"Great Camcorder!"4.0 starson by BloodyRaven
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!