Pros: Lightweight yet robust, easy to operate, comfortable with a lot of high-end features
Cons: SD card housing poor, battery in-place blocks power and S-Video ports.
With the currently plunging prices on the sub-miniature DV camcorders there are a lot of folks unloading their older (slightly larger) earlier generation DVs. Case in point the PV-DV701D I picked up at a bargain basement price.
I had been looking for a low-price runabout supplemental DV which would be a lot more convenient (not to mention a lot easier to replace) than reluctantly carting my more expensive ($2100 new) PV-951D into "hostile" environments.
After looking at several of the new sub-miniature DV camcorders in the $300 range I quickly found that I really didn't find them all that comfortable to use with really fiddly and flimsy controls.
I discovered a slightly defective yet functional PV-DV701D selling for the incredible price of $38 (shipped) so I took a risk and it works fine except for the SD memory card function (which only allows you to take low-res 640x480 digital pics) which is really quite minor. No case, power supply or batteries - but these series of camcorders all have interchangable power options so I am able to borrow my 951D power parts to make it all work.
Even "regular" fully equipped used prices for this DV are in the $200-400 range which is about the same for a new version of the sub-miniature DVs but I firmy believe you get a lot more DV for your money with these older models.
Overall its a much more comfortable and simple to operate in record and playback mode. It is a lot lighter than the 951D yet the swing-out display is a nice size at 3 1/2 inches.
The 0 lux "night-mode" works surprisingly well. The controls are intuitive and from a post recording production standpoint, it works seamlessly with Pinnacle Studio 8 and Microsoft XPs built-in Movie maker as XP immediately identifies the correct Camcorder as soon as the Firewire or USB cable is plugged in.
The manual and management software is all downloadable and additional accessories are readily available.
Even with my limited use so far, I can tell that this is going to get a lot more use than my "Pro-sumer" 951D.