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Maybe you'll be better off with something else.
Sep 25, 2010 (Updated Oct 31, 2010)
Review by schoppe-sm
Rated a Helpful Review
Pros:Price: 300$. Light and compact. Simple operation.
Cons:Poor battery life. Tiny touch screen. Poor low light recording.
The Bottom Line: If you just need the basics and a reasonable cost then this camera will work. If you want more than 'basic' look elsewhere.
Recommend this product?
Looking for an relatively inexpensive compact video camera? One that records average quality video and is simple to operate? If so, go ahead and purchase this camera. The Sony DCR-DVD650 camcorder will work just fine for you. Don't bother reading any more.
If, on the other hand, you would like something more out of your video camera, then read on and find out why you might be better off with something else.
As I said, this Sony video camera is relatively inexpensive. I paid around 300$ to purchase this camera at Wal*Mart. For the price you'll get a fairly easy to operate video camera that records to mini DVD's. These mini DVD's are great because your average DVD player can play them.
The optical zoom (60x) on the Sony Flash Media Camcorder is good for recording video at a distance. This would be an ideal camera if you are going to be backpacking to some remote location and want to record your adventures if it were not for the poor battery life. It is lightweight and compact and has held up just fine when I have tossed it into my purse or backpack.
That's about where the pros end.
Probably the most important thing to someone considering purchasing a video camera is the quality of the video. I would rate this camera at average. Even when on a tripod, using the steady-cam feature and without using the digital zoom, the video appears a bit grainy. This is not a HD video camera. You may be disappointed when you are used to watching HD video on your 42" HD T.V.
The battery life was a problem for me. Perhaps my standards are a bit high but I expect at least an hours worth of battery life out of any electronic device. If you decide to buy this camera make sure you purchase additional batteries to carry with you. You can purchase a higher capacity battery for around 150$ (1/2 the price of the camera???).
View Finder Touch Screen
The flip-open color viewfinder has touchscreen capabilities but is tiny. Unless your fingers are the size of a five year old, using the touch screen is not easy.
The included cables allow you to connect to a standard T.V. or computer. It's just as simple to slide the mini-DVD in though.
If you do purchase this video camera, I would suggest purchasing mini-DVD's with the highest amount of playback time. The standard ones are only good for about 30 minutes of video.
The camera is lightweight but, in my opinion, not very ergonomic. My fingers should sit naturally on the zoom and record buttons and they don't.
Don't be fooled by the still shot photo ability that this camera DOES have. Face it, if you want quality still pictures you're going to buy a high mega pixel digital still camera. The digital still pictures from this camera are 250k pixel according to Sony's website.
Light Recording System
Another drawback is that the camera does not have a better low light recording system. My older Sony video cameras had excellent low light and infrared recording systems that are absent on this camera.
For the price, this Sony camcorder will probably meet the needs of the average user. But if you are looking for the 'extras' that make a video camera more versatile you'll find older used Sony models with better features for 1/3 the price on eBay.
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