TRV50 is latest....for this century.

5-0 out of 5 stars real handycam
Sony's MiniDV DCR-TRV50 is their upgrade to the popular DCR-TRV30. The camcorder is a standard form factor, with many neat features and good still quality. The DCR-TRV50 carries a street price around [$$$].

The Sony DCR-TRV50 has a 1/4 in. 1.5 Mega Pixel HAD CCD. The effective video pixels used is 970K while the still is 1,390K, but more about the still performance later. The DCR-TRV50 has a 10x optical, 120x digital zoom while the horizontal resolution is rated at 530 lines, the top for the MiniDV format.

An upgrade of the DCR-TRV50 over the DCR-TRV30 is the addition of a touch panel LCD screen. The LCD is 3.5 in. and 246K pixels. The camcorder also has a color viewfinder. When you first hear of the touch screen feature you?re likely to think it?s frivolous, but it?s actually quite useful. Using the touch screen LCD you can adjust the focus and the exposure. If you have an area that is under or over exposed or an area that you want to put in focus all you have to do is touch on it an the camcorder adjusts automatically. This is a great intermediate between automatic and manual control. It gives the inexperienced user a way of tackling the camcorder controls which can be very daunting. Sharp was the first company to add a touch screen LCD but I think Sony has really taken this option and flown with it. It?s a really great feature, especially for those less experienced camcorder users.

5-0 out of 5 stars all neat
if you are planning to buy a good handycam go for trv50. if you are planning to buy trv950 or sony vx2000 please have a look this camera too. i bought this camera last month....it is really nice. picture quality is excellent. still mode is wondeful and touch screen is very useful. the only gimik is bluetooth technology, but other features are just fantastic...you cann compare trv50 with trv950 only.the difference is only 1ccd and 3 ccd. but otherwise you will not feel much difference. i recomend this handycam to semi professionls too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Feel like professional
I bought Sony DCRTRV50 MiniDV Digital Camcorder last week. i can say that this is the camera of my dream. this is my second handycam. before this i used sony trv120. even i have tried sony trv900 too (trv900 was good). but trv50 is very cool. nice features. very good video quality. if you want to buy a handycam in mid range (i prefer not very expensive like trv900/950 or vx2000) this the machine you will love. compact size, looks good, video quality is just like professional and still is far better than my 1.3 mega pixel fuji camera. sound quality is really nice. just check the trv50 in stores, i'm sure you would love to buy this camera for this price. i must say this is the camera for 21st century. a new generation handycam. ... Read more


4. Sony CCDTRV608 Hi8 Camcorder with 3.0" LCD, Video Light & USB Streaming
by Sony
list price: $449.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000630MM
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 2545
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

In a world increasingly dominated by digital, Hi8 offers a refreshingly good format for home video. Despite the big press that MiniDV, Digital8, and the new MicroMV have been getting, many people still prefer the tried and true Hi8. It offers the highest quality outside of digital and is a good choice for everyday shooting. As long as you just want to document your family's life, and send videos to grandma, you aren't really giving anything up.

The CCD-TRV608 is Sony's flagship Hi8 camcorder, and it offers an assortment of features that make it great for the average home videographer. Sporting a 3-inch color LCD and 20x optical zoom, there's really no situation that the TRV608 won't shoot well. Especially when you add in the NightShot mode, which switches the camera to an infrared shooting mode, and SteadyShot image stabilization, which helps eliminate those annoying shakes that accompany high zoom levels.

In addition to a few fader and picture effects, as well as some titling options, the CCD-TRV608 offers a unique USB streaming mode. Essentially, you connect your camcorder to a PC via USB, and with the addition of some provide software, you can stream live audio and video from the camcorder, capture stills, and playback recorded video scenes. ... Read more

Features

  • Hi8 camcorder
  • 20x optical, 560x digital, zoom with SteadyShot image stabilization
  • 3 inch color LCD and black and white EVF
  • NightShot infrared mode for lowlight shooting
  • USB port for USB streaming when connected to a PC

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good camera
This is my first camcorder of any kind. i have used other types, VHS, VHS-C, 8mm, but this is probably the best that i have used. It's easy to learn the basics with and takes really great videos. The USB streaming capability is really easy to use and works great. Pixela seems to pixilate(spelling?) the movies, but it's nothing that really hurts and it's that severe. The NightShot is great, the lamp is really good, and the camera has a few little effects for the pictures. No big complaints except a remote would be nice for playback, and a colored viewfinder. But with a 3" color LCD screen, the chance that someone will use the viewfinder is small. i recomend this camera to anyone who doesn't want to spend a lot on a good quality camera.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for some, bad for others
This overall is a great camcorder. I used it for a year and had very little trouble with it. I've made a list of good and bad things about this camcorder that will hopefully help you in your decision.

First the good stuff

1.It has a nice big LCD screen for easy viewing when recording

2.There are plenty of different features for recording in different lights

3.It has OK sound and picture quality

4.It is good for families, groups, teachers or anyone else who just needs a good quality camera for a cheap price that they can use to to record family outings exc...

Now for the bad stuff.

1. The size of the camera is a little big. it is hard to hold for long periods of time and somewhat heavy (if you have a tripod and you use it this shouldn't be too much of a problem).

2. the battery life could be better (only about 50-60 minuets with the LCD screen).

3. the sound is a bit metallic, and the picture doesn't show reds or yellows well.

4.if you have the need to edit your recordings it will be very hard and somewhat expensive with this camera. If you want to edit, I would definitely recommend a digital camcorder instead because it will be much easier for you to edit your videos (this was my big mistake and I had to sell it for a Sony digital).

If this review has helped you or if you want to ask me any technical questions, e-mail me at dave_lancer@hotmail.com

2-0 out of 5 stars Ignore the USB Streaming
While this is a decent Analog camcorder, don't expect much from the USB streaming feature. The maximum frame rate over USB is 320x240, which is half the minimum recommended for creating a DVD out of a home movie. If you want to get the video from your tapes onto a computer or DVD, expect to purchase a separate video capture device or card.

To make matters worse, the bundled software doesn't let you capture more than thirteen minutes of video at a time before it crashes and claims the drive is out of disk space. regardless of how much disk space you really have avaliable. This happens even when recording to NTFS volumes, which do not have the 4 gig file size limit of Fat32.

Most third party programs will also have issues using the camcorder's USB streaming features. The drivers create an eclectic audio device that many video capture programs can't see, so you'll have to use a separate audio cable unless you like the idea of not having any sound. Roxio's products are among the many that can't find use audio driver.

In short, it's a decent camcorder, assuming you compare it to other devices as though the USB streaming feature didn't exist, because for all practical purposes, they doesn't.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great camera, but missing important feature
This is a great camera. We use it a lot. I love the night shot, the steady shot works great and it has a lot of other nice features. Everything on it works great all the time. The light metering and auto focus work very well too.

There is only one problem that really frustrates me. It has a right and a left microphone and records in stereo, but there is no way to get stereo playback through the analog A/V output. That's certainly one of the cheapest things I've seen in products that I've bought. It's very disapointing from a name like Sony.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for the money
The picture on this camera is good and it needs very little light. However, the colors are not quite as accurate as I had hoped for Hi8. Perhaps digital would have been better, but the price was a factor. I shopped around and found Amazon had the best price available. ... Read more


5. Panasonic PVDC252 MiniDV Ultra Compact Digital Camcorder with 2.5" LCD, SD Slot & Digital Still Capability
by Panasonic
list price: $699.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000065AGA
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Sales Rank: 909
Average Customer Review: 4.91 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

With an ultracompact design that weighs a little over a pound, the Panasonic PV-DC252 is a feature-filled camcorder that can easily be toted around on vacations and other special events. It features a large 2.5-inch LCD screen, a 10x optical zoom, remote control, and digital still capability with a SD memory slot.

Lens
With an optical zoom power of 10x, the DC252 also has a digital zoom, which works by electronically enhancing the optical image, and can magnify the picture up to 700 times. The digital image stabilization system keeps the picture steady and solid throughout zooms and camera shakes.

Digital Stills
You can store your digital stills directly onto tape or onto the included 8MB SD memory card using the camcorder's memory slot. The camcorder can be switched into a mode called progressive photo shoot, so that images captured will not have the jagged lines of interlaced video and will remain clear and undistorted. The digital stills are in JPEG format and have a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, good enough for e-mail or posting on the Internet.

Inputs and Outputs
The DC252 comes with the standard DV IEEE 1394 port (also known as FireWire) for a super-fast, lossless connection to a PC or other DV machines. You can also connect to your PC via a USB connection. S-video and RCA connections are also provided for direct viewing on a television or VHS dubbing.

You can save video and still photography on removable Secure Digital (SD) cards. One 8 MB SD card is included with the PV-DC252.

MiniDV Format
MiniDV digital technology delivers clear, sharp video with up to 500 lines of horizontal resolution--far superior to the 240 lines of resolution offered by 8mm camcorders. You'll also get minimal color noise interference for a more stable picture.

Using Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) technology, Panasonic's MiniDV camcorders provide pristine sound. Choose from 12-bit or 16-bit audio recording modes.

  • 16-bit audio includes a set of stereo audio tracks to produce CD-quality sound.
  • 12-bit audio utilizes two sets of audio tracks so you can easily add background music or commentary into your videos while maintaining the existing soundtrack.

This is all delivered on a cassette that's 1/12th the size of a standard VHS tape. A MiniDV tape offers digital recording time of two full hours--20 times the capacity of a CD. ... Read more

Features

  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 700x digital, zoom with digital image stabilization
  • 2.5-inch color LCD; color EVF
  • Records digital stills up to a resolution of 640 x 480 onto included 8 MB SD card; also compatible with MultiMediaCards
  • Ultracompact size

Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars very good value
I did quite a bit of research before buying this camera. The online reviews were favorable, and just before buying it, I also noticed that Consumer Reports (CR) had rated its video quality as being very good (in the top 3).

The camera is fairly compact, not as compact as the Canon Eluras or the small Sonys, but it is more comfortable to hold because of its horizontal format.

Sound quality is simply excellent. The only extraneous noise picked up is the zoom motor. I cannot hear the tape transport motor on playback (this is a problem with some of the small Canons and Sonys). Video quality in good light is also very good. Good light includes indoor shots in a reasonably well lit room. In dim lighting, colors fade and the video does become a bit grainy. Otherwise, color fidelity is very good using the automatic white balance.

Image stabilization is very good except when at full zoom, but I understand this is a common phenomenon. CR indicates that other cameras have better stabilization.

I found the best playback option was connected to my TV using an S-video cable. The video looked incredibly good, much better than with the supplied composite video cable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Small, [inexpensive], Good
The old programming expression is "Fast, [Inexpensive], and Good: Choose two.". That can be extended to camcorders by changing it to "Small, [inexpensive], and Good: Choose two.".

However, the PVDC252 manages lets you choose all three. It is relatively [inexpensive], quite small, and very good. You can get smaller cameras (but not much), [inexpensive]cameras, and better cameras, but this one is a nice compromise between all three.

Size: It is smaller than my digital camera. Fits perfectly in your palm (hence 'palmcorder'), which makes it very easy to hold steady, unlike many of the smaller models. Despite its small size, the controls are fairly easy to use, with the exception of the 'menu' button, which is awkward to hit one-handed. I'm not quite sure how they manage to fit the minidv tape in there!

Quality: Image quality seems fine. Perhaps a little washed out on cloudy days, but this is not a surprise using any camera. Audio quality is EXCELLENT. Using the built in microphone on a fairly windy day, a person standing several feet away from the camera talking in a soft voice is perfectly audible. There is NO tape mechanism noise, which seems to be problem with other cameras in this price range.

Cost: If you pay more for a camera, you would get either 1) smaller size (not necessarily a good thing, this guy is small enough), or 2) Better image quality. You probably wouldn't notice much difference in image quality, unless you stepped up to one of the 'prosumer' cameras that'll set you back a couple thousand or so.

My only gripes are the somewhat clunky menu system (however, it's not really necessary for day-to-day operation), the slow tape eject mechanism (not so bad considering that they probably need to rearrange space and time to fit the tape in the camera), and the somewhat awkward position of the various plugs, a common problem on all small cameras.

Bottom line: Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars compact size, easy to use, HIGHLY RECOMMENED
I don't know how they built this camera, it is so small! But at the same time, it is fully packed with nice features and records sharp picture and superb sound.

First Video, this camera delivers 500 lines of horizontal resolution which delivers digital quality pictures. Features many special effects and fader, titles and PIP. Magicpix doesn't really do anyting, so don't buy it for that reason. 10x optical zoom is quite sufficient, yet 700x digital zoom is useless. This camera feature AV and S-video plugs for TV connections, and i-link/firewire/IEEE1394 for easy access for computer transfering for editing.

Audio is amazing, you hear no motor noise even in the quietest places. Audio pickup is superb with zoom mic, easy to hear people talking from a distance. Also feature wind cut. Choose between 12 or 16 bit sound.

Extras are quite good. Built in still camera is a nice feature, but don't expect 4 megapixel quality pictures. the included 8mb SD card stores between 50 and 100 pictures. Choose from normal, fine or eco mode. USB and software included for viewing photos on computer. Battery has quite decent life, for its size. up to 1 hour (or more with viewfinder). The LCD screen is easy to view, but the viewfinder is hard to see in, but at least its colour unlike other models. All controls are easy to reach. Includes lens cap, charger, battery, adapter, shoulder strap, 8mb SD card, IR and wired remote, AV and USB cable and editing software. I would suggest buying a good case. The Panasonic palmcorder camcase 7 fits quite well, with loads of room for accesories.

CONCLUSION: GREAT BUY. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. BLOWS JVC, SONY and CANON AWAY.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tiny, gorgeous, nice to use, very high quality results.
In Europe this model is called the NV-GS5, which is what I have, but it's otherwise identical.

I've had it a few months now. I bought it after lots of research, and after rejecting the "upright" style cameras because they're so hard to hold steady. This little Panasonic is still very small (and cute) but you have a chance of holding it reasonably steady. Having said that, even with the image stabiliser on, you will need a tripod to make decent use of even the 10x optical zoom.

Panasonic's main selling points for this camera seem to be its ability to record stills, MPEGs and voice clips onto SD card, but if you've already got a digital stills camera, you'll not be too excited about stills at 640 x 480, maximum.

Forget that, and notice the other advantages. As the top model in this range (the 352 is really quite different and a lot bigger) it gets a colour viewfinder, and an analogue AV input. That could be really useful. There appears to be a connector for just about everything you can think of, including the all-important external microphone. The lens has a screw mount for proprietary conversion lenses and filters too.

Performance wise, I have been very pleased indeed with the results. It focuses with alacrity (almost never caught out), produces a really crisp clean image in all but the murkiest conditions, and generally looks surprisingly close to broadcast quality. Sound is pretty good using the built-in microphone: lots of atmosphere. Unlike some mini-DV camcorders, the microphone is mounted right at the front, so you only notice camera noise when you film in a very quiet location.

It's quite easy to use, though you'll need to spend a little time with the horrible instruction book before you can use it confidently. At first I kept forgetting which menu contained which control. But some controls are easily accessible, like the manual exposure (nice to have) and focus wheel. Most things fall to hand well, though the menu button requires a double-jointed index finger...

On the whole though, I have few criticisms. It's small, looks great, is quite easy to use and most important, produces excellent pictures and sound. I'm very impressed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great ultra-compact DvCam
The PVDC252 wasn't really on my list for Christmas as I was eyeing vetical-type Dvcams, specifically the JVC GRDVM76U. Then I happen to see the PVDC252 in an electronics store and it really caught my attention. The 'silver barrelled' lens looked really nice, plus the cold shoe attachment, and of course the price caught my attention. It had everything the JVC had, only that it is in the traditional 'horizontal' design. I played around with the unit and it grew on me quite quick. I did final research and even looked up the Sony MicroMv DCRIP5, but I kept going back to the PVDC252.

A full week before Christmas, I bought the PVDC252 - and I never looked back :-) The dvcam was really good for the price and yes, very compact (length-wise). It came with a lot of goodies (IR remote, wired remote, USB cable, charger/adaptor). Handling of the unit is simple and controls are wel within reach. The video output is quite exceptional and PC connectivity via Firewire is a snap (I used Adobe Premiere to capture my vids to my HD).

Got an additional battery (Lenmar LIP120) as a backup. The main battery works just great too, giving 1hr+ of recording time. The LCD is clear and easy to view, while the viewfinder is also easy to use, despite being quite small. It also has a built-in speaker so you can hear audio while playing back your recorded movies on the unit. Secure Digital slot for taking snapshots - of course don't expect digital cam-quality images - it's still best to leave that to dedicated digital cameras and IMHO, the digital 'photoshot' features in DV camcorders is just an extra convenience, not a replacement for digital still cameras. Nevertheless, the photoshots are decent for email/electronic scrapbook purposes. :-)

The zoom lens works smoothly and can be easily controlled. Audio pickup is very good. The camera feaures a 'zoom mic' too, which allows you to zoom in the audio in the same location you are zooming your view. And the wind cut feature is good to help mask wind noise while recording. And one thing very noticeable (or not noticeable) is that no motor noise gets recorded in (unlike some Canon models).

Conclusion: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - worth the price! And get a good dvcam bag with it (the Case Logic DVC-30 Camcorder case fits very well, check it out here in Amazon's listing). ... Read more


6. Sharp VLNZ50U MiniDV Compact Digital Viewcam with 3" Color LCD Screen
by Sharp
list price: $499.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063EKO
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sharp
Sales Rank: 3366
Average Customer Review: 2.86 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

The Sharp VL-NZ50 is a great entry-level digital camcorder, featuring a large 3-inch LCD monitor, 10x optical and 300x digital zoom, and digital image stabilization.

Lens
With an optical zoom magnification of 10x, the VL-NZ50 also has a digital zoom--which works by electronically enhancing the optical image--that can magnify the picture up to 300 times. The digital image stabilization system keeps the picture steady and solid throughout zooms and camera shakes.

Other Features
With its 270-degree variable angle, you can hold the VL-NZ50 in a variety of angles to record over people and objects or film close to the ground. You can even record yourself by rotating the view screen 180 degrees.

The built-in speaker allows on-the-spot playback with sound for checking and viewing video footage anywhere. An on-screen recording guide helps you line up landscape footage and can be used as a guide for easy framing of subject matter. The backlight compensation feature corrects exposure in poor lighting conditions.

The VL-NZ50 also features several digital effects (black and white, sepia, NEG) that can be viewed without affecting the original recording.

Inputs and Outputs
The VL-NZ50 comes with the standard DV IEEE 1394 port (also known as FireWire; Sharp refers to this connection as iLink) for a super-fast, lossless connection to a PC or other DV machines.

MiniDV Format
MiniDV digital technology delivers clear, sharp video with over 500 lines of horizontal resolution--far superior to the 240 lines of resolution offered by 8mm camcorders. You'll also get minimal color noise interference for a more stable picture.

The camera also features excellent sound quality, recorded in either 12-bit or 16-bit audio recording modes.

  • 16-bit audio includes one set of stereo audio tracks to produce CD-quality sound.
  • 12-bit audio utilizes two sets of audio tracks so you can easily add background music or commentary into your videos while maintaining the existing soundtrack.

This is all delivered on a cassette that's 1/12th the size of a standard VHS tape. A MiniDV tape offers digital recording time of two full hours--20 times the capacity of a CD.

Contents
This package comes with the VL-NZ50 camcorder, one rechargeable lithium-ion battery, AC adapter, tripod adapter, remote control (and batteries), AV dubbing cables, wrist strap, and lens cap. ... Read more

Features

  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 300x digital, zoom with digital image stabilization
  • 3-inch color LCD monitor
  • Viewcam design means point-and-shoot operation
  • Features various digital effects and shooting modes

Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Value and Design - Not only for starters -
Cheap does not mean bad. After an extensive review, I chose this camera because it provides the best value for the money, and it has the key elements what you should look in a new camera:
Format: MiniDV
Very compact and stylish, in order to be able to carry it to Disneyland or Six Flags and go to all attractions without problem (it fits in a regular camera case), Standard 10X Optical Zoom.
Backlight and record buttons are very handy, which make the camera easy to operate.
I gave it 4 stars because a major drawback: You can not convert your Old VHS videos to MiniDV, instead you have to borrow a camera from a friend or buy a firewire card for your PC with analog inputs.
USB Streaming included on the model NZ100 simply does not worth the price difference, because for less than that money you can buy the firewire card for the PC. The only input available is from another camcorder via firewire cable, in order to make digital copies of your MiniDV Videos.
The NZ50 although has a very nice standard features, like the 270ยบ rotating lens, Effects like sepia, BW, widescreen mode and audio dubbing, that other cameras that cost a few bucks more do not have.
For me it is not important to capture low resolution still images in a camcorder (although this camera can, but it is in tape), color viewfinder (it is supposed that you buy a camera with LCD in order to use it) and other built-in features, because for the money saved buying this cheap camera, you can buy an extra battery (Energizer 730: money), a Firewire card with cable (Adaptec 4300: money), a tripod (money) and a good 2 Mega pixel Camera (not even the money dollar digital camcorders have that resolution, and you can have one good 2 mega pixel camera for less than money), and have a complete good solution for the actual digital era without expending too much.

4-0 out of 5 stars Spec typo
I haven't used the NZ50U, but be aware that the ... spec given above is wrong. The camera has a 10X optical zoom, not 26X. Also, a black version, the NZ55U, is due out in June.

I will say that I had excellent luck with the Sharp NZ10U. While I found it awkward to hold with one hand (my index and middle fingers covered the microphone and lens), its sound and image quality were quite good. The NZ50/55 appears to have the same basic construction.

1-0 out of 5 stars Suddenly stopped working
I purchased this camera in August of 2002 and have taken very good care of it. I have only used for aprox. 8 hours of recording. I powered on the camera, finished the tape that was currently in the recorder, and it suddenly powered off. I had noticed the battery was fully charged when I was recording so I knew it wasn't a battery issue. We then found there was no way to manually eject the tape since it is a motorized ejection process. We contact Sharp who suggested to remove the battery and reseat (which we had already tried) and if that did not help then it would have to be sent to a service center for $$$'s. The quality is very disappoining considering the camcorder was used so little and was always taken care of. We eventually took the camcorder apart ourselves destroying it just to salvage the video tape inside since it is more cost effective to purchase a new recorder than to send $$$'s to repair a junk camcorder.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice camera - when it works.
I have had this camera for a year and it is has served me well. It takes great video and I have been able to copy and edit the video on my PC to produce playable VCD's.
Operationally, holding the camera is a bit awkward, and I found it hard to go from a viewfinder to using the screen for framing the shot.
Unfortunately just after the warranty finished, it would not switch on! The batteries/adaptor checked out OK. A search on the internet has shown this to be a common problem, so I wouldn't recommend anyone purchasing what appears to be a flaky design.

1-0 out of 5 stars Stopped working after barely 1 year of ownership
I bought this camera and used it a few times. I think I filled a total of 6 tapes with video. I also used the still picture option a few times. I was pleased with the camera until one day I pulled the camera out to use it and it wouldn't turn on. Initially I thought that the battery was dead and that maybe the charger cord had a short in it or something and wasn't charging the battery, which has a very short operating time. I've always taken good care of the camera and when not in use I kept it in a padded camera bag. So I put the camera away and made a mental note to test the charger which I did a few days later. The charger tested fine and when I pulled the camera out to investigate further, it turned on and worked fine. About a month later I took the cam out to film my 5 year old play soccer and the camera was dead again. Apparently for good this time. I can't even eject the tape thats inside. Also, while I was inspecting the camera, I noticed that something was rattling around inside the camera. Therefore I opened the cassette door and turned the camera upside down, and two very tiny screws fell out of the camera into my hand. The screws are about the size of those used in eyeglass frames, very small, and I have no idea as to how they became unscrewed, or where they were located. Needless to say I am very disappointed. All of this conveniently occured after the measly 90 day warranty expired. I took the camera to a local electronics repair shop (Sharp only has 2 or 3 service centers in the whole US) who told me that Sharp is not very cooperative in releasing service manuals for their products and that this repair will cost me [$$$] because he will have to buy the manuals. Sharp wants even more money than that to repair it. Right now I could buy a brand new one for [$$$]. I am now an ex-customer of Sharp products and I'm telling everybody I know who's even considering purchasing a Sharp product about my experience. ... Read more


7. Sony DCRTRV140 Digital8 Camcorder with 2.5" LCD, Video Light & USB Streaming
by Sony
list price: $499.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000634T4
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 2298
Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

You can find digital camcorders for slightly less than the Sony DCR-TRV140, but you won't get Sony's quality and extensive feature list. Captured video proved to be of high quality, whether we viewed it on our TV or transferred it to our PC via the speedy FireWire connection or USB.

The USB connection can also be used for setting up the TRV140 as a Webcam via their USB streaming technology. It took some playing around with the Pixela Image Mixer software before we could get the device working properly. In general, a dedicated Webcam would be a better device for this purpose.

But as a digital camcorder, we were quite pleased with the TRV140. Its 20x optical zoom (and 560x digital zoom) allowed for extreme close-ups, while the Super NightShot infrared mode allowed us to record in complete darkness. The mode automatically adjusted the shutter speed during night recording, resulting in a brighter, sharper image than Sony's normal NightShot mode.

The TRV140 isn't without faults. It won't accept inputted video or play back old Hi-8 or 8mm tapes recorded in analog mode, and the battery lasted only about an hour during our tests. But you can purchase Sony's optional NP-FM91 battery pack, which extends battery life to over 10 hours.

The TRV140 has the typical boxiness of the Handycam, but it weighs only a little more than two pounds, with battery. It's comfortable to hold, and its button layout will prove quite familiar to previous Handycam users. It also comes with a remote control for handling the camera's functions from a distance.

Selling for under $500, the TRV140 is a great digital camcorder for users who intend to edit video on their PCs for distribution to the Web for or burning to CD or DVD. --J. Curtis

Pros:

  • 20x optical zoom
  • Super NightShot mode
  • High-quality digital video

Cons:

  • Somewhat short battery life
  • Can't play back analog Hi-8 or 8mm
... Read more

Features

  • Digital8 camcorder
  • 20x optical, 560x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD and black and white EVF
  • Features a digital photo mode
  • Comes with NightShot mode and digital faders and effects

Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars High Quality Digital8 Recording
The DCR-TRV140 is Sony's lowest level digital camcorder, but it is not low-level at all. It records picture at a stunning 520 lines of resolution and sound in PCM digital stereo. You can truly see the difference in picture quality between Digital and Hi8 or VHS-C. The Digital8 system records digital pictures on inexpensive Hi8 tapes. It's got an incredibly large 20x optical zoom. Optical zoom is the most importaint type of zoom because there is no loss of picture quality. It also has a 560x digital zoom which is less importaint because, the farther you zoom, the worse the picture quality gets. One of the most amazing features of this camcorder is the Infared Super NightShot. What it does is project an infared light, invisible to the human eye, allowing you to see in no light at all. It comes with various special effects and fade options. The FM30 InfoLithium battery allows use for 3 hours (1 hour w/LCD). It includes an i.Link DV Interface (IEEE1394) for editing video on your computer. It also allows you to have streaming video via USB. This camcorder is a good, moderately priced introduction to digital video with features surpassing those of other brands.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Digital8 is all you need for hi-res digital videos!
WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF DIGITAL8 a 520 line video & hi-fi stereo!!

The DCR-TRV140 Digital8 Video camera recorder (Digital Only). This camcorder is awesome. This is Sony's introductory level Digital8 model. The DCR-TRV-140 is a low price, high value, versatile and sophisticated video cam. This is all you will ever need.

Bottomline - This is what you get; uses Hi8 or Digital8 video tape (the simple difference is a 120 minute Hi8 tape converts to a 60 minute Digital8), 20x Optical Zoom (Most important zoom which maintains hi-res feature), 560x digital zoom ( loses hi-res feature when magnified - I recommend staying with OPTICAL ZOOM ONLY!), 2.5 hi-res color LCD screen (opens 90 degrees & can be rotated 180 degrees with an auto mirror image), built-in light with 5 foot range, remote control & sensor, Steady shot (stabilizer), USB streaming, DVIn/Out - Sony iLink (BEST FEATURE - A 4 pin 2 way FireWire(IEEE-1394) for direct digital video & stereo transfer with no signal loss), digital effects, frame recording, hi-fi sound, interval (lapse) recording, SUPER NightShot ( shooting in a dark room without light), backlit feature ( allows to subdue rear light to increase foreground subjects lighting) and much, much more.

This camcorder comes with a 3 hour battery (its real life is about 75 minutes using the LCD screen. The actual battery time remaining is displayed on the LCD screen. The stabilizer eliminates the camera jitter and the hi-res digital pictures are awesome. The supplied video cables allow you to hook up to a tv or vcr. The video transfer via USB (with supplied PC software) or the awesome Sony iLink (FireWire)allows a 2 way direct digital link to a DVD recorder (ie Philips DVDR-985, DVD+RW (rewriteable) or DVD+R (one time) SEE MY DVDR-985 REVIEW).

In Summary - this is an OUTSTANDING DIGITAL8 Video Camcorder. Again this a DIGITAL ONLY unit. The DVR-TRV140 is a great economical way to move into the hi-res (520 line) digital world. Transferring to PC or DVD burner is so simple and digital pictures & hfi stereo sound is the only way to go. Enjoy.

1-0 out of 5 stars Eject tape broke and Sony won't fix it
We had been very happy with this camcorder - until we pulled it out to take Christmas pictures of our 15-month old son and the camcorder wouldn't record. It wouldn't eject the tape, and after repeated calls to customer service, we've been told that they'll pay for parts, but the labor to fix it is just over $200. Unfortunately even though we've only used the camcorder for under 15 hours, we're outside the 90 days for labor warranty (who'd have thought the camcorder would be unusable after under 15 hours of use?).

Still waiting on a callback from customer service, but having gone up 4 levels already, it's not looking like they'll fix the product.

Think our model will be headed for the trash - and we'll be looking at anything BUT Sony for future purchases. I would definitely steer clear of a Sony after this experience.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great starter digital camcorder
When I first started to look at camcorders I didn't know exactly what I wanted. The number of features was overwhelming and I wasn't sure which ones would prove valuable. I ended up decided on a set of core features: digital recording, reasonable size, good zoom and computer connectivity.

I finally ended up with the TRV-140 and it has been great. It is a standard handcam size, which means it fits comfortably in your hand but isn't tiny. The 20x optical zoom is very nice. I have yet to need the digital zoom and haven't even considered buying a telephoto lens.

To connect the camera to your computer all you need is a firewire card and the right cable (4 pin to 6 pin). Transferring video was as simple as connecting the cable. Windows XP immediately recognized the camera and I was able to capture and edit film using the MovieMaker software included with XP.

My only complaint is the battery life. The standard battery doesn't last very long, especially if you use the LCD. Consider picking up a second battery when you purchase the camcorder. Sony has a couple of offerings, but all are rather expensive. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, check out the compatible batteries made by Duracell or Ray-o-vac.

5-0 out of 5 stars I bought one too
...
Its a very good camera for the price and as my old camera was a hi-8 canon Ex1 I didnt have to go out and buy new tapes either as the 140e uses hi-8 tapes. I didnt use the pixelA software as it is rubbish, instead I use Pinnacles Studio8 which allows me to download and convert my video to burn to cd or dvd between different formats. Firewire works well and all functions are simple to use. Image quality is good.

The only blots on its copybook are for me the disabled control facilities from the higher models (you can re-enable them if you know what you are doing) and the lack of DV in (again this can be fixed) finally the lack of an external mic socket...which I'm looking into sorting out...

overall...very good buy.

Ray. ... Read more


8. Panasonic PVL452 VHS-C Mulitcam Camcorder with 2.5" Color LCD & 8MB SD Memory Card
by Panasonic
list price: $399.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005YVQI
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Sales Rank: 3469
Average Customer Review: 3.58 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Digital pictures aren't unique to digital camcorders anymore--the Panasonic PV-L452 functions as both a VHS-C camcorder and a digital camera. It also features a large 2.5-inch color LCD, 20x optical zoom, high-performance two-hour battery, and special digital effects like strobe, wipe, and 16:9 widescreen. You can even digitally add color filters to your video without having to attach one to the lens.

Lens
It features an optical zoom magnification of 20x along with a 750x digital zoom, which works by electronically enhancing the optical image. The digital image stabilization system keeps the picture steady and solid throughout zooms and camera shakes.

Digital Stills
The PhotoShot mode allows the L452 to take digital stills, storing them on the included 8 MB Secure Digital card. SD memory cards are high-capacity memory cards that can be easily connected to PCs, TVs, and PDAs that are equipped with an SD slot. The MagicPix function produces full-color still images when you're in low-light situations.

Inputs and Outputs
The standard RCA input/output and cable is included, so you can hook the camcorder to a TV for convenient viewing or to a VCR for dubbing to regular VHS. ... Read more

Features

  • VHS-C camcorder
  • 20x optical, 750x digital, zoom with digital image stabilization
  • 2.5-inch color LCD; black and white viewfinder
  • Records digital stills onto included 8 MB SD card
  • Color digital filter effect for sepia, red, yellow, blue or green tones

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very nice for the price
I think this camcorder/camera is very nice!! I have used it to download pictures and they turn out great. I did have a little problem with it saying that it was not connected but after just trying a few more times it worked. I love it and especially for the price and the accessory kit. I am anxious to use it more!! You can find the memory cards at at good deal. I bought a 64mb one so that I will have lots of room. Lots of gadgets on the camcorder but will take time to figure them all out but I think a VERY good deal for the price!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars robert
I bought this camera with my money, and i have never been happier with anything else. The resolution is great, its got many effects, and the digital camera works great. One thing I love about the digital camera is that you can hook up the camera to the TV, turn on the digital camera, and play the pictures, creating a slide-show. I really like the way the camcorder part is easy to use; I was able to teach myself how to use it and I'm a first time user. So, it is a great first time use camera.

4-0 out of 5 stars Works good for the money I spent on it!!
This is probably one of the best electronics I have bought in a while, the only complaint I have on it is you need good light to take pictures or video tape anything, otherwise it comes out fuzzy and slightly blurry. It works great other than that. I already have transfered about 300 pictures onto my computer and have enhanced and printed them out. I would like to have something smaller to take pictures but I am happy w/ what I have until I get some extra $$$ to spend on a small digital camera.

1-0 out of 5 stars YEA-RITE!!!!!!
man I feal sorry for the one who got theres for $66.00 i would hav given mine to him mine broke the same day i got it, and wal*mart wouldent give me a re-found becou i threw away the box and stuff...........................OVER-ALL, this cam, is dead wieght. I boght it to film skateing with me and my friends, and it F#$%ed up the same day I was the damn laghing stalk for the day. so..... take my advise and get the {Samsung Hi8™ Camcorder- SAM SCL906} for $299.00 at circut city or www.circutcity.com

1-0 out of 5 stars This camcorder is crap folks
First let me say that i didn't buy this camera from amazon.com but from wal-mart.After purchasing this camera it wasn't a week after using it and the focus would blur out after extensive use..So needless to say i returned the camera to the store and got a 2nd.Ahh just to learn that the cassette door wouldn't stay shut when i tape was in place.So i returned it and got a 3rd one to think it would be a charm right?..Not! After using it for a month or so the lens went out..Would record sound just fine but no video.:(..So this ol boy won't be buying another panasonic cam corder anytime soon. ... Read more


9. Sony DCRIP5 MicroMV Digital Camcorder w/ 2.5" Hybrid LCD
by Sony
list price: $1,299.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000636RZ
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 5024
Average Customer Review: 2.72 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Featuring a compact, vertically aligned body to go along with its potent 10x optical zoom, the DCR-IP5 is the first of two camcorders featuring the unique new recording format MicroMV, which records using the same format used to encode DVDs: MPEG-2.

Lens and CCD
The two central components of any video camera (or digital still camera) are its lens and CCD (the image sensor). This Sony model builds around a 10x optical zoom, which is paired with Super SteadyShot image stabilization to cut down on the shakes and jitters common to most amateur video footage. The CCD sports a pixel count of 680,000 pixels--great for video--that translates the image into around 500 lines of resolution.

Size
The size of the DCR-IP5 is actually one of the features that Sony is really excited about, and it's easy to understand why. The device is extraordinarily small; it's somewhere on the order of a half-inch to an inch smaller in its dimensions than comparable models. That's quite a hefty reduction, making the IP5 small enough to fit in a pocket. Because of the small size of the camcorder, its 2.5-inch LCD becomes comparatively larger than it would otherwise be.

Cables and Connectors
Despite the small size of the IP5, there are a number of audio and video inputs and outputs, making it a very flexible and capable machine. Most intriguingly, besides S-video, there are also composite video in/outputs--composite video provides the highest level of quality in home theater setups. For audio, stereo in/outputs are included. Of course, in any digital camcorder, you should expect to find an IEEE 1394 port, also known as FireWire or iLink, which the IP5 provides.

Included with the DCR-IP5 are a wireless remote, an AC-L20 power adapter, NP-FF50 InfoLithium battery, two AA batteries, iLink Cable (four-pin to four-pin), AV cable, lens cap, wrist strap, and a software CD-ROM (software is Windows only). ... Read more

Features

  • MicroMV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 120x digital, zoom with Super SteadyShot image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD monitor and color EVF
  • Records in MPEG2 video format--the same format used in DVDs
  • Features composite and S-Video outputs

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Information Update
I am writing this information here because I found the reviews of the DCRIP-5 at Amazon.com's site helpful when I was considering the purchase of the camcorder. It is a great camcorder because it overcomes the one obstacle that people encounter when they want to record something in their life on video tape. That obstacle is the bulkiness of most camcorders, which makes using them a major preduction. The DCRIP-5 fits in a pocket. You can carry it with you anywhere with no hassle at all. It is about the size of a digital still camera.
Today I installed Pinnacle's Studio 8DV, the software that Sony recommends for use with their Micros DV camcorders. It works great and there is an update available at the Pinnacle web site to allow Micro DV users to capture video directly from the camcorder.
I recommend this combination, the DCRIP-5 and Pinnacle's Studio 8DV to anyone who wants no hassle video taping and computer editing.

1-0 out of 5 stars What a WASTE of Money!
Bought it last year! Nice and small, but even Pinnacle Studio 8 can't handle the compression. No voice, can't burn to DVD, blah, blah, blah. You name it I had a problem with it! And now, come to find out, Sony has stopped production AND will no longer pursue MicroMV. They are moving back to MiniDV! ARGH! Pinnacle won't support their product any longer with this compatibility issue and Sony abandons it.

I bought the Canon Elura 50! Great with stills and video. Inexpensive, only 1 ounce heavier and about the same size!

As my wife called it...... I bought Beta instead of VHS! Never be an early adopter.

Mark

1-0 out of 5 stars If you want to burn DVDs with your video, avoid this.
I have bought a lot of Sony products over the years so when I was in the market for a camcorder I foolishly just picked this up without researching it. After recording four tapes of my one year old I tried making a DVD and after 20-30 hours and using 3 programs, including Sony's Movieshaker (constant crashes) I have still been unsuccessful. I have just ordered a well reviewed Panasonic camera in DV. MicroMV is a terrible product with zero support from Sony. I won't be buying Sony again.

1-0 out of 5 stars Warning: This Thing Does Not Work With Anything
Sony made it sound like these MicroMV shoots in .mpeg format which you can edit directly. It is in .mmv format. There absolutely no software that will edit .mmv except the crappy one that came with it.

I have one. Here's how it works. After shooting, you have to download via MovieShaker, the software that comes with it. Then, export each clip via MovieShaker to DVI or .mpeg files. Then, use whatever editing software you use to open the exported files. It takes more than twice the time and twice the hard drive space if you want to keep the original .mmv files. I had to keep my original .mmv files because by the time I'm done, the audio would be off-track. After using it for a while, I ended up just downloading the shots to ... yeah, VCR!

Quicktime can read the .mmv files, so it is obvious that those .mmv files are in fact .mpeg files that Sony claims, but NO editing software that can downloand and read DV files and .mpeg files can recognize .mmv files. It is obvious that this incompatability is deliberate.

Avoid wasting your time doing double work. Avoid microMV at all cost.

1-0 out of 5 stars Please sign petition requesting Sony support MicroMV on Mac
5 stars when they support Macs

Please sign the petition http://www.petitiononline.com/osxmicmv/ requesting that Sony support MicroMV camcorders on Mac OS X. ... Read more


10. Panasonic SVAV10 MPEG4 e-Wear Digital Camcorder w/ Still Mode/MP3/Voice Recording & 64MB SC Card (Silver)
by Panasonic
list price: $449.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000643XU
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Sales Rank: 2804
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

The Panasonic SV-AV10 is one of the many new convergence devices on the market today. This particular device captures digital stills, shoots MPEG-4 movies, acts as a voice recorder, and plays back MP3 and AAC files. Plus, the machine itself is about the same size as a Motorola StarTac cell phone. The package includes various software to support the multiple functions, an SD card reader-writer, and 64 MB SD card.

Initial Impressions
Small. This thing is just small. Really small. It's the first thing people mention when they see it for the first time. Cute is usually the second word applied. And it's both of those things. It fits easily in small hands, and I was using it to make a quick movie and shoot some stills within minutes of picking it up.

Interface
The SV-AV10 is essentially a big battery with a lens and SD card reader-writer. As such, the control system is rather limited, consisting of two buttons and a rocker switch on the back, and a large trigger button on the top. On the back, the menu button doubles as the power button. The power won't turn on or off unless you hold the button for two to three seconds, making it hard to accidentally turn on the phone while it is in your pocket. Upon powering up, you're confronted with the various modes (movie mode, still mode, etc.) for recording or playback. You use the rocker switch to choose between them, and the mode button to switch between the playback and recording menus. Whatever recording mode you're in, the trigger switch at the top starts and stops. In playback modes, you rely heavily on the rocker switch. Depressing the switch performs multiple functions, and makes me wish they'd added another button. The system works well for the most part, however, and is relatively simple.

It's clear that Panasonic intended the user to manage files by using the included software and memory card reader. It is extremely difficult to delete individual files, and to actually playback items is a bit cumbersome, as the SV-AV10 only displays a list of files stored, requiring you to pick blindly (file names are automatically generated, and usually appear similar to this: MOL001.ASF). The only exceptions are the MP3 and AAC files you transfer to the memory card, but those file names are truncated after 17 characters, so you need to be concise.

Movie Mode
I'll admit, I was quite excited about the promise of an MPEG-4 in such a small package. This new codec stuffs really large video files into exceedingly small spaces, and is being used by entertainment companies to provide new video-on-demand services over the Internet. And, the codec is so efficient that even in the "fine" mode, you can store about 20 minutes of footage on the included 64 MB SD card. Unfortunately, the footage you get from the SV-AV10 is jerky: the frame-rate is probably about 15 fps, far short of the 24 fps that movies are shot at, or television's 29.9 fps. What it is good for, though, is sending e-mails to friends, and making little mini-movies for fun. I'd hoped for a little more than this, as Kodak's MC3 supplied as much a year earlier (with a smoother frame rate). Similar to the MC3, you can shoot until the card is full (about 20 minutes with the included 64 MB card), whereas most digital camera movie modes have a 30 or 40 second time limit per clip.

Frame-rate limitations aside, the SV-AV10 is a fun toy. There's a certain amount of kitsch value with something like this, but the price might end up being too prohibitive for some.

MP3 Playback
There's not a whole lot to discuss here. Once you've used the included software (RealJukebox) to transfer files to your SD card--digital-rights management is in effect, so you need to check music in and out--you place the card back in the SV-AV10, go to the MP3 playback mode and go. There's no EQ, and the headphones that come with the machine are of the cheap earbud variety, which means you'll probably want to use a better set. Obviously, the machine's not geared toward audiophiles, but it performs its functions admirably.

Digital Photo Mode
The SV-AV10 is fine for taking lower-resolution snapshots. In that respect, it's kind of fun to use. The lack of any sort of zoom hurts you here; you'll have to get in close for most shots. Once you turn the flash on, you'll blow out most of your subjects, so use it sparingly.

Software
I was disappointed in the software that came with the SV-AV10. RealJukebox was fine, albeit not the most current version, and I was happy with how it worked. It was the Panasonic SD-MovieStage software that gave me nightmares. The software was good for pretty much one thing: viewing your movies on a computer. Trying to do anything else was problematic, and extraordinarily difficult to figure out, even with the manual's help. It's not particularly adept at making cuts, or editing together various movies, but then, I'm not sure most people will want to do that with this particular machine.

Final Analysis
The Panasonic SV-AV10 is a unique device with a lot of appeal for those who need a camera that does a lot of things. While it isn't a high-end digital camera, MPEG camcorder, or MP3 player, all the functions are performed adequately or better. The one thing you'll want, particularly if you have an interest in MP3 playback, is extra memory: high-quality MP3s eat up your memory quickly. ... Read more

Features

  • MPEG4 recorder
  • Fixed-focus lens
  • 2-inch color LCD
  • Records both digital stills and voice onto the included 64 MB SD card
  • Plays back MP3 and AAC files

Reviews (33)

3-0 out of 5 stars Micro wear
This gadget is pretty cool. Even though the price is kinda high, you actually pay for feature and size. I already have a digital camera and a video cam and webcam bla bla but I bought this item from a store that game me 30 days to return it, full refund. I think Im going to keep it. First I will talk about the still photo feature. The photos are 640x480 (standard FUN cam). Your not going to get professional results but you will catch pictures like a fun cam. The video camera feature is cool. You wont get steady streaming video but you will get video that you can instantly send over email. It catches FUN situations. The cam technology is like those small pin hole cameras and you know how much those are. Then you have a mp3 player. Im listening to it right now while Im typing this review. It will hold as many and the sd memory will hold. When you buy this device you get a 64mb card, earphones, small felt case and software and card reader. You have to use REAL jukebox (supplied) to format and transfer your mp3s but so what. I have no problems with this camera. For [price] (oklahoma) you get a 640x480 still FUN cam, the ability to take 20min of its max res of video with descent sound compression (mono), built in flash, voice recorder and mp3 player. The physical size of this device is amazing. so if you figure out the cost of all of these devices and it uses sd technology the selling price is kinda close. The main reason for this device is FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN. Its a gadget. Its cool technology. Look at pdas. they are getting smaller with loads of features. Go out and try the AV device out. some stores will let you return it. They are selling like hot cakes. If you have the opportunity to purchase an extended warranty i would definately do it. Dont buy this for your main source of video or pictures. This is for FUN!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is the coolest little recorder!
Panasonic SV-AV10
Online Review
March 10, 2003

This unit is incredible for a variety of reasons; it's a pocket-sized piece of electronics that records digital video, stills, voice/audio and plays MP3's - all wrapped up in one. The AV10 also comes with a 64MB SD memory card, which are about the size of a postage stamp. Actually I'm planning on buying another SD card (256MB) not just for more storage - these cards have fast data rates and easily store multiple formats including the MPEG4 video and JPEG photos that you shoot using the unit. The MPEG4 video clips and JPEG photos can also be transferred to your PC by plugging the reader/writer adapter into your computer, where you can add effects, email, or post online. Using the 64MB SD card that comes with it, you can record as much as 80 minutes of video. God knows how many minutes of video you can store if use a 256MB card - doing the math I would imagine it would store 320 minutes or so in the economy mode. Finally, as for stills, the 64MB SD card will hold approximately 1760 pictures depending upon what you shoot of course. So I've been taking this handy dandy thing with me pretty much everywhere. Actually I was really happy I had it the other day when I needed to take pictures of cars that I wanted to show a friend of mine (I sent him an email with the shots attached).

I'm pretty happy with it and use more often than I originally thought and you probably will too.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not worth the $ if you're doing more with your camera later
This camera may look ultra cool, but believe me, it's not. Unless you don't care much for how your picture quality is, then this camera may be ok, but if you do or eventually will, you are better off getting a better quality camera.

There aren't many options for your pictures that you're taking meaning you can't change the lighting effect (inside, outside, cloudy, snow, night, etc), size, picture type (black & white, etc) or many of the other things that you can on other cameras. I found that when pictures were loaded onto the computer, they looked grainy and dull, and if you used the flash, that also seemed to ruin the effect of the picture. There is also no zoom which is one thing I forgot to check out when purchasing this camera. I was not happy with this camera at all after a couple months when I needed better quality photos.

The video recorder of the camera was also a disappointment to me. The recording was very choppy and colors again were poor. On the bright side, it recorded the sound well.

I had no problem with the MP3 player or audio recorder, they both worked fine and were the quality that one would expect.

I now own a Sony Cyber-Shot camera which I am VERY pleased with. Basically you really need to think about what type of pictures you will be taking with your camera and if you want them to be the best quality possible, or if it simply doesn't matter to you to decide if you will be happy with this camera.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not professional, but not that bad either
Ok, it may not take pictures/movies like professional digital cameras can, but it's still a good camera if you looking for something to do for fun. It's small enough to carry in your pocket, you can operate it on the fly when you need to, so its pretty reliable there. You have to mess around with the software a bit, and experiment with the camera a bit too but once you get the gist of how it works, you wont regret buying it. However, this camera is NOT worth paying full price for($200-$400). I bought a used one at Circuit City for only $125, I've had it for about a year and it still works great!

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Gadjet, but wait till the next generation comes out!
... It was fun, I liked the MP3 player functions and voice recording functions. However since you have to use the RealJukebox software provided to get the audio tracks onto the device I decided it wouldnt be as useful as it could have been as the only source of music would be my home PC unless I bought the RealJukebox CD with me. The same goes for the battery charger.

The built in camera is good for subjects a few meters in front of you. As you need to turn the flash on to get some good photos, close ups are out of the question as with the flash on close ups are just whited out.

The Resolution is 640 by 480 for photos, and half that for mpeg video. The video is poor.

Overall I was impressed with the concept, however the quality is too low. If however you want a low end webcam/low end MP3 player then this is it.

Small size is cool, as big as a pack of cards, maybe when the photos are 1 megapixels and the video is 640 by 480 I would buy this.

...

It does come with a 64mb SD card and card reader which is neat, you can use it very easily. ... Read more


11. Sony DCRTRV18 MiniDV Digital Handycam Camcorder w/ 2.5" LCD. MPEG, & Memory Stick
by Sony
list price: $1,199.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006686R
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 1410
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Capture those special moments with the DCR-TRV18 MiniDV camcorder. The new MiniDV camcorder from Sony creates high-quality visuals, thanks to the 800,000 pixel CCD (which gives a horizontal resolution of up to 500 lines) and the Carl Zeiss 10x optical zoom lens. The Super SteadyShot mode will make sure your visuals stay still, even if your hand doesn't.

Using the USB streaming feature, the camcorder can also function as a Webcam. In addition to this, video footage can be downloaded directly to a PC via a USB port. This material can then be edited on your PC using the supplied software. Once edited, your masterpiece can be shared with the whole world via the Internet.

The DCR-TRV18 includes the ability to record straight to MemoryStick. As with the DCR-TRV340, you can create movies by using MPEG; your recording time is now only limited by the size of MemoryStick.

Add to these already impressive features a 2.5-inch 123,000 pixel LCD screen, manual focus, 120x digital zoom, playback zoom and Super NightShot mode for filming in very low light and you've got yourself an impressive camcorder. ... Read more

Features

  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 120x digital zoom with digital image stabilization
  • 2.5-inch color LCD; color EVF
  • Records still photos onto tape or included Memory Stick media
  • Uses included InfoLithium battery; also includes adapter, wireless remote control, stereo AV cable, lens cap, USB cable, MGI Photo Suite/VideoWave/USB CD-ROM driver

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sony DCR-TRV18: exceptional quality, a great value
At 25 Mega bits per second, MiniDV is the digital video format of choice for amateurs and professionals alike. Shoot your movie, transfer it to the computer then burn it on a DVD. If you're like me and want to make lots of quality home movies and still skip the costs of burning DVDs, a good choice is to store your movies on regular CDs as SVCD... The MiniDV tapes offer top-of-the line video & audio quality yet they are very small (tape width: 6.35 mm).

The question is: which MiniDV camcorder?
Important factors in my decision:

* A quality camera lens. DCR-TRV18 is Sony's least expensive camcorder that comes with the famous Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar lens!

* CCD size: look for a camcorder with a 680K CCD or larger. That larger pixel matrix gives you steadier shots and more horizontal lines.

* Low-light operation: went out after dinner and videotaped rows of flowers in the local park - the camera compensated very well for the insufficient light, the video came out great. Sony camcorders shine when it comes to operating in low-light (compared to JVC and Canon). DCR-TRV18 also has a "Night Shot" mode for videotaping at zero Lux (darkness). I used NightShot to record people dancing at a wedding reception.

* Analog pass-through: many camcorders do not have inputs for transfering older analog tapes to MiniDV or to the computer. With DCR-TRV18 I was able to copy older S-VHS-C tapes, playing in my analog camcorder, to MiniDV tapes.

I bought my DCR-TRV18... and I love it! Like I mentioned before, I edited my movies, added scene transitions and text then burned the MPEG-2 files on regular compact discs (40 min SVCD) to view them with my DVD player.

If you need to take digital pictures, consider buying a separate digital photo camera ... rather than a camcorder/photo camera combo (these combos could only take low-resolution photos at the time of this review).

4-0 out of 5 stars Good MiniDV, but there're better and cheaper camcorders
This entry-level MiniDV is very easy to use, and very comfortable to hold. I am very impressed by its picture and audio quality when I play my movie on TV; though I think the color balance lacks depth and a bit light when I compared it with TRV-25.

This camcorder allows you to capture picture and MPEG Movie into the provided 8MB Memory Stick (USB Streaming Only). I would not recommend either, since the still pictures are very poor(680k pixel), and 8MB memory stick is not going to capture any long movie either.

If you want to edit or upload your movie on your computer, I would suggest purchase a firewire card as it provides much better quality than the USB option. The provided Sony software is very easy to use. (Love those video e-mail!)

If you're a big fan of Sony, I would suggest spend a little more to buy the TRV-25/TRV-27, which provides better picture quality and have megapixel. If price is an issue and you don't mind if it is not a Sony, try the Canon MiniDV.

1-0 out of 5 stars Bad tape technology
Before you buy, think about the cost of the DV tapes. They are about $6 each, retail, and EXTREMELY fragile. One broke in my camera, and damaged something when being taken out. This was a $70 repair, while it was still under warranty. I don't know how much it would have cost after warranty period was over. If I had it to do over again, I'd buy a camera with a sturdier, cheaper media, and from a manufacturer that respects its warranty.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Camera for the Money
I am a student filmmaker of fourteen years. Previous to my purchasing of this camera, I had been using my mother's PD-100P. (My mother is a film producer). I needed to stop using her camera because it annoyed her that I knew more about it than she did, and because I needed the convenience of being able to use a camera without supervision and whenever I wanted. Being parents, my mother and father forced me to do my research on camera's, and made me earn all the money for it, instead of spending money I already had in savings. From the beggining I knew I wanted a Sony. Everybody in the business talked about how they were the top of the line, the best in every dimension. Still, I looked at Cannon's, Fuji's, Panasonic's, and just about every other make. After my gigantic search, I finally decided to go with this camera because of picture quality, format, Firewire (i.Link), and because of the cost and size. I can tell you, I made the right choice.

A few days after purchasing the camera, a friend of mine (who owns a Cannon) and I got together and did a two-camera shoot for a class production. When I brought the tapes home to edit, I was amazed at the diference in picture and sound quality. Even though we were mostly the same distance away, my camera picked up better quality, denser, and overall more dynamic sound than the Cannon, which I had been told had better sound than the Sony. Of course, the Sony also had much better and more detailed pictures as well. Overall, I was amazed at the quality.

One more thing to mention that is a definit advantage over other consumer camera's that most people overlook: the Intelligent Acessory Show. (IAS) The Sony line of camera's are the only ones that have hot shoes (the devices that you plug in get power from the camera). Most other brands feature cold shoes (the devices you plug in have to get power from another source), meaning you must carry extra cords around whenever you want to plug in an external feature, and you have to make sure that there is always an outlet nearbye.

The overall features of this camera make it the best buy for "the money" out there.

OVERVIEW

Pros:
-Size
-Format
-IAS
-Firewire
-Picture
-Sound

Cons:
-Only one con that I have found, and it is so minor, I didn't even mention it in the main portion of the review. The hand strap is slightly uncomfortable.

I hope this helps you decide which camcorder to buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Camcorder, Great Price (for Sony), Great Features
OK I've only had this camcorder for a couple of days, but I spent the better part of the last month conducting extensive online research on what camcorder I needed to buy. Here were my constraints:

1) Did not want to spend more than $...
2) Did not need great still picture quality or capability as I already have a Sony F-707 (an outstanding product by the way).
3) I wanted a camcorder that used the same type of battery as my still camera.
4) I wanted a camera that was good in low light.

5) I wanted a camera that was compatible with today's computers.

I looked at hundreds of different websites for a camera that met my needs. I already liked Sony (even though their customer service isn't the greatest) so after looking at other brands for a short time I decided to stick with Sony brands. I debated waiting until next month when Sony releases their new line of camcorders, but I ultimately decided to go ahead and purchase one now (mainly because I have a new born on the way and she's not going to wait until April). If you do the research you'll find that Sony's new models, TRV-19, 22, 33, etc. have better still picture quality, they all have touchscreen LCDs, and thier low light quality is better than previous lines, but I think that's about it.

The bottom line is the TRV18 is a very competitively priced product (for Sony). It has most of the features as the TRV25 and 27 as well as the new line. It operates well in low-light. I like the fact you can slow down the recording shutter speed to capture more light in low light conditions. The video becomes slightly choppy, but it's OK if you're filming slow moving or stationary objects. Night shot is another great feature if you don't mind your video looking like a special ops movie. I tested the transition features and they are OK. I haven't tested the still quality, but I can't imagine it's very good. If you're wanting to buy a camera that takes high resolution stills, look elsewhere. There are many things I still want to try and do with the camera, but I don't regret buying this model. It meets my needs perfectly. ... Read more


12. Sony CCDTRV308 Hi8 Camcorder with 2.5"LCD and Video Light
by Sony
list price: $399.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000630ML
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 2520
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Hi8 camcorder
  • 20x optical, 460x digital, zoom with SteadyShot image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD and black and white EVF
  • NightShot infrared mode for lowlight shooting
  • Comes with NP-FM30 InfoLithium battery

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Camcorder
I just got the CCD-TRV-308 camcorder and it is awesome!! The only thing is is that you cant edit your film on your computer you can just play it back. I give 4 - 4 1/2 stars

5-0 out of 5 stars Great little camera for the money
I've been trying to buy a video camera for the past 6 years (ever since my first monster bought in 1990 died). I finally bit the bullet since this camera seemed so reasonable and so highly-rated. I'm happy with every aspect of this camcorder. The bells and whistles are surprisingly complete, and it's so lightweight that I can (and do) spend the entire day with it in my hand.

One caveat...a wide angle lens would be a smart purchase. It's difficult to get far enough away from the action and still hear what is going on.

5-0 out of 5 stars A better camcorder than I thought!
We purchased this camcorder for the holidays, selecting the CCDTRV308 over the CCDTRV108 due to it's added features such as image stability and auto-light. It arrived within three days - amazing! With my son's birthday coming up at the weekend, and the speedy delivery, it was a real test as to whether I could read the manual and become comfortable in the camcorder's use before the big day. The instructions are clear, concise and easily referenced.

We chose official Sony cassettes for this first run to ensure optimal picture quality and compatibility. Image quality is excellent, but we did notice that it performs better after it has 'warmed up'. This might be due to cassette stability or electronics temperature, but in no way detracts from this product's quality. Fade in/out options are excellent and with the 'cinema' setting gives your production that 'ER' feel.

I suspect that upgrading to a higher capacity battery may be a next step, but it lasted through the kid's party with ease. About 30 minutes of shooting remained, even though we used the LCD the whole time.

Title use is a little confusing, but you do get the option of creating two custom titles in addition to the standard fare.

The tripod was prepared, just in case the weight of the camcorder became tiring, but it was not needed. The lightness of these new camcorders over the ones of yesteryear makes life much easier, and is not burdening.

We researched considerably, before purchasing this product, which is no guarantee of success, but I have no hesitation in recommending it to those considering a Hi-8 camcorder.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple is best
I bought this camera for various reasons, though none more specific than my parents constantly asking for photos. I had this camera up and running with a charged battery in two hours.

You can also convert this analog data to digital format with Dazzle 80 software, although be forewarned, if you're a novice like myself, it will be sheer torture to get it installed. I don't recommend using this program with the Sony unless you have a techie as a friend who can do it for you. Otherwise its an awesome combination.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple, but Great Hi8
If you want nothing more than a really good camcorder to take basic videos, the Sony CCDTRV308 is the way to go.

It's probably the best Sony Hi8 camcamcorder you'll get without all the bells and whistles that let you download video on to your PC.

It has a few great features like NIGHTSHOT (which allows video in virutal darkness) and STEADYSHOT. Also, the 20X zoom works really well. (Don't be impressd by the 460X digital zoom-- on any camcorder; the image becomes more blurry the closer you zoom in with it.)

You'll probably have to get another battery, as the one the Sony CCDTRV308 comes with will only last for about an hour or so when using all the functions (LCD screen, stop and start REC). I recommend buying the NP-QM71; it lasts between 4 and 6 hours.

BUT (A VERY BIG BUT), If you want to anything more than basic VCR editing, get at least a MiniDV, especially if you're willing to spend between $500 and $1000. I was willing to drop $500 for a MiniDV because I wanted to easily edit my videos, but I wasn't willing to spend another $500 to upgrade my PC to accomodate the large amounts of data.

Otherwise, the Sony CCDTRV308 is a great Hi8 camcorder for basic video recording and little or no editing. ... Read more


13. Panasonic PVDV102 MiniDV Multicam Digital Camcorder w/ 2.5" Color LCD and SD Drive
by Panasonic
list price: $649.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005YTWZ
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Sales Rank: 4237
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Combining 1.3-megapixel stills--albeit interpolated--with a 10x optical zoom, the PV-DV102 wraps some great features in its plastic and metal body. Images are stored on SD cards (sold separately), and they can be downloaded to your computer via USB. For those that like to shoot in low-light conditions, the camcorder also features a built-in color-recording mode for those types of situations. According to Panasonic, the mode will help reduce the graininess often associated with low-light shooting.

A zoom mic and a built-in light are included with the PV-DV102, along with an MPEG-4 movie system, which lets you capture compressed video clips for e-mailing to friends and family. The camcorder also features a composite video out, and, of course, IEEE 1394. ... Read more

Features

  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 700x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD with black and white EVF
  • 1280 x 960 (interpolated) digital still resolution--records onto both tape and SD card (card not included)
  • Includes built-in light and zoom mic

Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for the price
This is my first Camcoder, the other choice I considered was JVC-DV120, I liked JVC's 16x optical zoom, but its construction looked cheesy and it's much bulkier. The DV102 looks much better and has some nice features I like: zoom-mic and build-in light. It's a real good deal.
Camera is pretty easy to use and takes good picture, the image stablization does a good job, I took a lot of video by holding it without a tripod, sometimes I need to walk around, and the image wasn't very jerky. The sound quality is very good, no background noise at all.
In low light the image is a little bit grainy, but still very acceptable.
I'm not worried about the SD card, though I do have a spare one from my digital camera, I rarely use it, the still picture quality is too low to justify the price of a card. If Panasonic removed the SD drive and offered it with a remote, I'd have given it 5 stars. The other thing I missed is it doesn't have S-video output.
The Camcoder offers some manual feature such as iris lock, backlight and program AE, which are essential to cope with certain light conditions.
The camera's control buttons are a little hard to reach for me by just using one hand, my hand is relatively small, so make sure it's good for your hand.

Overall I feel it's perfect for begainers on a budget.
Btw, the software is virtually usesless.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good - But dont get misled by the Digital Camera feature.
Lets get down straight to the pros and cons of the product

Pro
1. Extremly small - really 'palm held'
2. Extremly Light
3. Jog dial a very nice feature

Cons
1. The pictures captured on the SD card are "average" quality
2. No remote comes with this
3. The SD Card is additional priced
4. The software is so very average.

Considering that I moved up from the DV 52 model for this model hoping to get

a. Remote (optional I am told)
b. Digital picture capability (v v average)

c. Software (that fell way short)

I would suggest that you buy the Panasonic DV 52 Model.Its a 100 bucks cheaper and buy yourself a seperate digitial camera - even at 1.2 m pixles they will outperform these palm comders !!

Tough learning but I hope you learn from my mistakes !!

2-0 out of 5 stars THIS CAMERA IS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!
I bought this camera my birthday and thought it was great. A couple months later, I began to notice that the sound skips, and it would constantly eat tapes. And then it goes on some sort of safety mode where it wont let you do anything on the camera because it thinks it might break itself. And whats up with all that extra space around the flip screen? I should have done more research before I bought this camera, and now im paying the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT!!!
I can't say enough good things about this camcorder. I've made a Las Vegas documentary, a skateboard movie, and simple home movies with it. Not only that, I managed to make them look professional. It transfers video without flaw onto the software I use to make movies (Windows Movie Maker) and also makes flawless re-transfers back onto the tape. Using an SD card, it can be used as a digital camera (albeit a very low quality one... it's still-pic mode is only .5 megapixels).

Pros:
-Great for beginners to home movie making
-Great for beginners to digital camcorders
-Amazing film quality
-SD card slot to save still pictures
-Great sound
-LCD screen

Cons:
-Poor explanation of how to use the digital zoom
-Lens cap is detatched
-Doesn't come with a FireWire, which is necessary to transfer video to the computer
-Still pics saved to the SD card are very low quality

Besides these four problems with this camcorder, it is a dream come true for those into amateur movie making. It really couldn't be any easier to use, save the digital zoom control. Other than these flaws, the camera is amazing and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to make professional-looking home movies. Great product, strongly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Camcorder
This is an excellent camcorder. I have had mine for a about a year and I have had no problems at all with it. The buttons on top are a little small for large hands but if you buy the optional remote control then you don't have to worry with them.I create digital movies on my computer using the USB cable that was provided. The special effects built into this camcorder work excellent. I have recommended this camcorder to all of my friends. ... Read more


14. Samsung SCD80 MiniDV Compact Digital Camcorder with 2.5" LCD Display
by SAMSUNG
list price: $599.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000069F70
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: SAMSUNG
Sales Rank: 3793
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

In recent years Samsung has gained a reputation for developing great technology at lower prices, which the SCD80 will only enhance. Among its many features are a large 2.5-inch LCD screen, shoe for external accessories, remote control, nine digital special effects, and a color onscreen display with easy-to-use dial navigation controls. The camcorder also has a photo mode where you can record digital stills directly onto the tape.

Lens
The SCD80 has an optical zoom power of 10x and a digital zoom that can magnify up to 400x, which works by electronically enhancing the optical image. A four-step variable zooming speed controls the zoom according to the amount of pressure you apply to the toggle. The digital image stabilization system keeps the picture steady and solid throughout zooms and camera shakes. The infrared function allows you to shoot visible video in situations with practically no light.

Inputs and Outputs
The standard DV IEEE 1394 port (also called FireWire) is present for no-loss connections to PCs or other DV machines. S-video and RCA connections are used for direct viewing on a television or for VHS dubbing. You can also plug in an external microphone via the mic jack for better quality sound.

MiniDV Format
MiniDV digital technology delivers clear, sharp video with up to 500 lines of horizontal resolution--far superior to the 240 lines of resolution offered by 8mm camcorders. You'll get minimal color noise interference for a more stable picture. You'll also get excellent sound quality in either 12-bit or 16-bit audio recording modes.

  • 16-bit audio includes one set of stereo audio tracks to produce CD-quality sound.
  • 12-bit audio utilizes two sets of audio tracks so you can easily add background music or commentary to your videos while maintaining the existing soundtrack.

This is all delivered on a cassette that's 1/12 the size of a standard VHS tape. A MiniDV tape offers digital recording time of two full hours--20 times the capacity of a CD. ... Read more

Features

  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 400x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5-inch color active matrix LCD
  • Infrared function for shooting visible video in situations with practically no light
  • Analog pass-through ports for direct connection to computer

Reviews (8)

1-0 out of 5 stars SamDUNG SCD80- it sucks!
Just days after buying it, it started shredding up tapes, poor video quality, poor customer support, and when it doesn't eat the tape up, it can't even play it back properly without having serious playback problems. I have talked to others about this cam-- same thing. SamDUNG.

1-0 out of 5 stars Go with a Japanese brand
Even though Samsung licenses the technology from Japanese vendors, they suffer 1) poor quality control, and 2) terrible ergonomic design decisions, and 3) extremely bad customer support -- don't expect to find anyone if you need support such as warranty fulfillment. A much higher-quality JVC or Sharp doesn't cost much more, and gives you years of trusty service. The image quality on this model is pretty poor, prompting a Korean reviewer to call it worse than many 8mm camcorders. I can't comment on audio, but I'd be really really surprised if a Samsung can have better audio than a Panasonic, which Digital Video magazine gave a very positive review of.

So go with the best and get a reliable Japanese brand.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great cam for the price
After looking at a ton of cameras I stumbeled onto this one. But I couldn't find too many reviews but the ones I did find only praised it, so I went out on a limb and bought this bad boy. And I'm glad I did. For the price this cam cannot be beat. The picture quality is excellent, not broadcast mind you but hey, it wasn't 3 grand. The zoom and auto focus work really well and so does the night vision. You can see in total darkness. The sound also picks up great because the mic points toward the front not the sky like many other cameras. A cool thing about this camera is that there is no red light when you are recording so you can get real candid shots. The battery lasts for a long time, one charge will last me a week when I film skiing everyday. And the charge only takes about 30 min. The tape load is on the bottom so it cannot be accesed while mounted on a tripod, but it's not a big deal. One thing I've noticed is that when filming in the cold you have to let it record for a few extra seconds or else what you were trying to get will be cut short. Other than that I haven noticed any problems. BTW it does not come with a firewire cord, or the lens attachment that appears in so many pictures of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the price, if your like me
Lets face it, we dont all have the dollars to throw on just any expensive camcorder...so if you want something affordable, you dont want it to be cheap. In other words, you dont want to sacrafice the price for the quality. This model has done the opposite, and made me happy to spend what little money it cost, and has had terrific results. I dont want to go into the detail like the guy before me did, but I will say that he was right about all that he said. Its really a worthwhile buy, and you cant go wrong with a great company like samsung.

4-0 out of 5 stars A more in-depth review than the rest
Since no one here wrote a thorough review of the SCD80, and since I've been a long time Amazon customer, I feel it's time to give back.

Overall, this is a terrific camera for amateurs/novices especially. It has a LOT of nifty features for something this cheap. I won't reevaluate the basic technical features, such as the zoom aspects, as it was already covered in the Amazon Editorial review.

To start off the review, I'd like to mention what I think to be the most important aspect of any camcorder - video quality. I noticed indoor shooting, in low light situations, the quality can indeed be grainy. It's worthy to point out that I've read reviews of other MiniDV cam's in the $300-500 range and people complain about the same thing, so it's simply how much lux your camera has (the more, the better, the better, the more expensive :) ). If you have lighting set up, you can remedy this depending on how much lighting is provided.
Outdoor quality, on the other hand, I must say I am very impressed, especially in comparison to the indoor shooting. I didn't have backlighting problems (when the sun or backlight is so intense and over glaring that your subject becomes dark). In fact, the quality was held intact, AND there is a backlight button if you ever encounter that. Though, as my teacher explained to me, it's best to use WarmCards and exposure settings :)...up to you which works best.

The second most important aspect to me, Audio quality, in my opinion, is AWESOME. The Panasonic PVDV52 MiniDV camcorder, in comparison, one reviewer on amazon says:

"The built-in microphone has very poor sound quality - voices sound very tinny. I wish it had a way of connecting an external microphone."

Hahaha. You won't have this problem w/ the SCD80. As long as your subject is aimed at the front of the camera, you'll pick up voices perfectly. Whatever I shot and recorded, I picked up all the sounds I wanted and needed. In fact, depending on your location, it's so powerful it can pick up the sound of an airliner in the sky. You can use the "WindCut" feature on the camera to suit your needs. Also what's great here is that THERE IS a built-in mic jack w/ the SCD80!!! Not only is the sound quality great as is, but there's the said "WindCut" feature, as well as a mic jack. Though, unfortunately, and this is only through one test, it didn't pick up sound well enough to be considered "good" quality. I guess it simply depends on the mic you use, and the placement of it.

Other things..The LCD screen is adequate, and is the only viewfinder of the two I use. The other viewfinder being the "peekhole," which is in black & white, smaller resolution, and harder to film through. The camera is light, not heavy and clunky. As with most, if not all MiniDV digital camcorders, it has an iLink, or IEEE 394, connection (cable or PCI card not included). Don't have the cable or the PCI card slot, so I have yet to test a transfer to my PC myself.

To break it down..
PROS:
* Audio & Video quality
* size and weight
* connectivity (S-vid, A/V, external mic jacks)
* Additional features (remote control, Audio dubbing, night shooting, Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, AC Adapter in-box).

CONS:
* Low light/indoor shooting = grainy
* External mic jack isn't that terrific (like I said, it could be better depending on a better mic and/or placement of the mic)
* Very minor, only for college students working on projects or for amateur film makers. As with all consumer/prosumer MiniDV cam's, once the power supply is interrupted, or tape is removed, your timer for the next recorded shot will be set back to zero. Once again, if you're shooting a project for school for instance, it will be a bit harder to edit on the computer.
* This is the same w/ the past CON. Again, when power supply and/or tape is interfered w/, and you want to shoot on the same tape after a previous scene/shot, it is VERY HARD TO BACKTRACK AND EDIT! You'll have to find a good spot to backtrack to, and most likely you will have recorded over a few PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS milliseconds of the previous shot. I believe this applies to all or most consumer/prosumer MiniDV camcorders.

To sum it up, some companies may throw in features just so you'll buy their product over a competitor's that doesn't have that feature. However, in this case all of the said features work incredibly. In a similar example, the Panasonic PVDV52 again, and one particular Sony model, a Digital 8 camcorder I believe, has a rechargeable battery with it. But it dies very quickly and those that purchased it were FORCED to buy a new battery, at a VERY high cost. So, w/ the Samsung SCD80, you don't have to worry about that, for example.

I recommend this camera to amateur film makers and students alike (both like myself, heh), as well as for the average person who records precious moments in life (like birthdays, special events, etc.). Even w/ the few minor hiccups (see the CONS section), the audio and video quality outweigh those hiccups alone...not to mention the cool extras you get with it!

Remember to use lighting, and enjoy filming!
I hope this was more helpful than the other "reviews" here. ... Read more


15. Panasonic PV-L352 Analog Camcorder
by Panasonic

Asin: B00005YVQB
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Sales Rank: 4395
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

The Panasonic PVL352 VHS-C camcorder features a large 2.5-inch color LCD, 20x optical zoom, high-performance two-hour battery, and special digital effects like strobe, wipe, and a 16 x 9 widescreen. You can even digitally add color filters to your video without having to attach one to the lens.

The PVL352 has an optical zoom magnification of 20x, along with a 750x digital zoom, which works by electronically enhancing the optical image. The digital image stabilization system keeps the picture steady and solid throughout zooms and camera shakes. The standard RCA input-output and cable is included so you can hook the camcorder to a TV for convenient viewing or a VCR for dubbing to regular VHS. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't work for long
I purchased this model in March 2002 and in May 2003 - it just quit working! I thought the battery had run out - recharged it -nothing! Bought a new battery - still nothing. All it'll do now is make a click noise when you switch to camera or vcr. Cant even get my tape out of the damn thing now! Call Panasonic - what a joke! They wanted $149.00 for a diagnostic test and $102.00 service charge - I only paid about $300 for it new. I'll never buy another panasonic again - the service was terrible and they are not helpful AT ALL! Good luck if you buy one - get the extended warranty! They should sell them for $50.00 and just make them disposable!

3-0 out of 5 stars It worked great until it stopped working....
I baught this camera around october and it is now august, and for some odd reason a couple weeks ago, it broke. i have no idea why, i wasn't being rough with it or anything, i'm sure i didn't bang it.

for one, the loading part would'nt work but my dad somehow managed to shove the tape in (i have no clue how because he can't do it anymore) and when he did it wouldn't record, play, or anything else!

other than the fact that, its a nice camera.

2-0 out of 5 stars A good camcorder but........
I purchased one of these last year and although I can't complain about the quality of the picture, the service from Panasonic leaves a whole lot to be desired.

My camcorder was accidently bumped about 8 months after I purchased it which caused the deck assembly and loading assembly to become unworkable. Even though the fault was mine, Panasonic doesn't seem to want you to have their products repaired, they would rather you buy another one, as the repair technician stated to me. The parts cost more than the camcorder did new.

Needless to say I will never buy another Panasonic product again and neither will my friends and family.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good little Camera [for little money]
Iv'e had this panasonic camcorder for awhile now and i'm satisfied with it.It's got all the basic's you come to expect from a cheap camera but it boast a couple of xtras that i enjoy such as the digital fades and backlight settings that work well.While i was dispointed to see that this model don't have the option to make titles it's really a small overall flaw.My one other con would have to be auto focus.It just doesn't seem to work as well while zooming in on an object as it should so i'm glad they give the option to manualy focus as well..Overall i would recomend this to somebody just lookin for a camcorder to record family events or just don't wanna spend a fortune on a camera.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most Bang for Your Buck
When I first recieved this particular product I have to admit i was skeptical. I had only bought this product because I was in charge of taping some scenes from a play. But, after using this product I would say that it has the most features and the easiest to use system you will find for anywhere near [item price]! It easy to use, sleek, hideaway LCD screen lets you see exactly what you are taping. It also lets you watch what you taped without having to go to a TV. Overall, what this procuct has to offer is far superior to some of its competitors. ... Read more


16. JVC GR-DVL520U MiniDV Digital Camcorder with 2.5 LCD
by JVC
list price: $699.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005YWDT
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: JVC
Sales Rank: 3567
Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

A perfect introduction into the world of digital video, the GR-DVL520U provides all the features you need to get rolling, including a 16x optical zoom, digital image stabilization, and IEEE 1394 compatible outputs.

Lens
Breaking the mold that most other digital camcorders fall in, the GR-DVL520U has a very bright f1.8 lens, which should help with a dilemma common to many digital camcorders: poor low-light performance. While not useful at the highest levels, the optical zoom is augmented by a 700x digital zoom, which can supply that little bit extra you might need in some circumstances. Paired with the zoom is a digital image stabilizer, which will help eliminate much of the shakiness associated with high zoom levels.

Shooting Functions
The GR-DVL520U provides some camera functions, which can be quite useful if you spend the time to learn to use them. The camera gives you manual control over focus, exposure, and white balance, all of which affect the way your image is recorded. The manual focus and white balance modes are perhaps the most exciting, as you can use them to create depth-of-field effects, and the white balance will allow you to light a room without investing in expensive lighting gear. In addition, JVC added in a number of digital wipes and fades, as well as a black fader.

Output Options
If you want to play your footage on television, the 520U provides two connection methods: S-video and standard RCA-style AV connectors. S-video provides the better video resolution, but you'll still need to use the AV cable for audio, as S-video doesn't carry an audio signal. If your object is to edit your movies on a computer, the camera also comes equipped with an IEEE 1394 compliant port for shuttling video back and forth. It's a four-pin connector, and most computers with IEEE 1394 ports have six-pin connectors, so make sure you pick up the correct cable (JVC doesn't provide one).

Digital Still Mode
Like many digital camcorders, the GR-DVL520U provides a digital still mode, and stores the resulting images onto an included 8 MB MultiMediaCard. You can also use SD cards. The images aren't very high resolution and are generally fit only for posting on the Web, or e-mailing to friends. To get the photos to your computer, the 520U utilizes a built-in USB port, and comes with the cable and software to accomplish the transfer. ... Read more

Features

  • 520 lines of resolution with high-band processor
  • Night Alive for full color shooting in extreme low light
  • SD and MultiMedia Card compatibility
  • 2.5-inch LCD viewscreen
  • USB high-speed interface

Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars JVC DVL520
I bought the JVC DVL520 and I took it back next day. My main complaint was in low light conditions, there were vertical lines appearing on the screen. It wasn't overly obvious but very distracting nontheless. I tried to correct it by manually adjusting each individual settings but nothing worked. The picture quality was not too bad in bright conditions, but in darker conditions i was not prepared to just accept it. After all I spent AUD$1450 on a camera and I'd better get what I pay for. It was a shame because the size and shape of the 520 was really good plus some nice features too. Anyway I took it back to the shop and bought the Sony TRV18 instead. Sure it was a more expensive camera but truly worth it. Pictue quality was almost DVD-like but no vertical lines at all -even in dark conditions (perhaps a little grainy). I wouldn't recommend the 520 unless you will be taking videos outdoors exclusively.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for entry level
Look for my first ever video camera, I stumbled upon this 520A JVC, looks sleek, light weight, fair functionability, 800 000 pixels for digital stills (which is not bad for it's price).

Compared to the sony at a similar price range, it lacked a few added extras which some may find useful :
1. Mpeg (not particularly that useful I suppose if you have firewire)
2. Night scope (the JVC does NOT COmpare to sony's night vision! - it just decreases shutter speed)
3. Battery life - I think that the sony stamina battery lasts a lot longer than the jvc pack.
4. Quality of video - this is debatable - I couldn't tell the diffirence though I was told that sony has a better colour.
5. USB streaming
6. B&W viewer - it's quite annoying if you're used to a colour viewer. The LCD screen however is very clear. The sony has a TFT active matrix which may be slightly better. I was told that the LCD screen has a shorter life-span.

Compared to the Canon MV550 - which also has an SD Card, the JVC is cheaper, looks sleeker (I think) but similar otherwise.

The SD card is very useful - I wouldn't buy one without a card. The battery life could be better. I think it's closer to 1 hour recording time. Even the so called "stamina" battery (which was not original) only lasted <1hr recording time.

Apart from the above, I feel satisfied with my purchase. I bought it in singapore and it was the cheapest of the digital cameras with similar functionality.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good entry/mid level camcorder...
Hi,
We have been using this for 18 months now, and it's travelled continents and has give us no problems at all!

At least 3 MiniDV tapes, an extra battery, and a carrying bag are essentials.

This camcorder is excellent value. The only con is low light recording is not good, but that's the case with most camcorders.

3-0 out of 5 stars common problem is microfuse on the mainboard
There are many reviews on this DV camcorder at this website and I don't see any need to elaborate the functionality of it. However, I had one terrible experience with this one which is discussed below. I also found by email from three other JVC 520U user that they had the same problem and fixed it easily.
After the warranty is over, this stopped working (no power up). Took it a JVC dealer repair shop (George Meyer, Santa Monica, Los Angeles). He tried to rip me by asking me to pay $275 for labor and $22.00 for parts. I did not repair it from that guy. Finally, I bought the repair manual ($16) and opened the stuff myself. A microfuse on the main board was gone, which I replaced it myself and costed me 59 cents for a new microfuse. Though there is competetion in getting the thing smaller, there is no need to put a fuse soldered on the main board which most people can't even identify/access. If it fails often, let the consumer access it from outside (using a glass molded fuse). I assume that companies do it intentially to help the dealers rip you as soon as it breaks or you will end up buying a new item.
good luck, if you get into the same problem.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good entry-level miniDV camera for the price
The JVC DVL520U digital video camera is the central camera in the JVC 320U, 520U, and 720U line. Each of these cameras offers the same basic technology with varying features. The 520U shares the same remote as the 320U. The 720U remote contains more functionality. The 520U remote contains all the usual basic capabilities, including rewind, fast forward, playback, record, etc. The 520U also shares the same memory card as the 720U, which is 8Mb in size. The raw technology of all these units is essentially the same. What differentiate them are the features JVC activates and implements in each model.

The 520U specifications are as follows:

- 680,000 pixel CCD (1/4")
- 110,000 pixel, 2.5" LCD monitor (270 degree rotation)
- F1.8 lens
- B/W viewfinder
- Night Alive full color low light recording
- 10x optical zoom
- 700x digital zoom
- PCM stereo audio
- 16x9 squeeze mode
- 1024 x 768 digital stills
- Picture stabilization
- SD/multimedia card
- USB interface
- DV input/output
- S-video and A/V output terminals
- Audio dubbing
- Numerous fades, wipes, and effects

The 520U provides very good features and functionality for a miniDV camera in its price range. Not all features work as well as other manufacturers. Picture stabilization, for instance, is much better on the Sony models than this camera. Night Vision is also not that useful for moving images in very low light conditions. I tried shooting a fireworks display using the Night Vision feature. An image was accumulated and stored by the CCD about every 1/2 second, making the outcome choppy and unusable.

The software bundle provided with the camera is excellent and a USB driver is provided. It's very easy to transfer pictures from the camera to the computer. With the proper editing cable (not supplied), video can be edited on a computer with excellent results. An audio/video cable is provided, which enables viewing and transferring video. A USB cable is provided to transfer images from the video card to a computer.

The 520U is capable of storing pictures to either a memory card or video. A snapshot button enables the shutter to operate. If you're new to this capability, be aware that at this time pictures obtained using current video technology do not match the quality you will get from a digital camera. Likewise, digital cameras cannot match the quality of video recorded on a miniDV camera. You buy a video camera for quality video, not snapshots. You buy a digital camera for quality snapshots, not video.

Regardless, the 520U delivers adequately usable snapshots. I like being able to add a picture collage in the middle of my videos. For example, I took a walk on the beach and recorded it. In the middle of the video suddenly you hear the sound of a shutter click and there's a picture of a seagull wading in the water; another shutter click and a picture of a dog bounding out of the water; another shutter click and a picture of a child building a sand castle, etc. Each shot stays on for about 5 seconds or so and whatever sound occurs in those five seconds is also recorded. Later, you can dub audio of your favorite song over the collage before going back to the video action of your family enjoying a boat tour the following day. The creative possibilities are endless!

Pictures directed to the video will be stored in the middle of whatever you're taping. You can also select to have pictures saved on the memory card, which provides the best quality. From the memory card, they can be transferred to your computer. This is a very nice feature. If you don't mind the limited image quality, it's quite handy to have video and picture capability in one small camera.

Where this camera really shines is in video quality; it's exceptional! The miniDV format provides 520 lines of resolution. Color balance is very nice and the internal settings enable you to take manual control of the white balance or set it to automatic.

Another nice feature I haven't seen on all cameras is the ability to correct for backlighting. Let's say you're in a room with many windows on a sunny day. Many cameras will meter the windows and you end-up with the room appearing too dark. The JVC has a backlight button that corrects for these conditions and it works quite impressively.

The BN-V408U 800mAh Lithium-ion battery supplied is the smallest battery available for this camera. Using the LCD display, you will get only about 30 to 45 minutes of record/playback time. I'd strongly suggest purchasing the BN-V428U 2500mAh battery, which can be purchased on eBay for about $30 with shipping (search for "JVC BN-V428U battery"). I get about three to four hours of use with this battery.

In short, if you are on a limited budget and would like a decent beginning miniDV camera, the JVC is a very nice unit. If you have more of a budget, I'd suggest the Sony models, which offer all these features with equivalent or superior quality (depending on the feature compared).

If you decide to purchase this camera, always purchase from an authorized dealer, like Amazon.com. There are many dealers who sell this camera for a lower price, but what they don't tell you is if anything fails and the unit requires service, JVC will not honor the warranty. You must show proof of purchase from an authorized JVC dealer to receive service. ... Read more


17. Sharp VLNZ100U MiniDV Compact Digital Viewcam w/3" Color LCD, MMC/SD Memory Card Slot & USB Interface
by Sharp
list price: $599.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063EKP
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sharp
Sales Rank: 2303
Average Customer Review: 3.43 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

A multitasking digital camcorder, the Sharp VL-NZ100U features a large 3-inch LCD monitor, 10x optical and 300x digital zoom, and digital image stabilization. You can also shoot digital still images, save them on the included 8 MB memory card, and then transfer them to your PC.

Lens
With an optical zoom magnification of 10x, the VL-NZ100U also has a digital zoom--which works by electronically enhancing the optical image--that can magnify the picture up to 300 times. The digital image stabilization system keeps the picture steady and solid throughout zooms and camera shakes.

Other Features
With its 270-degree variable angle, you can hold the VL-NZ100U in a variety of angles to record over people and objects or for shots close to the ground. You can even record yourself by rotating the view screen 180 degrees.

The built-in speaker allows on-the-spot playback with sound for checking and viewing video footage anywhere. An on-screen recording guide helps you line up landscape footage and can be used as a guide for easy framing of subject matter. The backlight compensation feature corrects exposure in poor lighting conditions.

The VL-NZ100U also features several digital effects (black and white, sepia, NEG) that can be viewed without affecting the original recording.

Digital Stills
The VL-NZ100U can also operate as a digital still camera. Full-motion video is recorded onto a DVC tape while digital stills are stored on the included 8 MB Secure Digital (SD) memory card for easy transfer to a PC.

Inputs and Outputs
The VL-NZ100U comes with the standard DV IEEE 1394 port (also known as FireWire; Sharp refers to this connection as iLink) for a super-fast, lossless connection to a PC or other DV machines.

MiniDV Format
MiniDV digital technology delivers clear, sharp video with over 500 lines of horizontal resolution--far superior to the 240 lines of resolution offered by 8mm camcorders. You'll also get minimal color noise interference for a more stable picture.

The camera features excellent sound quality, recorded in either 12-bit or 16-bit audio recording modes.

  • 16-bit audio includes one set of stereo audio tracks to produce CD-quality sound.
  • 12-bit audio utilizes two sets of audio tracks so you can easily add background music or commentary into your videos while maintaining the existing soundtrack.

This is all delivered on a cassette that's 1/12th the size of a standard VHS tape. A MiniDV tape offers a digital recording time of two full hours--20 times the capacity of a CD.

Contents
This package comes with the VL-NZ100U camcorder, one rechargeable lithium-ion battery, AC adapter, tripod adapter, remote control (and batteries), AV dubbing cables, wrist strap, lens cap, and 8 MB memory card. ... Read more

Features

  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 300x digital, zoom with digital image stabilization
  • 3-inch color LCD
  • Records digital stills onto included 8 MB SD card
  • Digital effects include black and white, sepia, and negative shooting modes

Reviews (56)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good value
We've had our Sharp VLNZ100U for about three months now and we love it. The reality is that this camera is a 1/2 megapixel camera whick makes it not the ablosute best quality picture, but for the cost is very good. The camera has plenty of great features including the 10x optical zoom, 300x digital zoom, 16:9 widescreen mode, Digital image stabilization, the 180 degree rotation of the LCD monitor, the still camera (saves to memory card), plus plenty of the other "standard" camcorder features. ... Never a problem w/ the camera, it's worked perfect from the very first time we used it. The real trick after getting the camera is finding good digital video editing software to make your movies. And remember this camera does not come w/ the firewire or a tape, be prepared to buy these when you get your camera.

4-0 out of 5 stars READ THIS REVIEW!!
I have read many comments, all that I could find online actually. For the ...price after the rebate this is a great digital camcorder. What I read online in all user comments are:

1) Sharp doesnt support data transfer to a PC via IEEE1394. It only supports data transfer to other devices via IEEE1394. From what I read it will only work on Windows XP because it will auto detect it. Be sure you install the INF file from the CD so Windows XP knows what it is.
2) Apparently TDK tapes have a film that can ruin or atleast dirty the tape heads. (I use Sony tapes and it is fine)
3) A video capture program is a must for optimal quality of video transferred to your PC.

First I tried Windows Movie Maker (Included with OS). The quality... I tried different modes of capturing. I then used Adobe Premier 6 or 6.5 and I was amazed! It looked great! Were not talking DVD quality here. (Read about MiniDV resolutions and quality online)

To sum up... This is a very cool digital camcorder if you have Windows XP(with an IEEE1394 port), a good digital capture program like Adobe Premier (not Windows movie maker), you dont use TDK MiniDV cassettes and you get the rebate BEFORE it expires! Read the rebate carefully!

1-0 out of 5 stars Great paperweight...
Honestly, if you are buying this item get the extended warranty if available...you could very well need it. I had it for barely a year and it worked great no complaints at all till it just quit working all together. Now it makes a great paperweight. The unit will not power up at all. Bear in mind that my unit has never been mishandled or mistreated. I have also done research on the web and have found similar reviews elsewhere. I am still trying to get Sharp to help me replace or repair it. I'd love to be able to write a retraction in the coming days that Sharp has stepped up and done the right thing. Till then...Stay tuned and best of luck.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Kept Secret
This is an awesome product! I don't know why more people don't get them. The reliability, ease of use, combination of features and display area make this a top notch product. I use many DV cameras for my work so I know what I'm talking about here. The price makes this even better! One drawback - no jack for external mike. But the sound its condenser mike picks up is pretty good. I hope Sharp continues to make them!

5-0 out of 5 stars BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK IN A MINI DV CAMCORDER
I HAVE HAD THIS CAMCORDER FOR ABOUT A WEEK NOW. I AM SO IMPRESSED
WITH THE QUALITY OF THE VIDEO AND JUST THE OVERALL SIZE AND
LOOK OF IT THAT I JUST HAD TO WRITE A REVIEW. I LOOKS QUITE A
BIT DIFFERENT THAN MOST OF THE CAMCORDERS OUT THERE, BUT DON'T
LET THAT DISSUADE YOU FROM PURCHASING IT. I PAID 299 FOR IT.
I FEEL THAT I GOT A GREAT BARGAIN. THE 3INCH LCD SCREEN IS
JUST AWESOME INDOORS OR OUT. I REALLY DON'T MISS NOT HAVING
A VIEWFINDER. WHO WOULD EVER USE IT WITH SUCH A BEAUTIFUL
SCREEN. PLAYBACK OF THE VIDEO WITH SOUND ON THE CAMCORDER.
REMOTE CONTROL INCLUDED. USE THAT LOTS. THE QUALITY OF THE
VIDEO TAKEN INDOORS AND OUTDOORS IS SUPERIOR. I CAN'T SAY
ENOUGH GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS. DON'T HESITATE TO BUY THIS
CAMCORDER, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPOINTED, AT LEAST I WASN'T. ... Read more


18. Sony DCRTRV340 Digital8 Camcorder w/ 2.5" LCD USB Streaming, & Memory Stick capability
by Sony
list price: $799.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006341B
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 3504
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

The Digital8 line was conceived to provide a path to digital for current owners of 8mm or Hi8 camcorders. The DCR-TRV340 succeeds in that regard, playing back both 8mm and Hi8 tapes. Plus, you can use the camcorder as a digital still camera, recording 640 x 480 stills onto the included 8 MB Memory Stick.

Sony put in a 25x optical zoom and paired it with Super SteadyShot image stabilization. Image stabilization is a handy technology that helps to eliminate the shakiness associated with high zoom levels. The only way to avoid shakiness completely is to utilize a tripod, table, or other stable surface. The 2.5-inch LCD is the best way to frame your shots, although you can use the black-and-white EVF to preserve battery life.

In addition to the normal slew of ports (IEEE 1394, S-Video, mini AV) that have made their way onto the TRV340, there's also a USB port, which, with some included software, offers some interesting functions. Specifically, it allows you to use the camcorder to capture stills, or "broadcast live video with audio," according to Sony, which seems to indicate you can use the TRV340 as a Webcam. There is also one very important port on the TRV340: a mic input. Not only do most camcorders have poor built-in microphones, but they are often situated too near the tape mechanism, meaning you get the annoying throbbing sound of the tape pulled through the heads.

The DCR-TRV340 comes with a power adapter, InfoLithium battery, 8 MB Memory Stick, remote control, two AA batteries, AV cable, lens cap, shoulder strap, USB cable, and software CD-ROM. ... Read more

Features

  • Digital8 camcorder with 25x optical, 700x digital, zoom, and Super SteadyShot image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD monitor and black and white EVF
  • Super NightShot Color Mode enables video taping in total darkness
  • Includes 8 MB Memory Stick for still image (640 x 480) and MPEG1 capture
  • Hi8 and 8mm playback capability; USB streaming capability

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Camcorder!!!
My wife and I bought this camcorder before we went on our honeymoon and we found it to be perfect! The quality of the picture is amazing. When we were replaying the tapes on TV it looked like we were watching DVDs. The sound was also very, very good. It's easy to use, everything is self explanatory. I realy like the feature that allows you to film and send it via e-mail as MPEG files. If you plan to send whatever you taped over e-mail make sure you buy 128mb memory card. (this memory card will allow you to record upto 1 minute) If you only plan to take still pictures, you will do fine with the standard (8MB) memory card that comes with the camcorder. Also, I recommend buying 2nd battery since the standard one, which comes with the camera will last you for about 75 minutes using LCD display (2 hours using viewfinder). I bought my second battery in a package with the camcorder bag (surpisingly the bag does not come with the camcorder). By buying in the package you will save $[money]...Overall, I love this camcorder and I think it the best Digital8 camcorder on the market. One of the reviewer complained about the size of this camera. I just want to say that my wife has the smallest hands and she said that it was not too big. However, if you find this camcorder too big, I suggest looking into buying MiniDV (step above Digital8; also $[money] more expensive for pretty much same features). Good Luck with your purchase!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Camcorder
I purchased the trv340 about two weeks ago and couldn't be happier with the camcorder. Although I was initially concerned about shooting in low-light settings with a 1/6" CCD, my fears were quickly put to rest. The camcorder shoots beautifully in low light settings, and compared to other camcorders in a similar price range, the picture quality on the trv340 is outstanding. Additionally, the menus on the 340 are incredibly easy to maneuver through. Sony included several ports on the camcorder (most notably a usb port, so those without a firewire card can still view and edit video and pictures on their computer). Although the mic does, as the other reviewer noted, occasionally pick up tape drive noise, I haven't found it to be a problem in filming. If you're in the market for a camcorder, be sure to take a look at the 340. You won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT!!!!!
Thist is the best camera ive ever purchased and arguably the best Digital8 Camera ever.The TRV-340 has all the features u need. And it beats a MiniDV because it has a Super Night Shot Mode and 700 Zoom wich works great, 25 Optical Zoom too! Believe me u will not be dissapointed if u buy this camcorder!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Value For Money
After reading many specs and reviews for both MiniDV and Digital 8 cameras I settled on the 340. I have not been disappointed. This camera is feature rich and gives excellent quality video. As with any video camera the still picture quality is poor. If you want quality still pictures, the best way is to get a proper digital still camera. The menu system is very easy to use but some parts of the owners manual are not really very clear and skimps a bit on detail so there are one or two features I still haven't worked out. The built in microphone sensitivity is excellent and I have not noticed any real problem with drive motor noise pick up by the mike. The ergonomics of a couple of the controls could be improved. I have an average size hand and find my thumb needs to be almost double jointed to operate the on/off mode switch, especially to switch it on, if I want to use the camera with one hand only. The zoom control could also be improved. I think a two finger forward, aft operated zoom control would have been easier to use. These things I am willing to tolerate because of the excellent value for money this camera provides and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting features and quality for a reasonable price.

4-0 out of 5 stars This is a great video camera for the price!
This is a great video camera for the price.

After getting a chance to play around with my parent's camera, I fell in love with the TRV340. This is my first digital video camera and I'm very happy with it. It produces great video and sound, though you can't compare it with a mega-pixel or 3CCD camera. The camera uses Sony's digital 8 format which lets the camera read older 8mm tapes. Digital quality on Digital 8 tapes is equal to that of MiniDV. So, if you've got a collection of those tapes, this is a great way to convert them into digital video. The camera is a little larger than the MiniDV cameras, but the added weight makes it less shaky in your hand. Because of the included Firewire (IEEE 1394) port, it's a breeze to transfer video to your computer, provided it also has a Firewire port. I use a Mac so I can't comment on the quality of the included windows editing software.

The battery that comes with the camera won't last very long and I highly recommend an additional battery, though they are a bit pricey. I also recommend a good, sturdy tripod, and a screw-on UV filter. This filter costs very little and will protect the lens from scratches and smudges. Another good accessory would be a boom microphone that attaches to the intelligent shoe. Sound is often overlooked on camcorders and most of them have terrible onboard mics.

While this camera has the ability to take digital stills and save them to a memory stick, the resolution is very low and the pictures don't look very good. They're somewhat disappointing.

I highly recommend this camera to anyone looking to get into digital video or anyone with a collection of 8mm tapes that they want to preserve. ... Read more


19. Sony CCDTRV108 Hi8 Camcorder with 2.5" LCD
by Sony
list price: $299.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000630MK
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 2444
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

Digital video cameras have taken the spotlight recently, but for users who don't intend to transfer their video to PC, the now inexpensive analog cameras can make them an appetizing option. Sony's CCD-TRV108 Hi-8 can be had for less than $300--a steal for a Sony Handycam. It's not the most compact of cameras, but it can still be easily operated with one hand.

The lowest end of Sony's Hi-8 line, the TRV108 contains some excellent features for the price. Its NightShot infrared capability lets you film in total darkness--a feature missing on some more expensive competitor cameras.

The swiveling 2.5-inch color LCD makes it easy to frame your shots, and the 20x optical zoom (with 460x digital zoom) lets you bring the action in close. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery allows for a decent recording time of up to 160 minutes. For the long haul, the optional NP-FM91 battery pack promises over 15 hours of life on a charge.

Sony also includes a variety of basic effects tools, so you can slim or stretch the image, add fade-in and fade-out effects, and insert titles directly into your videos. The camera's dubbing feature controls 59 different brands of VCRs for fast and simple transfer of the video to VHS tape.

While analog quality can't compare to digital, the TRV108 still captures sharp video. The average user will be pleased with the picture for scenes such as a family reunion, but for more detailed subjects like distant nature shots, or if you plan to edit video on a PC, digital would serve you better but cost you more.

This camcorder would make a great gift for parents or other users simply wanting a way to record their memories in respectable quality. --J. Curtis

Pros:

  • Good quality for analog.
  • Very inexpensive
  • NightShot mode

Cons:

  • No light or accessory shoe
  • A bit bulky
... Read more

Features

  • Hi8 camcorder
  • 20x optical, 460x digital, zoom
  • 2.5 inch color LCD and black and white EVF
  • NightShot infrared mode for lowlight shooting
  • Comes with NP-FM30 InfoLithium battery

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for a first camera
The camera is very easy to use. It's not as bulky as other reviews make it out to be. The battery life has been great and the picture clarity has been great also. I have been using it to tape track meets and everything can be seen clearly. Remember that you will have to buy tapes for this camera, but that is no problem for the clarity you will get. I have not tried out all the other features like night vision, but from what I have seen so far, this camera is a real good bargain. I know 5 other people who have the same item and they do not have any complaints.The flip out lcd screen is clear also. It's like using a digital camera...but only with the tapes. Only downside I have seen is that it is a little hard to keep steady based on the videos watched. The camera seems to move around alot, but again, the picture clarity is great regardless of the low price. If you don't want to upgrade to ditigal, start with this camcorder. You will not be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Deal in Sony Hi8 Camcorder Ever!
I've been waiting and waiting for the best value in a Sony Hi8 Camcorder and by far this is it! This is my very first camcorder. I've been doing a lot of research and comparison on which sony model will suit me best, then this came out. I quickly grabbed it after finding out how reasonably priced it was. I bought it at [a local store] during [a] Sale... I've never laid hand on a camcorder before and I am very pleased to find out how easy it was to operate. I was able to do the playback on my TV and dubbing on my VCR with ease. It has great features, great sound and best of all best picture quality. I know there are a lot of people out there like myself who are not ready to spend a lot of money on a camcorder especially for the very first time. Well, you will not be disappointed with this one! It comes with all the accessories to get you started. Battery charging is very fast, instructions are easy to follow when it comes to recording, playback and editing, the night shot feature is great, best of all the LCD screen is so fun to use especially when you have a "little one" to capture on video. This is definitely as great buy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Deal
We use it for all our family events and are please at how easy it is to use. (never read the directions)The picture quality is good, clear and crisp pictures. We dont intend to use it on the computer so the analog camera is a better deal for us than digital.

5-0 out of 5 stars ACERCA DE LA COMPRA
Buenas tardes amigos de Terra lo que quiero saber si esto es seguro, si recibire la camara de video en casa y donde tengo que
pagar por ella.
gracias de antemano por sus indicaciones
saludos

Pedro Sueros

5-0 out of 5 stars Great camera for the price
Wanted a camera for Christmas and got this one because of the price, and needless to say it's a great camera. Just got back from DisneyWorld and the 108 performed extremely well. The nightshot proved handy in those dark rides, and the quality of picture was well for the Festival of the Lion King performance. The only problem I saw was that the autofocus was slow to adapt at times during those fireworks and laser shows. I didn't expect it to keep up, but it did better than I expected. Talk about impact resistant, I had a hissy when it fell out of the bag into the boat on the pirates of the carribean, but it took a lickin and it's still ticking. Once home, I just connected it to my TV and watched my vacation replay. Great camera for the price, definately worth more. Only thing better is digital. Sony has a winner here. ... Read more


20. JVC GRDVL120U MiniDV Digital CyberCam Video Camera with 2.5" LCD & B/W Viewfinder
by JVC
list price: $599.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063BGZ
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: JVC
Sales Rank: 2410
Average Customer Review: 3.24 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

Although larger than most MiniDV cameras, the JVC GR-DVL120U still feels lightweight and fits snugly into the palm of one hand. It also doesn't offer some of the high-end features of other MiniDV cameras, but for the inexpensive price of $400, it's still a great value.

The GR-DVL120U includes a 16x optical zoom and 700x digital zoom, letting you get quite close to your subjects. The 2.5-inch flip-out LCD renders images in crisp colors, although the optical viewfinder displays in black and white.

Video quality proved to be bright and colorful, with some decent digital effects available, including wipes and fades. While the GR-DVL120U doesn't include a memory-card slot for storing still pictures like some other cameras in its class, it does take snapshots, housing them on the same DV tape as video.

JVC's NightAlive feature allows for filming in low-light situations, although we have seen better results with the low-light capabilities of other cameras and camcorders.

Recharging the camera requires plugging the AC cord directly into the camera itself--depending on your viewpoint, not having a separate battery charger might be either a positive or a negative. Regardless, the battery recharges quickly, and the charge lasts a little longer than an hour--sufficient for most users.

You'll want a FireWire-capable PC to transfer video to your computer, and you'll have to pick up a FireWire cable. You can also send video directly to your TV or VCR via RCA or S-video from the 120U.

While the GR-DVL120U may not have all the features of JVC's higher-end models, this MiniDV cam does deliver excellent video quality in a very affordable package. The GR-DVL120U would please almost any beginning digital video enthusiast. --J. Curtis

Pros:

  • Great price
  • Takes digital still photos
  • 16x optical zoom/700x digital zoom

Cons:

  • No storage card for stills
  • Black-and-white viewfinder
... Read more

Features

  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 16x optical, 700x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5-inch color LCD; black and white EVF
  • Snapshot mode records stills onto tape
  • S-Video and IEEE1394 outputs

Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good value
I would recommend this product for beginning/amateur video enthusiasts for the ease of use. Although because it is limited by its price range, some features are cut out or needed, which is obviously placed in JVC's higher models. I use it to edit simple home movies using the IEEE Firewire output to my PC and it runs great on most software. I have only one problem with it though: I actually DO a lot of editing and I have to plug the AC adapter to the camera everytime, but the problem is, the plug in the camera is in the wrong place forcing the AC wire to be in this obtuse position bending the wires out of shape. It's not in a real bad condition yet, but i'm predicting in a couple of months or so after use, it will probably be damaged to a higher degree. JVC needs to place the AC outlet somewhere on the side in order to get rid of this problem. But other than that, its a good camera.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great camera for the price
This is a great camera for the price. ...The camera is light, easy to use and has great picture quality. I would recommend this camera to anyone looking for a nice digial video camera. I have seen several reviews of the camera online and all say that this is a great camera for the money. There are better cameras out there but you are looking at spending several hundred more for one of those cameras.

This camera was a breeze to use with my Apple Powerbook to do video editing with Imovie. No configuration was needed to use the camera with the laptop. I just hooked up the firewire to the laptop and used Imovie to edit and export the film to Quicktime or back to the camera. One note, a firewire cable is not included with this camera so if you are planning on editing via computer you will need to pick one up.

Overall I would highly recommend this camera to anyone who wants a DV camera that is easy to use and not very expensive.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good camera for the money
I reluctantly bought a display model of the GR-DVL120U about a year ago. I choose this model because of price, shape/size and the fact it was digital. Price was the biggest concern because the soul purpose was for shooting underwater video (if my housing flooded, I would be out less money). The camera is still going strong despite use in some rough environments. The video quality is very good and if works great for connecting to a computer (something my girlfriends Sony doesn't do well). The manual setting on the camera is great because I can lock the focus and everything for shooting underwater. That way it doesn't search for focus in low light conditions. There's lots of different settings you can tweak in the manual mode to work in your environment (I can get good footage 119 ft underwater!) The negative would be the camera isn't very common so it isn't always easy to find batteries or other accessories (like a good fisheye lens)

1-0 out of 5 stars do not buy!!!!
it broke the third time we used it. no power, nothing. now the labor warranty is expired and the tape is stuck inside! do not nuy no matter how great the deal. you will buy buy a peice of excretory waste.

1-0 out of 5 stars defective!!!
I had the camcorder for about a year and then BANG, this whinding noise starts to happen... I can't record with it anymore... It seems with the slightest touch, it makes a whinding noise and tottally destroys the image... This product was a great deal... Too bad it doesn't work! ... ... Read more


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