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Sony CCD TRV 238 Hi 8 Camcorder With a new baby on the way we thought it about time we got rid of our rather large and bulky video camera and purchased a new one. Much to the joy of my rather tight fisted boyfriend I was adamant that we needed to get one! The new one is much small and better than this old one but I thought as the old one did me proud I would just let you all know how well the old one worked before giving it up to the big electrical store in the sky I have had this old Sony Camcorder for a little over 5 years I would say and it really has done itself proud and recorded lots of memorable moments. It set me back a little over £350 when I first bought it although I expect you can now get this model for a lot, lot cheaper as it has become somewhat outdated. At the time though it wasnt one of the best you could buiy and to be honest I think it was the cheapest one that was in store on the day. It did come with extended guarantee and a little bit of money off and a few blank tapes were also thrown in for good measure. I am not much of a technical minded person but for all those who are here are the specifications of this particular model: Focal length: 2.5mm-50mm Optical zoom: 20X Digital zoom: 560X Sound: Mono - Display:2.5" TFT colour - Warranty: 1 year - Manuel focus - Night shot (built in night light) The box I unpacked it from came with a few different parts and they included: Battery Remote control Charger with A/C Adapter Neck strap And of course the camcorder itself. The camera to use was very straight forward and although it did come with a rather extensive but easy to understand manual I rarely take much notice of these and go full steam ahead with finding out myself how to operate the thing. The camcorder on a whole may look complicated but the buttons are easily marked and very simple to use. It really didnt take me long to be able to set the thing up and start recording. Although of course I had to chare the thing for a good few hours before there was enough battery life to do anything with it. The tapes are easy to put in and take out and the Hi8 tapes are widely available both here and abroad as I found out when I ran out of tape on holiday in Spain and they are priced fairly reasonably for a packet of 3 or 5. Charging the camcorder up for the initial time took around six hours for complete power and since then has not taken that long unless I have run the thing to a complete battery melt down. The charger adaptor fits into the camera port and wall socket easily and is again very basic to use. The camcorder works very easily and without any major problems as far as I was concerned. The zoom button is positioned on the top right of the main body of the camera and is very easy to zoom and out as it is right next to the handle where you are holding the thing. The picture quality shown on the LCD display is pretty good although looks so much better when you have transferred the images onto a proper DVD and are playing it on a larger television screen. The LCD display was one of the reasons that I purchased this particular model in the first place and it works well and shows the recording images pretty clearly. You are able to move the screen to face forward or back and to save on battery life you can close the LCD display away and just use the viewfinder. There is also an option to use the nightvision that turns everything green looking. I don't really like using this so have never recorder anything using this feature. There is also a nightlight that can be turned on but again I rarely used this feature and to be honest I think the once or twice that I did put me off because the quality wasnt that good therefore not spurring me on to use it again. There are a lot of buttons that can be used in the playback option and most of the options for the actual recording settings are under a separate sub menu. In this sub menu are options to change the look of the LCD display. This display is in colour and does tend to suck a lot of battery power up. The camcorder itself really is pretty large and bulky and because of its age I would say nowadays it is pretty much a super size camcorder. Carting it round on holiday I am sure burnt a few extra calories and to be honest I think in the heat it is not a piece of equipment you want to have hanging from around your neck! The camera comes with all the wires and bits needed to transfer any data from the tape in the camera to a DVD or such when you get home. This is very good as I often find myself buying things that you need to get extra wires and cables for at a later date. The whole process of transferring data was quick simple and painless. I think that anyone could do it even without studying the instruction manual. The fact that there is a remote control with the camcorder is an even better help when recording the data to disk as it means it is much easier to record and transfer data from far away. Once all the data has been transferred over to DVD the quality of the picture and sound are both really pretty good. There are no real problems with any of the clarity of the picture and the colours come out reasonably clear. All in all I would say this camcorder for the price is pretty good at doing what it is meant to. However nowadays I think for the price I paid when I first got this that you could get a much smaller and more lightweight model and be just as happy. I wouldnt say this is a bad camcorder but it has certainly had its day. I am not sure they are even making this particular model any more and I would say not to think about buying it due to the size and weight of the thing. It is perfect for a beginners camera and I think if you can get it second hand then its not a bad buy but for buying a new one there are definitely better ones for the same price available in most stores. I have of course up graded t a newer smaller better camera and I have paid a little less than this one. A good camera in its day but certainly nowadays there are far better ones out on the market.