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I had used many camcorders before purchasing this Sony handycam. I normally capture video and use it mostly for special effects and video editing. The handycam is an excellent camera and is very small which can fit into a jacket pocket. I have used this camera for some time and I have not encountered any problems with the camera.
The camera quality is amazing as it is very clear. The camera zoom is 20x, and once the camera is zoomed into its fullest the video still appears clear.
The video time is good as the DV tapes last up to 60 minutes with slow play and 90 minutes with long play. I have tried using both and the slow play will provide much better video quality, I have used the long play once and didn't really like quality and haven't used it again. The Sony handycam is a DV which I prefer to use instead of the Digital 8 which is quite old.
There are two ways to use the camera as for beginners you can set it on easy where only the play, stop and rewind buttons are available. I don't set it on easy because I can access the setup menu.
I did get one small battery when I purchased the camera but the battery life was too poor and only lasted about an hour. I purchased a Sony FP-90 battery and that was excellent as it lasted for over five hours. The FP-90 battery is quite big and heavy and will stick out a bit and the battery costs over £50 but I bought it on EBay a lot cheaper.
The handycam does also come with a remote control and you can zoom in and out, forward, rewind, play, go into setting. The remote control is very small but is very handy and useful. One thing I liked about the camera is that it is a touch screen and this makes it a lot easier to change around settings on the camera. I found the camera very easy to handle, it is quite light, very small and I do feel comfortable while filming. The ejection of the tape can take quite long because it ejects the tape automatically.
But, I encountered a lot of problems when trying to put my video onto a CD. The handycam has got a feature called burn to VCD and you connect by USB to your computer. The problem is that the Sony software (Pixela) might not support the CD drive on the computer and you won't be able to use the features on the handycam such as burn to vcd and burn to dvd. Pixela is the software which I got with the camera and they only support only some cd drives, if you have a Sony vaio computer then you won't encounter any problems. I did manage to get all my videos onto the computer by using windows movie maker which takes some time and it is best to use a firewire cable. If you just want to burn directly from the camera to cd then I would check with Sony first to see if your cd drive can run with the Pixela software.
The nightshot is a brilliant feature which makes a huge difference when filming, I didn't notice much when I was filming but when I watched it afterwards I saw that it make a lot of difference. Taking photos was also a great feature. I did also get an AV cable which allowed me to connect the camera to the TV and watch the whole video on the television.
Overall, I think that this is a wonderful camera, I purchased it for £230 and I thought that I had been conned but I was wrong. It's got everything nightshot, taking photos but beware of the Pixela software.