Camcorder Buying Guide: Sony DCR-SR100

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Well that Panasonic VDR-D300 never did show up, something wrong with my credit card information or something. So, time for another look at the camcorders before Vfinally getting one quick for the summer. I really need two of them. An idiot proof one that is good for Connie and the kids. The DVD camcorders are ideal, although image quality is lower, they produce a DVD which means less work for all. Then there is a prosumer one for those high definition occasions, here’s an update thanks to “Camcorderinfo”:http://camcorderinfo.com:

* “Canon DC40”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-DC40-Camcorder-Review.htm. Canon introduced a DVD camcorder. It is the same size of my old Optura 100MC, but unfortunately, picture quality is lower because DVDs are just not as good as miniDV tapes are for quality. Its image quality is about the same as the Sony DCR-DVD405, but not as nice as the VDR-D300, so on balance, the Panasonic still wins. For DVD camcorders, it feels like Panasonic, then Sony by a nose.
* “Sony DCR-SR100”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sony-DCR-SR100-Camcorder-Review.htm. This is a hard disk camcorder that JVC started with the Everio. It only has a 30GB hard drive, but it produces standard MPEG-2 .MPG files, so you literally just drag and drop it into your computer. While an early model, it does seem that this is better than most DVD camcorders in that it is just a hard drive, so you don’t have to worry about putting a new DVD in every 20 minutes, but it does mean that you need to do video conversion with a computer afterwards. Again, image quality isn’t up to miniDV standards (yet!). This is about $1000 at “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Sony_DCR_SR100_30_GB_Digital_Camcorder,__17842636/sort_type=bottomline

So the choice is hard, DVDs that are already done, or a 30GB first generation hard drive machine. I’m probably going to get the 30GB hard disk because the idea of all those miniDVDs around is just too confusing. And with a 30GB (7 hours worth) of video, it means we don’t have to refill alot. Since the SR100 is new, there doesn’t appear to be any discounting of its $999 list price yet. Keep looking at Pricegrabber though.

* “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Sony_DCR_SR100_30_GB_Digital_Camcorder,__17842636/sort_type=bottomline shows it running at just about $1000 street. So B&H Photo is very reputable and has them in stock right now. Shipping is a nominal $11
* “Tiffen 30MM UV Filter”:http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=cart&A=details&Q=&sku=171194&is=REG&addedTroughValue=418498_REG&addedTroughType=accessory_cart_detail. Tiffen makes nice filters and for an additional $9, you get both UV protection as well as something to protect the lense. No additional shipping when you buy the camcorder
* You are kind of stuff here since the microphone jack requires a proprietary Sony connector (uh! Sony, what a way to make money). See “Sony Accessories”:http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start?CategoryName=dcc_DICamcorders_HardDiskHandycamCamcorders&ProductSKU=DCRSR100&TabName=acc&var2=.
** HVL-HL1 3 Watt Video Light. I had one for our Canon and it was marginally useful. The problem is that 3 Watts isn’t enough in most cases and it really drains the battery.
** High-Fidelity Stereo Microphone ECM-HST1. This is a shotgun microphone that mounts on top. It can either be wide or narrow focus. This seems the most useful of the accessories. It lists for $90, but “BHphoto”:http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=WishList.jsp&A=details&Q=&sku=396836&is=REG has it for $70 street.
* You don’t really need an additional battery, the base one lasts about two hours.

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