Advantages Compatability to play/edit previous Hi8 tapes
Disadvantages Bulky in terms of digital camcorders
|Ease of use|
|Range & quality of features|
Sony was my 1st choice to replace my previous camcorder that typically had started to go wrong just after my daughter was born. I wanted to go digital but didn't want to lose the option to play the hundreds and I mean hundreds of Hi8 tapes that I still haven't put onto VHS!! So I checked out the options to see that Sony do the TRV355E, I thought the idea excellent, a combination of both.The main reason I chose this camcorder was for this option, having bought it to replace a Sony camcorder, I believed quality of picture and specifications would not be an issue. Truthfully there must be better spec and more expensive camcorders on the market but this had everything I wanted.
I was not disappointed. It is easy to use, not too big and bulky and provides excellent quality pictures. With the option to use a memory stick too you have a little more to play with, although I was disappointed that there wasn't one supplied with the camcorder. This was not an extra expense to me as I already use these in my digital camera, but if you have to buy one to use it is a further expense to add to the original cost , which in my case was £422.The battery life is dependant on usage. This is something I will be adding in the near future a spare and more powerful battery. There are times when you will be out all day and not have enough life in the supplied battery (NP-FM30) Typical usage quoted in the manual is 50 mins, but if zooming or stop/starting recordings and using the LCD this will soon be quickly reduced. Again it is an expense to consider.
The camera is easy to use, the functions easy to follow. I mainly leave it on Auto and record away.
I have been using the camera since the start of October and my only concern is the picture does struggle to focus in low light, but you have built in light and functions to compensate this.
I can sit at my computer for more hours copying the holidays that remain untouched and the hours of footage of my son and now my daughter. I also thought the option to edit a video on the computer (using windows movie maker for example), transfer/record back to the camcorder and then onto VHS excellent. It would give the final edited videos a more professional touch too. Of course it did take me a while to realise that I would need to invest in an i.link/firewire/IEEE 1394 cable and pc card before I could do this. (Again another expense to consider if you are looking for the digital options) Not all family and friends have PC/DVD so computer compatible videos aren't always what you want.You have the standard option to transfer to PC using USB supplied cable, which is easy to do with the supplied software, this is simple to follow and use.
One thing to bear in mind when transferring captured footage to your PC is the size of your hard drive. You will need plenty of space if working on a big project that you want to edit together. It will take up a lot of disc space; fortunately I have a spare 16Gb hard drive that I have installed just for that purpose.The other feature I use a lot is the USB streaming, using the camera as a web cam. The picture is clear and colourful, the only disadvantage is you have to remove the tape otherwise the camera will shut down after a few minutes, this is a pain when using camera on a tripod too as you have to unscrew to load film to be able to record again.
My only reason for rating the picture quality as good , is the above mentioned problem in low light, the manual I personally found too long winded and covering alot of features on other models that didn't relate to me, otherwise no complaints.Overall I am very happy with the camera, and it certainly has given me a taste of what you can do with digital, I would recommend to anyone looking for the same features.
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