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Old May 10th, 2004, 03:46 AM   #1
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Opinions on Sony DCR-HC85

Im dont have a great knowledge of cameras yet, but i do know that my current minidv one is out of date. For the price range of up to $1000, im looking for a minidv camera that works pretty good at night. What do you guys think and any other opinions would be great.
Thanks
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Old May 10th, 2004, 01:44 PM   #2
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You say your MiniDV cam is out of date.
The way things have evolved recently, your old MiniDV may be better than many newer models!
The CCDs tend to get smaller with millions of pixels for still pictures, giving poor low-light performance on the video.
The manual controls are disguised as menus on the LCD instead of good'ol reliable buttons on the cam. And so on...

In other words, you may look around for something new, but don't take for granted that your old MiniDV is outdated.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 12:06 AM   #3
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Well mine doesn't have CCD and at night it gets blurry every few seconds on auto focus.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 02:59 PM   #4
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Every consumer cameras' auto focus will crap out in low light. That's... normal. Manual focus can help, but that only works well if you leave it on one setting. You're not going to be able to change focus easily since consumer cameras have manual focus wheels that spin forever and ever.

Would I get a new camera? Probably not.
Newer cameras haven't really improved in low light. In some cases like the Sony TRV22 versus TRV38, the lower model has much better low light. However, you might have a model that's particularly bad in low light. In that case a new camera would be an improvement. Without knowing which camera you have, it's hard to say.

The Sony TRV22 is particularly good in low light, although it's beat by much more expensive cameras with 3 1/3" CCD. The pictures at this Japanese site (http://babelfish.altavista.com/babel....html&lp=ja_en) might be helpful.

The TRV22 has ok image quality. Colors are very contrasty and saturated, the camera is not as sharp as others, false colors show up sometimes (see the camcorder shootout at camcorderinfo.com... false colors appear like crazy on the resolution test chart), and the translucent lens cap sometimes introduces a haze in the image.

The controls are wacky since you have to use the LCD touchscreen (you may hate it), although you get some manual controls and spot focus and spot exposure which are mildly helpful.

The camera is pretty small. Audio-wise you can plug in a better microphone like the Sony MS907/908 and there's a headphone output too. The on-board mic is not useable quality, although probably average for an on-board mic.

The TRV19 is the watered down version of the TRV22, it doesn't have analog-digital passthrough and some other features.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 11:40 PM   #5
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> and the translucent lens cap sometimes introduces
> a haze in the image.

Hmm. Are you not supposed to remove the cap to shoot video?
;-)
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Old May 12th, 2004, 11:24 AM   #6
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I meant that the lens cap (when open!) actually reflects light into the lens.

Here's the only half-decent pictures I could find of the lens cap on the camera:
http://www.dvspot.com/reviews/sony/t...era-inhand.jpg
http://www.dvspot.com/reviews/sony/t...camera-top.jpg
The base part of the lens cap fixture seems to reflect light into the lens. This will be a problem when you shoot into a light source that's nearly in the shot. When I did that, there was a haze on the right side of the picture and the edge of that was arc-shaped. I can't think of another explanation why that would happen.

Usually the haze thing doesn't happen.
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Old May 13th, 2004, 12:16 AM   #7
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I see. I thought it would be something like that but couldn't resist making the joke, sorry. Anyway, you can also remove the lens cap assembly alltogether like on other Sony 'palm' MiniDV camcorders, or not?
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Old May 13th, 2004, 01:07 PM   #8
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Yep, you can remove the lens cap. This feature also makes it easy to lose the damn thing (which I've seen happen).
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Old May 14th, 2004, 01:23 PM   #9
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Not happy with today's new camcorders

<<<-- Originally posted by Norm Couture : You say your MiniDV cam is out of date.
The way things have evolved recently, your old MiniDV may be better than many newer models!
The CCDs tend to get smaller with millions of pixels for still pictures, giving poor low-light performance on the video.
The manual controls are disguised as menus on the LCD instead of good'ol reliable buttons on the cam. And so on...

In other words, you may look around for something new, but don't take for granted that your old MiniDV is outdated. -->>>

My Panasonic PV-DV100 died recently (the imaging portion, at least, not VTR) at the ripe old age of 3, and I can't find ANY currently produced consumer camera in its price range ($500-600) that I like to replace it. I like a compact camcorder, but most new ones IMO are too small and hard to stabilize as a result. And I miss the large rocker switch used for the variable-speed zoom on the PV-DV100. All the new camcorders have a tiny lever that slides one way to for tight and the other way for wide; I don't like this at all, but I guess it's something I'll just have to accept and get used to. Another problem is the bottom-loading tape door, which can't be used if the camcorder's on a tripod. What a pain! I haven't shopped for a consumer-grade camcorder for a few years, and my perceection was that the gap between consumer and professional was closing; I couldn't be more wrong. Today's flimsy feeling consumer camcorders seem to be more still camera than video camera, which is just plain wrong. Manufacturers are including more gimmicks in smaller products and doing very little to improve actual video quality. (It's hard to find a camera with a single 1/3" CCD.)

Of the cameras I've seen (but not yet tried) in the $600 ballpark, I'm leaning toward the Canon Elura 65/70 or Panasonic GS120. I may wait a while longer and spring for the Canon Optura Xi or Panasonic PV-DV953. I need the manual functions for when I'd sometimes use the camcorder as a backup/second camera to my Panasonic DVC80.

Panasonic in Elgin, IL wants $260 to fix my PV-DV100 -- maybe more ($149 + parts) if they determine the problem was caused by physical or water damage. $260 is more than the camera's worth! I've since retired it to VCR duty at my video-editing PC.
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