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“I wanted a digital camcorder that was functional,...”

Written on: 23/03/2002 by Amazon Customer. (1 review written)

I wanted a digital camcorder that was functional, portable and easy to use. These are the main selling points of a Mini-DV camcorder, so it made sense to look closely at each model in this product line.

There are really only two players in the Mini-DV market - Sony and JVC. I managed to whittle it down to just two models - the Sony DCR-PC9 and the JVC GR-DV3. Each boast an incredibly compact design - covered in a sleek silver alloy casing. From a 'looks' perspective they are both quite brilliant.

My attention was drawn more to the Sony when it came to ease of use and functionality. The touch screen menu on the Sony is really useful, allowing you to add Digital Effects on the fly. The fade, wipe and 'ghost' features are great fun once you get a handle on when to actually use them !

The digital zoom takes over once the optical zoom reaches X10 and the Steady Shot feature really does make a difference (especially when walking around or in a car). I did notice that when the zoom is used at 'full speed' there is a massive loss of focus - something that takes a couple of seconds to regain.

The digital photo feature offers two alternatives. The first one is to use the Mini DV tape as the storage medium (taking up about 7 seconds per photo) but stores with it sound. The second option is to use the Memory Stick and depending on size can store up to 1700 photos. Reviewing, editing and deleting still images is easy using the touch screen display and I was pleasently surprised by the quality of the software provided. The actual picture quality is 700,000 pixels - not up to much so don't expect good quality stills. It is fine for illustrative purposes though. (stand alone Digital Cameras offer 3.2 Million pixels as standard these days)

The 'Firewire' cable is NOT supplied, but this really isn't needed considering the USB and AV cables that are supplied. The 4Meg Memory Stick is an insult too - allowing the storage of just 15 photos. This went straight in the bin when I got it home.

So, in addition to the purchase of the camera, I could squeeze in the silver carrying case, an 11 hour battery, 5 Mini DV tapes and a 64Meg Memory Stick all for just over 1000 Sterling.

I feel that this has been a great purchase - the key to it being the size, functionality and of course, the 'poser' affect I get from it's looks.

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