Sony DCR-TRV900 - The Best Mini DV Camcorder
Written: May 9, 2001 (Updated May 11, 2001)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
The Sony DCR-TRV900 MiniDV digital camcorder is not cheap. But it produces arguably the best video quality among MiniDV camcorders, and you can see why – it provides professional-grade picture using goodies like three CCDs with more than a 1,000,000 pixels total (3 x 380,000) and optical image stabilizer.
Although the TRV900 looks like a regular, consumer-grade camcorder, it produces excellent picture quality, which, according to some publications, is even better than more expensive Sony VX1000. With 530 lines of horizontal resolution, if you have to have the best picture quality, TRV900 is a good choice.
Professional grade camcorders use 3CCD, one for each color (red, green, blue) to provide better color reproduction and resolution. Cheaper camcorders use a single CCD for all colors. The 3 CCD contribute to TRV900’s excellent resolution and color reproduction.
Optical Image Stabilizer
The camcorder uses more expensive flavor of image stabilizer – optical image stabilizer. Unlike digital stabilizers, used in cheaper camcorders, optical ones do not decrease the resolution of the picture.
The camcorder gives you a lot of options in terms of control in addition to automatic modes: manual focus, exposure, white balance, programmed AE, shutter speed, AE shift, gain shift, audio level, etc.
Although the TRV900 has only 12x optical zoom, it has a very steady low zoom speed, which allows you to zoom slowly (24 seconds) to give your shooting professional flavor. The digital zoom allows you to achieve 48x magnification. Not much, but the picture quality does not degrade.
The zebra-stripe overexposure indicator feature displays stripes on the LCD or a viewfinder over the overexposed areas. So it some areas of the picture become too bright, you can switch to manual exposure and reduce the exposure.
The camcorder has 5 different A/V fader modes, 14 picture effects (6 of which are digital) and 16:9 widescreen recording. You can combine two picture effects.
The camcorder features a large 3.5” LCD in addition to a color viewfinder. The LCD is easy to view in sunlight.
You can transfer your material to your computer using a standard 3.5” floppy disk (the floppy drive that connects to the camcorder is supplied), FireWire connection (i.Link, IEEE 1394) or a flash memory card (the TRV900 has a standard Type II PC Card slot). You can also make perfect copies of your recordings on other digital equipment using IEEE1394 connection.
The camcorder also has Control-L (LANC) editing interface. And the camcorder has analog audio and video inputs, so you can transfer your old recordings into digital format on MiniDV.
The camcorder allows you to shoot at 640 x 480 resolution, which is adequate for emailing or posting on the web. You can also shoot in progressive mode, giving you stills of better quality.
The camcorder comes with a remote control that is useful when viewing MiniDV tapes and controlling the TRV900 remotely.
The standard InfoLithium battery is good for about 70 minutes of operation. You can get batteries of larger capacity if you need more time. You can see the remaining time on the screen, and it is accurate up to one minute.
You can spend more money and get better looking camcorder, but it is highly unlikely that it will perform better than TRV900.
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