Friday, January 04, 2008

Sony DCR-HC28 review

I am a novice video guy, this is my first video camera. But, having a 1 yr old daughter and another on the way had me wanting a video camera. With some Best Buy gift cards given to us for Christmas, we decided it was a good time to take the plunge.

The Good

  • Very inexpensive. It was $225 on sale at Best Buy.
  • MiniDV is uncompressed and therefore pretty easy to edit.
  • Firewire to our Macbook is very fast and easy to use with iMovie.
  • Very Small and lightweight.
  • Image stabilization seems to work pretty well
  • Everything bad I read was about the sound, but I find it to be very clear.
  • It does a good job of managing different mini-clips in the playback system. Not sure what this is called, but it automatically resets the counter to 0:00 after each time we pull off the movie clips. this could be standard, but is really a nice feature.
  • Battery life seems to be great for what we use it for, a bunch of small 5 minute clips.
The Bad
  • No 16:9 mode...which all my TVs are widescreens.
  • On our MacBook and large LCD TV, these videos really start look amateur in full screen. Look fine on a youtube like interface.
  • Why is it the 4 pin firewire instead of 6 pin?
  • Firewire cable is expensive, ~ $30
  • Touchscreen controls are not that easy to use for me. My wife seems to hit the buttons with more easy.
  • Its very difficult to keep the camera steady at 20X zoom. Not sure I would ever use it or anything higher unless I bought a tripod.
  • The default zoom level seems to be too close. you can't take videos unless you can step back a good bit.
  • Using the tapes as storage is a bit kludgey in terms of rewind, play, etc.
The best thing about our camcorder is iMovie. So, its not so much the camcorder as the software which didn't come with the Sony but with our Macbook.

Overall, I might buy an HD version using flash memory if I were to do it again. That is, for small 5 minute clips to capture moments.

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