We bought Sony ahndycam DCR-HC37e for Christmas and it was £142 at Cameras2U.com. We bought bag as well as it was a good bundled deal and it is really necessary. It is very easy to use. Commands are displayed on LCD and I found menu intuitive to follow. The only drawback is that screen can get dirty from fingerprints quickly. Battery life is decent for our simple needs (children playing, birthdays, holidays with children). My wife is using it without any problem although not very technically savvy. USB cable can be used only to transfer still frames/pictures from the tape to PC. You need firewire card and cable to transfer video to PC. Software which comes with camera is great and will keep your videos organized in calendar or file view.
Picture quality is very good for such a cheap and simple camera. Replacment batteries are expensive as Sony did something that only their original baterries work. There is a workaround and some manufacturers produce baterries that work with Sony - take a look at eBay.
Probably not for professionals but for home video users great buy.
NICE ITEM, EASY TO USE AFTER A WHILE. ALTHOUGH IT HAS A USB PORT YOU HAVE TO USE A FIREWIRE TO CONNECT TO YOUR PC IF YOU WANT TO DOWNLOAD FROM THE CAMCORDER. NIGHT SHOOTING MODE IS A GREAT IDEA ALSO.WISHED IT CAME WITH A CAMERA BAG AS THEY ARE NOT THAT CHEAP TO BUY EVEN ON THE WEB.
I had been filming my son growing up on an old camcorder handed down to me from my mum and dad but as I had a few pounds given to me over Christmas I bought myself this Sony handycam in the January sales for what I thought to be a very reasonable £185.99, it truly is a handycam very compact and light too.
At first when I got home and eagerly unwrapped it from its impressive packaging I thought to myself I will still be trying to learn how to work this next January but I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of use once you have read the very straight forward instruction manual. Although the first look at the manual will frighten you as it did me by its shear volume you will soon see that it is only that size due to the amount of different languages it is printed in and is in fact only 12 pages long.
So after browsing through the manual I couldn't wait to get started, I think I filmed my sons every move that day. This cam records onto minidv tapes but comes with an usb connection so it is very easy to get your movies onto DVD through your pc. The cam has a very good zoom on it and can pick up clear images from a great distance; I found this very useful at the safari park the other day as I was able to film parts of the park the rest of the people with me hadn't seen yet.
One of my favourite functions on the cam is the picture effects function which allows you to fade out and back in when filming rather than having a stop start movie, this makes your films look much more professional. You can fade just out to black or there are more fancy types of fading such as the screen appears to bounce out and then back in again, it can also just be a bit of fun!
The camera itself is very light and compact and there for easy to handle which if you have small hands like me is very useful. I found with my old camcorder I was struggling to reach all the buttons when filming with this however the buttons are close to hand, multifunctional and very easy to access.
Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar Lens
800,000 pixels Advanced HAD CCD
40x Optical Zoom
2000x Digital Zoom
2.5" LCD screen with touch panel
i.LINK (DV output)
8 Scene Selection
6 Picture effects
Spot Meter Focus
You will see in the product description that it mentions nightshot plus, this is basically night vision which means it can film in pitch darkness. Those of you who have watched big brother will know what that looks like, when they film the bedrooms at night and every one looks green. This function could be handy for filming your partner snoring at night without them knowing. I have of course never done that!!!! Ha-ha.
Recording Format MiniDV
Optical Zoom Factor 40x
Digital Zoom Factor 2000x
LCD Screen Size 2.5 inch
It also has many other basic features such as adjustable shooting modes (i.e.) Spotlight, Sunset & Moon, landscape, portrait mode, sports mode, etc, touch screen controls, auto power save auto shut off and a built in microphone. The built in microphone is the only draw back I have found with the camera so far. It is situated right on the front and has no protection from the wind and there for your movie can sometimes be effected by wind noise even if the wind isn't all that bad!
There is a small remote control unit also with this model however it is very basic and can only start or stop play and record or zoom in and switch on and off but i guess thats about all you would use a remote for on a camcorder so its sufficient.
It's all in all a very high spec camera whilst still being very compact and easy to use; it is suitable for a first camcorder as well as being good enough for the more adventurous film maker. When you buy this camera you not only have the great reputation of Sony but also a two years manufacturers warranty for peace of mind. I believe both curry's and comet still stock this camera and it can also be picked up many places on line although shop around as I have seen it for as little as £179.99 to as much as £225 so be careful where you buy it.
I hope this review has been enjoyable and informative to you and thanks for reading!