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Just when I thought I was never going to see a digital camcorder take full advantage of the DVD format, the new Sony DCR-DVD403 DVD Handycam Camcorder appeared.
Unlike other DVD camcorders, which produce pictures with a quality not much better than those cameras using the MiniDV format.
The key to this quality is the world famous Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens, capable of 12X zooming. Digital zoom capability is quite good: 120X; and this cameraís 0.333-inch CCD is one of the bests Iíve seen out there too.
The DVD403 records movies using miniDVD (3 inches) discs, and it can the DVD+RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW formats.
Two modes of focusing are available: automatic and manual. I tell you, I hardly had to use the manual focus control, due to the autofocus accuracy and quick response.
This camera also offers digital image stabilization, a feature that is very useful when shooting in motion (i.e. from a moving car).
Another great characteristic of this camcorder is the large 2.7 inches LCD screen, which allows you to perfectly frame what you want to shoot. A color viewfinder is present too.
Color balance is really good, but not perfect. The colors were mostly accurate, but some of them were a bit too bright vivid; in fact they were so vivid that they were different colors. But, to be fair, this only happened with the reds.
Audio performance is supreme, though. Much, much better than similar-priced cameras, the DVD403 sound was clearer and more dynamic, and brought a feeling of realism into the air. The sound system on the DVD403 is Dolby Digital 5.1 compatible, so you will get a full surround-sound experience.
Noise was within acceptable range, thus the resulting video had a really good quality. On low light environments, however, there was a little shimmering (which, by the way, is common in the one-CCD miniDVD camcorder world).
The autofocus worked pretty well, although focusing speed could be slightly improved. Also, the exposure level is quite good.
Surprisingly, recorded video cannot be edited using Adobe premiere, as the software does not include a plugin to import these files into premiere.
Still image quality is of course excellent, because of the Carl Zeiss lens I mentioned above.
The DCR-DVD403 CCD sensor is capable of a 3-megapixel resolution which seems to be good enough. Color saturation and accuracy were good, and the noise reduction algorithm used is indeed very effective.
When in still image mode, shutter was very slow, and overall warming up took too long, about six seconds. Interval between shots was of about 5 seconds). Have in mind, however, that this is a digital camcorder, not a compact digital photo camera, so its video capabilities are more important than still image capabilities.
This camcorder is fully recommended to anyone who wants really good image quality and superior video performance. By far, this one is the best camcorder available for the price, and when compared with its competitors, the Sony DVD403 Handycam Camcorder really crushes them and wipes them out of the arena. Whether you are a professional or just a video hobbyist, this camera will give you a lot of great features to take advantage of, for a more than reasonable price.
These are the best places to purchase Sony DCR-DVD403 digital camcorder online:
camcorder - Sony
Digital Camera - bestbuy.com
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