"Finally Happy"4.0 starson by david in halifax
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.