Pros 1- Very nice design (top side tape load); Colored viewfinder; Great touch screen; Video quality excelent and vivid colors; Resonable performance with low light
Cons Lacks anolog inputs, specially a microfone jack
Summary I bought this camera one week ago at Best Buy, paid $379 (plus taxes) and I'm very satisfied so far. With a good light environment it produces movies with brilhant color. With poor light its performance is good for home videos. In this case it presents some noise, but its ok, if you want great quality go for a professional camera. Sound is good too. You can dub you videos using digital input, mantaining the original sound. The stabilization engine lets you use the 20x zoom with almost no shaking. After practicing tou can do it perfectly. No zoom, no shake at all... About the software I didn't ply with it much. I'm going to use other softwares, and it has some relly good. Definitely you have to buy a firewire (1394) cable. Although they sell it for $20(!), or even $30 (!!) I bought a cable from ebay for 6 bucks and it works perfectly! I bough algo a sony case on amazon and paid only $15. For transfering the videos to computer I use the firewire cable and the WinDV software which is free, tiny, and works perfectly. To convert the movies from DV format to mpeg2 (DVD) I recommend CCE (Cinema Craft Softaware). Finally, I though the power switch a little trick, but thats ok. Sony could also make it a perfect camera by just putting a microfone jack on it... But I recommend this handycam for beginners and not so perfectionist hobbyists. The unique diferences between the lower price model (HC26) is the fact that the HC36 has a memory stick slot for VGA pictures and 320x240x30 mpeg1 video files (I like that). And the menu seems to be a little more, say, beautifull too. I rate this 9.5!
Pros good color, small, interesting features, touch screen, casette is inserted from top, 20x optical, night mode
Cons usb quality isn't very good, the still images are pretty much not worth the extra money, touch screen, no focus knob on the case
Summary I got this camera for free from Circuit City in exchange for my roasted old one. So far this camera is a good replacement except for one thing... no focus ability on the case. the point focus is a pretty sweet feature in my oppinion. The touch screen makes the menu fun to navigate but I worry about dead screens after a year or so. Size: tiny for minidv. I must say that using the IR is extremely fun because now I don't have to hook up my night vision to it to be able to get video at night. I would rank this a 9 if it had an external way to do manual focusing and also be able to attach an external mic along with recording in from composite. This is a great camera for people who don't know cameras very well and don't need advanced functions.
Pros easy to use, Firewire, good quality pictures in well-lit environments
Cons No Firewire cable included, picture not as good in dim environments
Summary The Sony DCR-HC36 is very easy to use, especially with the "EASY" setting turned on. Picture quality in well-lit places is pretty good. However, the color quality suffers in low-light situations, with a somewhat bluish tint occurring.
The camera can be hooked up to a PC or Mac via Firewire (iLink) or USB. I hook up the camera to my Mac Mini via Firewire and the iMovie software works great with it. iMovie can control the camera pretty well. The camera can also act as a web cam (via Firewire) using Yahoo! Messenger on the Mac.
Pros Small enough to carry anywhere without a dedicated bag. Easy to use. Nice touchscreen feature.
Cons Bad, Bad, Bad video quality. A lot of stairlike edges around shapes in video. Color rendition is very poor.
Summary I got this camera just before leaving on vacations. The use during the trip was fine. Very organized buttons and everything, all menus were obviously placed and operation was simple. I used about 1.5 tapes since the battery supplied only lasted about 1.5 hours.
On camera the review of the footage looked fine, however it was obvious when I got home to my computer that the video was not up to par.
The amount of grain on low light scenes was absurdly large. The color rendition was not good at all with the video showing jagged edges around the shapes and some kind of greenish edge around them. The digital zoom is what is expected of software interpolation leaving only the optical amount usable.
I was hoping to use this camera as a quick substitute to my XL2 on short trips since it is easy handled but the difference in video quality was too much to accept.
I would not even bother with the still pictures from this camera. Too smal by today's standards.
I returned the camera the next day. looked at the panasonic 3ccd gs300 camera and I am much happier with that purchase.
All in all, if you want quick family videos and want something ultra portable, this is a great purchase. If you have already experienced semi-pro or higher performance cameras, do not even look at this as you will be disappointed.
Pros Great quality picture & sound. Love the nightshot plus! Small, compact, long battery life
Cons didn't come with a case.
Summary I love this camera - I did my homework before buying and although others had some cons listed, I don't see them when I use this cam. I have used it indoors, outdoors, day and night and have never encountered any poor quality in picture or sound or battery life. I am a happy 'cam'per!