Pros Excellent quality, lightweight, easy to use, compact, touchscreen, amazing memory capability and perfect features.
Cons Must be converted to be edited, wish it was HD.
Summary The best camera i have ever used for under $1000. Everything on it and in it is extraordinary. I bought a second one after trying it for 2 weeks. Makes the perfect waterproof videocamera for surf films when enclosed in Sony's housing. There are only two problems that I have encountered.
1: To edit it on a Mac you must convert all video before you can edit it.
2: I wish it was high def. (I know there are HD versions but they dont have all the same specs.)
Pros Great picture quality even in low light. Easy to navigate touchscreen controls. One button to create a DVD.
Cons Zoom and still picture buttons are cumbersome
Summary I am absolutely thrilled with this camcorder. I wanted to get a hard drive camcorder and I was convinced this was the best one after doing extensive research. After using it for 6 months, I know I made the right choice. The price is reasonable as well. ($800 on line with a few accessories)
I use the camcorder for recording my kids and I dont have any time to do any major editing so I usually just take the clips and burn a DVD directly off the camera. Its completely painless and flawless. Its just as easy to burn an extra DVD for the grandparents and send it off to them in the mail.
There is plenty of memory on the hard drive. I took it on a beach vacation for one week and only used 25% of the space.
The picture quality and audio is excellent and although I was hesitant about the touch screen controls (because of CNET reviews), I have become a huge fan because you can figure everything out without an owners manual. Who cares about a few fingerprints anyway!
This is the perfect camcorder for the home movie guy who wants to take quality video of the kids and easily produce real DVDs that play in any DVD player without dealing with tapes or absurd mini-DVDs.
Pros Ease of use, lots of add-ons, good picture/sound, excellent stabilizers (no blurry hand shaking videos)
Cons Addictive...the need to film anything...
Summary I have used old VCR camcorders years ago, and I have opted always to avoid any tape/disc camcorder since. I was making do using my Digital Cameras over the years. Quality was always poor, but portability and ease of editting was second to none.
When the whole HD market evolved, I was tempted to run out and buy the JVC Enviro models. Being one to watch the threads here, I was reluctant...and I waited... I settled on the Sony DCR-SR100 because of the stabilizer and the viewfinder. I am glad for both!
I have tinkered with the camcorder for over 2 weeks now...annoying the cats...the wife, anyone getting in line of sight of my camcorder. I have tested the night vision and super night vision...in total darkness. Aside from the green hue to the video and a lack of distinguishable colours, the actual picture is awesome!
I have also purchased the optional video light add-on, and it does make a difference in certain lighting situations, but on the whole...for the average weekend warrior taking vids of the kids at softball or soccer...it'll perform very well without the light attachment. The Light itself only projects outwards of approx. 3 - 4 feet, so it is pointless in attempting to shoot with it turned on for further away/ zoomed in images.
The battery supplied is averaging 119 minutes (2 hours) per charge WITH the LCD only option. If I use the viewfinder only, it extends to about 140 minutes. If I use both, it drops to about 90 - 100 minutes. These figures are always re-adjusting IF I am filming & shutting off and turning on...etc. If I were constantly filming for the full charge, then the numbers are accurate.
They show the charge left on the top left of the viewfinder/LCD. You CAN turn all info off...but why? Hooking up to the computer is relatively easy. I used windows explorer to transfew files, and I edited the files using AVS media (purshased seperately years ago) &/or Window Movie Maker (came with my computer). I then installed the software provided to test ease of use. For image/movie transfer, the supplied software was uber fast! The software recognized instantaneously the camcorder was attached, and copied them into a new dated directory.
What I don't like about the supplied software is that the software is loaded onto the system tray at startup of your computer, and stays there. There is NO option to avoid it from loading into the system tray. I have to right mouse click & exit/close it everytime.
It does allow for editting of the movie, but it is basic. No insertion of music/scores/voice overlays; no allowance of taking a picture of what is on the clip. Even Microsoft's Movie Maker (supplied software on most computers) is a better editting solution.
IF you are not concerned with editting, and only want something to load from the video camera to a DVD then install the supplied software.
Otherwise, make do with explorer and use your own software. Hooking up to the tv is a breeze with the supplied wires. The images are not as 'grainy - free' as most DV tapes, and are about on par with the DVD camcorders. The advantage is NO TAPE/DVD is required. As I stated earlier, convenience & portability is what I want. This more than succeeds at those two. Watching the movies is like watching Regular Cable on an older cable analog TV. Picture and sound is great. It just is not High Definition. We viewed our movies on our 42" Plasma, and there was no image resolution loss nor was there any noticable stretching...as the camcorder allows you to film in either 16:9 format or 4:3 format!
Pros Lightweight, Large LCD with record and zoom buttons, harddrive, takes amazing video
Cons Only records in mpeg-2 which is nearly impossible to edit. No headphone outut or mic input. No software for macs
Summary I bought this camera in June of 2006, and am very happy with it. It takes amazing video, good still photos. If that is all you are wanting for a camera, I highly reccomend this camera! But, if you are like me, you want to be able to edit your video, and this is not a very simple task... There are not many programs out there that support mpeg-2, the format that this camera records in. Adobe Premiere apparently can edit mpeg-2, but I never had any luck with that. I ended up buying a cheapo program called Edit Studio 5, which did the job, but the quality was sucky. Plus, even if you can edit the video, it's usualy lags when you play it in the timeline of your editor. I'm not going to get into why, but if you look into how mpeg 2 works, you'll understand.
Another problem is that in order for your computer to play the audio, you have to demux the audio with the program Sony gives you with the camera... what a peice of useless junk that was! The program lets you demux it fine by pressing "Convert Audio format" but it doesnt support batch conversion! That means that in order to even start editing with audio, you must go through every clip and convert it!!! One by one! Yes, I could have gotten a program that could do it for me, but I was away for 2 months on a video shoot for a camp, and they didnt have internet available to me. Anyways, I had to convert the video so it could work in Edit Studio. And Edit Studio didnt give the final project the quality that this camera films in.
A few months later I finaly switched from my PC to a Mac, Got final cut pro and am very happy. I no longer use that horrible program sony inculded, but rather convert my video all in a batch list to a free program called MPEG Streamclip. I convert it into Apple HD1080i, which doesnt increase the quality, but definatly doesnt decrease it, and changes the audio, and FCP edits it no problem.
For those of you who are wondering, when I plug in this camera to my imac, It appears on the desktop and i am able to copy and paste the mpeg files.
So ya, I love my DCR SR100, and if you want to edit your video, just get ready to jump through some hoops! Mpeg Streamclip converts files into a number of formats, and is also available for windows! It is also completely free. Google Mpeg Streamclip for the link. It's way better than converting each clip one by one.
Pros Quick and easy, fast transfer, handles well
Cons The files will not work with many editing programs
Summary I really like everything about this camera, except the fact that the files will not even import in some editing programs (like Windows Movie Maker) and in other programs (like Adobe Premiere Elements) they are severely distorted. I am trying to come up with a workaround. I don't want to do that much editing, just stringing scenes together, but it looks like in the meantime I will have to use the abysmal software that came with the camera. Again, otherwise the camera is wonderful. If you only want to record and archive your videos with no editing then this is the camera for you.Updated
There are workarounds for the above dilemma. Otherwise, the camera is incredible. This is why I gave the camera an 8 even with the challenges