With a little baby on the way, we had to get a video camera (my husband told me!). I have to say I thought it'd just be his toy and a waste of money but we have had so much fun learning how to use it and the baby won't even arrive for 2 months.
I love the fact that this camera is so easy to use, you can record for ages and then edit it down. This is really useful if you have a rabbit who sits completely still as soon as you put a camera on him but then all of a sudden will do something amazing (relatively speaking - he is a rabbit after all!) It is extremely lightweight and so does not make your arm ache if you hold it for long periods. It also is pretty resilient to any shakes of the hand you might have.
I'm a bit of a techno-phobe so ease of use is the key to my enjoyment. This is simple and fun and produces high quality results. I'm a big fan of sony cameras and this did not disappoint.
Here's the technical bit:
Stamina super long battery life, which means about 2 hours of battery life.
Comes with an adapter to plug into the tv to watch your movies on screen.
Large viewing window that you can swivel so those who are being filmed can actually watch what is being recorded. Very useful if you want to film yourself and see how it is focused.
Lightweight, large enough to grip but very small and compact.
No case which is a downside, as it lives in the box at home. Not sure how we'll cope when out and about. I guess we'll have to invest in a sturdy protective case.
A great buy! I would recommend this if you have never had a video camera before, as like I said, it is really easy to use and you can play with it for hours without the battery failing, which is what you need to do to get to grips with all the functions. So far I have just fiddled with the zoom and the lighting and both have worked brilliantly.
With the ever increasing popularity of sites such as YouTube and Yahoo! Video, I found it time to invest in a camera after being sick of uploading videos off my mobile phone to said sites.
All I required was an entry level camera which did the basics; it has to use DV tapes. It has to film in widescreen. And with limited knowledge of video aspects (I'm more of a photography man myself), I settled at that.
After looking around at numerous cameras, I found this Sony product to be right for me. The handycam has a 20x Optical Zoom, a Carl Zeiss lens, runs on Mini DV tapes and has a widescreen option. Good enough for me.
I purchased the camera safe in the knowledge that it would meet my requirements - but I never expected it to exceed my expectations to the extent it has.
From the off this Sony Handycam has to be one of the most easiest thing to use. With a easy to navigate touch-screen interface and a small compact size, the Handycam fits in your hand perfectly, with the record button in prime position to set you off recording straight from opening the box.
After playing with the settings for literally 30seconds, I was away. All I wanted to do was set the correct date and time, and switch to a widescreen option (which, of course, is personal preference). Should you not wish to play with the settings, there's a button on the side labelled 'Easy' - just hit that, and the default settings will be in place.
For a general use camera, it's quite impressive. The quality of the picture is great, and the zoom is good, with auto-focus working well. There's also the ability to switch to 'Nightshot Plus' which turns on the night vision feature. Whilst in this setting, which also works better than expected, the picture quality is still crisp and clear.
In terms of sound, I was impressed by the quality of what the camera can pick up. Initially, I didn't think anything of it - until I stood and filmed a band playing live; and the sound, once the video had been imported on to the computer, was great. I know there's a tendency for live music performances to become 'muffled'.
If I were to find fault with this equipment, it would be down to three things. Firstly, there's a 'Photo' button... which I haven't actually found any real use for. Whilst recording, pressing the photo button freezes on that frame for around 3 seconds, and then carries on recording.
Secondly, widescreen mode is not quite widescreen. The camera outputs 4:3 and then put's black borders top and bottom. I don't know if this is how it's supposed to be done; but it seems a funny way of doing things.
Finally, there's the software that comes with the camera. If I were still on a mac, I presume I'd use iMovie to sort out the footage, and be quite content with that. However, the software that comes with the camera, while bare able, isn't very nice to use.
The installation placed around 7 different applications on my machine, yet it seems video is played out through one application only, and in ten minute segments. It's a shame you can't play it all out at once, save having to come back to it every ten minutes and hit continue.
What's more, because of the shoddy workmanship put into the application, that window has to be on top of all other applications when importing - so you're unable to use the rest of the computer.
Software differences aside, because I guess you could just use Windows Movie Maker (PC) or iMovie (Mac) to import video, the actual equipment is top notch and a great entry level camera.
In addition to being equipped with a 2.5" LCD monitor, 800k pixel CCD and 20x Optical Zoom, the DCR-HC35E features high quality Sony Handycam technology. It is incredibly easy to use thanks to a large Touch panel on the camcorder's LCD screen, allowing you to easily select the filming mode of your choice and even view the remaining battery levels. In addition, Sony has thoughtfully added Start/Stop and Zoom buttons on the frame of the LCD screen itself so that you don't have to take your eye off the action or obstruct the screen to operate these functions.