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Sony CCD TRV 218

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      13.01.2004 01:48
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      This weekend the weather was dreadful. Gales ripped the felt from my shed roof and on a windswept and rainy Sunday morning I was balancing on top of a rickety old step ladder trying to fix what was left of my shed roof back together. This after just going and booking this year's Summer holiday the day before had me yearning for that feel good holiday feeling. Later that same day, with little to do and the weather still beating down in a seasonally expected but nevertheless miserable way, I reached for the video tape of family memories and holidays and had everybody sit down. Home videos are like caffeine - OK in small doses and never expect it is OK to force onto visitors. With this in mind, despite recording hours of footage of children playing happily and occasionally fighting spectacularly, we only ever put edited highlights onto a propoper VHS tape. After a long winded and personal introduction I arrive therefore at the review of my Sony video camera. A video camera has been in Plymyphil's house since an unexpected insurance payout about three years ago. Our original video camera, also a Sony, still works fine but this was our upgrade in time for the last family holiday. At a penny under £280.00 it cost only slightly more than the camera it replaced but technology moves fast and I was surprised at just how many features that I didn't even know I needed were now bundled on even this budget video camera. Let me take you on a product walk and see what there is of both positive and negative note in this product. THE DESIGN The shape of this camera follow the trend for cameras that appear more vertical. Some of the latest products have taken this to the next level and stand higher than they are wide. This camera still follows the original look of handheld video cameras. Most of the camera appears to be taken up by the lens and this is a feature of budget Sony video cameras. This is a good point tha
      t reflects on the image quality as cheaper lenses need additional corrective electronics and still fail to deliver the same high quality of image. WEIGHT This is my only beef about this camera. Obviously in these days of mini cameras and digital recording anything that still records on a Hi8 tape is going to seem large but this is by any comparison quite a brick. If you feel embarrassed getting your phone out in public, this may not be the product for you. Likewise if you work undercover for a detective agency this is not a hidden camera. THE TECHY BIT Focal length: 2.5mm-50mm Optical zoom: 20X Digital zoom: 560X Sound: Mono Display:2.5" TFT colour Warranty: 1 year THE USER EXPERIENCE OK, having got over the weight issue and absorbed the derisive glances from the guy next to you with what looks like a zippo lighter recording the days events, just how does this work. Well, being a Sony it has a name that carries a certain Kudos in the camera market and I feel it lives up to this name. The camera comes with a pelthors of fade in and out effects that are easily accessed by cycling through the button conveniently located for your filming hand. The on screen display highlights which particular effect is selected and pressing the play or stop button will now bring about the desired effect. Back home the remote control handset that comes with the camera allows the camera to be connected to the TV and video and you to sit in the comfort of your armchair for the editing. Now, despite being fairly technically minded I cannot be bothered to edit home video and add sound etc. This camera will allow all of this to be done with some confidence and an incredibly detailed manual talks you through every editing eventuality. I simply select the scene I want and record to VHS tape for boring my family with - end of story. On very rare occasions when summer holidays have left me with more time on my han
      ds than I know what to do with I have added text subtitles to let me know where the film was shot - pointless really as I was there shooting the film but when old age brings about memory loss I'll have the subtitles to help. OVERALL This camera represents good value for money if you don't mind the large form factor and the weight that comes with a larger camera. The battery is beginning to degrade slightly already but then this is true of all devices with a rechargeable battery. The image quality is excellent for the price and certainly much better than my previous camera. The only facility the camera lacks that I now notice having replaced my televsion is that of Stereo recording. Now if I had that ... And the summer holiday. The afternoon went well and ended with the classic footage that everybody films when first purchased their home movies camera (back me up on this please and don't make me feel like a social pariah who has so little friendship in his life movie madness is his friend). There I am sitting on the sofa and then with a well timed fade out, a move and a well timed fade in I transp[ort myself to the other side of the sofa. Ah, the glory days of star trek and now you can film it all at home. I hope this review helps in making a purchasing decision. Thanks for taking the time to read and I look forward to your comments - Phil

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