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I was in the market for a replacement video camera after some pikey smashed a window in my car to get my old one.
I needed one with IR 'night vision' like my old Panasonic had, as we had recently seen a ghost in an old cottage whilst using night vision! (yes i did have on tape but it was in the stolen camera)
Now I would have had a Panasonic again because 'Which' have always rated them higher than other makes of video camera they review..mainly for image quality but Panasonic no longer do a camera with proper full IR night vision..so I decided to go Sony.
Very compact compared to previous panasonic and I was eager to try out the 40 times zoom lense! The battery charges whilst still attached to the camera which is good.
The overall image quality is not a good as my previous Panasonic and the IR setting not as powerfull either.
The 40 times zoom is impressive if you can keep steady enough otherwise you won't see a thing because of the shaking. There is a 'steady shot' setting but this doesn't help much.
The 'touch sensitive' screen is what you use to access all the menu's and navigate the tape forward and back. The screen is nice and bright but not as sharp and clear as my Panasonic. Colours are all wrong on the screen but improve when played back through the TV or PC.
Mini DV format is very versitile and easy to use but I think the hard drive and other formats are the way forward.
Seems sturdy and reliable as its already been dropped on some rocks and covered in dints and scrapes.
Go for a Panasonic. You won't regret it.