Product Type: Sony digital camcorders
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Sony Handycam DCR-PC5
Member Name: annette_tr9
Sony Handycam DCR-PC5
Date: 14/03/01, updated on 14/03/01 (805 review reads)
Advantages: excellent picture quality, stills capable
Disadvantages: expensive accessories
We bought this camcorder especially for our holiday in Florida, we needed one that was small so that we could take it on rollercoasters etc. and be able to hold onto it! The Sony DCRPC5 was the smallest we could find.
For £1000 (from www.unbeatable.co.uk) this camcorder has everything. Great zoom, clear picture, stills capable and of course it’s really tiny. My favourite part of the camcorder is the still picture facility. You can store digital photos (like a normal digital camera) on a memory stick which is supplied with the camera. They can then be downloaded to a PC from the camcorder. All of the leads and software are supplied with the camcorder to be able to link to a PC so you won’t have to spend hours looking for compatible software. Bigger memory sticks can be bought but I haven’t looked into the price of them. You can choose the quality of the photos as well, the higher quality the photo the less you can store.
After transferring the images from the DV tape to a normal video tape the picture quality is excellent, can’t find any faults there. There is a cleaver feature on the camcorder allowing you to put a frame around the film/photos. There are quite a few to choose from including Christmasy ones and funny ones. You can also set the camera to film like an old western film etc.
The ‘Blair Witch’ filming is easily accomplished by turning the viewing screen round to face you. It cleverly flips the image so that you looking at yourself the right way up when filming.
Carrying the camcorder around with us we had a number of people comment and ask us about it – just like being famous. Talking to people who had the PC100 and comparing them I’m glad we bought the PC5. There isn’t a great deal of difference that I could see but the PC5 is still smaller.
The camcorder uses mini DV tapes. These are available with or without memory. The ones without memory
are considerably cheaper. The only reason you will need a tape with memory is if you want to store the date and time on the tape when you are filming – I find it cheaper to write it on. Also you can take still pictures on the tape so you will need memory for that but as you can store stills on the memory stick that isn’t vital either. Don’t let them sell you the expensive memory tapes, get tapes without memory.
The only bad thing about the camcorder is the price of accessories. It comes with a battery but obviously you have to have a spare and they are £70 each for a small one. Small batteries only last an hour, if you want a battery that lasts longer you have to buy a big one which sticks a mile out of the side defeating the object of buying a small camcorder. I have found other batteries which claim to fit the camera which are not Sony but every time we have tried one the camcorder rejects them. This has happened to a friend with a PC5 as well so it’s not just our camcorder! A very cleaver idea by Sony there. The battery lasts longer if you don’t use the viewing screen when filming but who can be bothered to look through that tiny hole?
Overall if you want a small camcorder I would definitely recommend this one. It lives up to it’s Sony label!