Sony DCR-DVD602E

The DCRDVD602E is reasonably light, at around 500 grams with battery and DVD disc, and measures 12.7 x 10 x 5cm--thin enough to carry around in a coat pocket.

Conventionally styled, the Sony DCRDVD602E has a solid feel to it and would appeal to schools and families looking for a robust camcorder option, able to handle the rigours of heavy use.

Most of the controls are accessed via a flip-out, 2.5" touch panel screen. It provides access to a simple menu system. Settings such as exposure effects and custom white balance settings can be selected quickly, while a useful replication of the zoom and record/pause buttons on the left-hand side of the LCD panel gives you another option when shooting a scene.

The main selection switch allows you to quickly select whether you want to take a still picture, video or watch what you have recorded. Other buttons include a backlight and display button, as well as an 'easy' button which sets the camera to fully automatic.

Both digital still and video is recorded to the removable DVD media and should be compatible with most home DVD players, after finalising the disc. Both DVD -RW and +RW is supported by the camera, although for write-once media you can only use DVD-R.

The 2.5" LCD screen is bright and clear, even in direct sunlight. When the environment gets too bright, you can choose to use the optical viewfinder.

The DVD602E uses a quality Carl Zeiss lens with 20X optical zoom and produces accurate colour, with good saturation. It can take stills and record them to DVD, but only at a maximum resolution of 640 x 480.

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