Mini-DV camcorder from Sony is nearly picture-perfect choice


October 24, 2002|By Kevin Washington

Consumer-level Mini-DV camcorders armed with three CCDs (charged-couple devices) capture the best and truest color images for playback on computers or television.

Hence, the 2 1/2 -pound Sony DCR-TRV950 MiniDV Handy-cam ($2,400) has the kind of color that pops on playback when compared to a less expensive camcorder with one CCD.

One of Sony's best Mini-DV camcorders, the TRV950 has three quarter-inch CCDs, a 3.6 mm to 43.2 mm optical zoom, an 8 megabyte Memory Stick for one-megapixel still images and a horizontal resolution of 530 lines for video - more than enough to make your recordings crisp.

While the TRV950's video appears sharper than other camcorders in its price range, it has a few minor downsides. The microphone is under the focusing ring so you'll need to make sure you don't touch it if you're using manual focus. And the camera's LCD onscreen menu for changing some options is a bit complicated.

Finally, while the low-light shooting is better than most other camcorders, the TRV950's predecessor, the TRV900, outshines the newer camera in low-light performance.

Still, the video here beats anything produced by other camcorders in Sony's line (as well as most of Panasonic's and Canon's, as well), meaning that if you're a serious digital video shooter, the TRV950 is your choice for video heaven.

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