Pros Fast/Easy transfer to PC, better quality than it's current competition
Cons Pricey (HD quality mini DV for only $300 more), video quality still just ok.
Summary I bought this camera (the SR-100) 4 days ago. I spent the entire evening playing around with it. I took video in low light, no light, and outside with sunlight. My initial reaction was very dissapointed in the video quality, and I had to refrain from coming here the next day and ripping this camera (and Sony) a new one. I did end up taking the time to actually compare the video that I pulled onto my computer with video from a friends camera (Canon ZR200). The quality of the SR100 was noticibly better, but only slightly.
I must admit that it has been 6 years since my last camcorder purchase and with the advancements in technology since then, I was expecting much, MUCH more. The picture in low light was of course very grainy, which I've learned is to be expected with consumer level camera's. Of course the Night Shot technology used for no light was impressive for someone who has never used it before, but the IR lamp is so weak it could hardly have any practical use. The Super Night Shot mode was a little better but the choppy video that results is hardly worth the brighter image. I took the camera out to a softball game and was not surprised by the video quality that was produced. It was a bit better, but not much. The detail that is required for recording so much activity was not there.
As far as the still images go well...I've grown used to pictures from my Digital Rebel XT, and the fact that I can't adjust shutter speed (at the very least) is a bit dissapointing. It will be ok for still shots, or carefully planned out action shots, but I would not plan on using it as your primary tool for stills.
Transferring the video to my computer was a snap. It was a little quirky to set up at first. You have to have the camera plugged in to the ac adaptor BEFORE you turn it on or connect it to the computer. Nothing a short visit to the user's manual couldn't handle. After connected to the PC you can browse the hard drive of the camera in windows explorer or use the packaged software (completely useless in my opinion). I would say that if you are ready to delete video from the camera, then use the packaged software to delete it. I deleted video through explorer and it still shows up on my camcorder but produces an error if you try to access it. Looks like I'll be using the HDD Format option very soon. Oh yes, back to my point. The transfer was quick enough. During my test I transferred approximately 5.5 minutes of HQ video (the highest quality option) in roughly 1.5 minutes.
Overall the camcorder will be sufficient for my home use. I am very "in" to technology, so I couldn't bare the thought of transferring video in real time to my computer (my reason for not upgrading my camcorder for so long). In my opinion, hard drive based camcorders are the way to go, I only hope that we can make the move to High Definition HDD Camcorders soon. I don't care that the hard drives will hold less video time, who keeps 6-7 hours of video on their camcorder anyway? I will definitely be upgrading this baby once HD HDD models are available.
Pros Very good image
Cons Viewfinder does not tilt
Summary For this review to be helpful, I will start with my history of video cameras.
My first camera was an RCA Small Wonder, which was a VHS-C. It had a perfect picture on playback, but my infant daughter yanked the cord one day, causing it to crash to the floor and that ended that. My next camera was a Sony 8mm. The picture was not quite as good but still good. Eventually, the imaging system died and I did not replace it. Jump forward a few years and requests started coming in for me to tape events. When I said I no longer had a camera, I would get a call back one hour before a wedding saying "Okay, I rented one". Now I had to quickly learn the camera and hope they got a tape to go with it. After a few of those, I decided I would just get a camera and be done with it. I decided on a High 8 camera. With all the hoopla, you would think it would have a good picture. Wrong. Image quality was poor and the colour was either inaccurate or faded. After trying several learned that that was common. Kept the camera anyway. A couple of years later, I had the opportunity to pick up a second hand DVD camcorder. The quality in HQ was better, but still nowhere near my first camera. I used it for 2 years filming rugby games and transferring to a DVD recorder. The finished product was "acceptable" and I gave one copy to the coach and charged the price of a blank DVD to anyone else on the team who wanted them. A rugby game is 25 minutes per half and there is enough breaks in the action that I would get under 20 minutes per half and flip the disc for the second half.
Now I am doing soccer games at 45 minutes per half and had no option but to set it at extended play. Starting off at the poorest quality and further reduction through AV Jacks left me unsatisfied. This left me looking at Hard Drive Cameras and also High Definition. I opted away from High Def for the following reasons. A DV tape is one hour, so I would need several, as well as better editing software for my computer. A HD Hard Drive Sounded good until I read the small print that basically said to maintain Hi Def, you would need a Blu-Ray to play it back on. Assuming most of the people I supply copies to don't have one, the finished product would be standard, anyway, so the focus moved to standard Hard Drive cameras. After research what a camera would do with what I would user it for, I decided on the SR-40. Again, I wasn't impressed with the finished quality with blurred edges and large glows or auras around bright colours, but after all the previous cameras, was no longer expecting better. There were other things about the camera that I wasn't thrilled with, but I would have made due except for one thing. There was no viewfinder. I find for doing sporting events, I prefer the viewfinder as looking to the side at the LCD screen was cumbersome and in bright light, you couldn't always make it out. Further researched showed that the SR-100 had a viewfinder, so I traded up. I basically expected the same camera, but was I ever surprised. For the first time in years, I had a camera that was very sharp and the colours were as they should be, whether indoors or out. The SR-100 has the Vario Sonnar lense system, while the SR-40 has the Vario Tessar lense. The Sonnar is far superior. A question no one could answer for me before.
You can burn directly through a computer with no loss of quality, but you only get 1 hour and 2 minutes before you must put in another disc. This is good enough for most people, but if I want one game on one disc, I must use the DVD recorder. However, as I am starting out with an excellent source, it is still a good quality. Just remember, I never said it was comparable to High Definition, but it is quite good for its range.
I feel I have found the camera I have been searching for all those long years and am quite happy with this one.
Pros very Light recording time resolution zoom
Cons none that i can think of
Summary I read the other reviews, I must say to the guy complaining about his computer locking up, Check your computer! I dont have any issues with my camcorder is actually far better than what i expected. Easy to use, resolution is outstanding, the Dolby digital 5.1 sound is phenomenal! The download to my laptop is super fast, the only thing you must know is the in the menu you must setup the USB connection to Auto if you have it set to max speed your computer will lock on you and you wont be able to preview your movie from the cams hard drive, burning is really simple but if you record lots of video like me i suggest you get a double layer DVD+R because your files might be big, the battery life is good but i got the 5 hour battery just in case. It comes with a 2 hour battery! I dont take pictures with this cam because i have a 7.1 megapixel cam so i dont need to go back to 3.0 megapixels. I hope this review helps anyone that is interested in this great camcorder. I bought mine at circuit city since Bestbuy has a long waiting line for this puppy!.
"Ought to own!!!"on by M-Striker
Pros Awesome gadget!
Cons Are there any thaty I am not aware?
Summary Well GUYS, I am a perfectionist, so my post says it all. This camera rocks. If you hesitated till now go and get this piece until it is still in stock and enjoy it as much as I do now.
I must admit I always questioned credibility of many posters on C-Net or ZD-Net, so here is my say before they ruined it all for you, this is the HDD camera to OWN!.
Let me tell you why:
1. I used to own JVC Evirio GZ-MG50u and.... my new Sony DCR SR100 outshines it big time.
2. My new camera has indeed a good lens to record in low light conditions
3. The two-speed (fast and slow) zoom is absolutely awesome (nothing comparing to the super fast zoom of above JVC)
4. IS that stands for ¡§image stabilizer¡¨ does GOOD job and helps BIG time, so that I can shoot variety of scenes without considering a tripod.
5. I considered Sony SR80 at some point for its 60Gb hard drive and lighter weight but SR100 has a view finder and (I heard) does have a better lens to produce a better quality videos yet has a built in Dolby-D microphone.
6. I hesitated to post my review until I finally burned my first professionally finished amature video on a DVD; and I was amazed at the results. It rocked!
I was not shy to burn 30 copies of the Office 20 min Christmas Party video for everyone to enjoy, it turned out awesome. I feel very proud spending 8 hours of video editing, just to make it look perfect. Remember? I am a perfectionist! ƒº
7. A tip of advice. As soon as you get the camera, do not even bother installing the provided video editing software; that the camera came in with or you will be VERY disappointed (I personally feel very pity for the Sony¡¦s design group, who decided to provide this VERY crappy software), if it was me I would increase the price of the camera by abt $50 to cover the $75 cost of the #1 rated bundle (GOLD prize awarded) the Cyberlink PowerDirector 5. Just visit their web-site and down load the trial version. It is indeed AWESOME. It reads JVC awkward .MOV format movies
P.s. As for people complaining about the touch screen, I do not get it. Do they have fat greasy fingers or what? I never owned any of the SONY electronics previously ( I am a CANON big fan of photo an video), so I am quite new to the touch screens, but man, do I enjoy them? The touch screen isn¡¦t that bad, it surely keeps numerous control buttons at bay. I learnt to use my fingernail that proved to be less messy.
Guys, long story short, as an electronics freak who does not mind spending $$$ on the equipment I do want to share my positive opinion by giving two thumbs up to the CDR100.
Pros Very easy to use, very good picture quality, very easy to make DVD's
Cons Zoom is very sensitive, takes getting used to
Summary This is the first camcorder I've bought, since I am not very patient learning complicated devices I wanted something that was simple to use, but gave excellent performance. This camera fit the bill perfectly. When you press the "Easy" button all you have to do is point and shoot. So far, the video's I've taken have been excellent, and it is very easy to transfer them to DVD or a computer, which was another priority of mine. Another great feature is that the camera records to a hard drive, no extra "stuff" to buy, or carry. I highly recommend this camera to anyone like myself who needs simplicity.