First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
The Sony DCR-DVD755 is a DVD camcorder which offers good colour reproduction but has image noise levels that cause graininess in the video. While extras such as a surround microphone and touch-screen LCD are nice inclusions, the video performance weighs against this unit which sits in the middle of the Sony range.
- Good colour reproduction, surround microphone included
- Noisy picture, poor still images
The DCR-DVD755 is a decent enough camcorder, although at this price point the level of image noise is disappointing.
Price$ 1,299.00 (AUD)
Image quality is the primary differentiator between video cameras and in this case the DCR-DVD755 doesn't quite cut it. We tested the camcorder at its highest quality settings, which records about 20 minutes of footage per disc. When used indoors, outdoors or even in low light, the colour reproduction is handled extremely well. However, the inadequacies of the one megapixel sensor are still apparent. We found video to look grainy and indistinct; the classic failure of many budget DVD camcorders. Although the amount of noise certainly isn't the worst we have seen, it's clearly noticeable when playing back footage.
Apart from the image noise, we found the picture to be mostly free of other unwelcome digital artefacts like compression blocks. Sony's NightShot modes also make a welcome return as they allow film to be shot in complete darkness using an infrared LED. Although the LED only illuminates the central portion of the viewable area, as long as the subject is in close range the feature works well enough.
Sound recording is one of the major selling points of the DCR-DVD755 as it comes equipped with a surround microphone that attaches neatly to the active hot-shoe atop the camera. Using this microphone it's possible to add a 5.1 Dolby Digital surround soundtrack to DVDs. This is rare to find on models of this price, and is a nice addition. We tested the surround capabilities of the camera in a quiet, controlled environment and it worked well, we could easily pick out the direction of each piece of audio. It's far from a cinematic experience, but it certainly adds some life to videos.
In more noisy situations, and particularly outdoors, it didn't operate quite as well. We were surprised to hear so much wind on the video during playback, as we had barely noticed the light spring breeze when outside. Unfortunately, Sony has not provided any wind filtering options.
Like almost every camcorder on the market now, the DCR-DVD755 also allows capture of still images. These can either be saved to DVD or to the built in Memory Stick Duo slot. However, we wouldn't recommend anything other than essential snapshots when you've forgotten your still digital camera. The sensor is only a 0.7 megapixel that results in pictures aren't anything special, with a quality that does not make them really worth printing at standard paper sizes. Displaying them on a standard definition television looks decent enough though.
The DCR-DVD755 comes in a fairly compact package. The camera is light to carry and easy to hold, making it ideal for taking on holiday. A 2.7in 16:9 screen makes selecting options easy, though Sony's new menu system takes some getting used to. We found the 12x optical zoom acceptable, although some budget cameras of this type come equipped with 30x zoom these days. Basic manual options such as white balance and exposure are included, but burrowing through several levels of unintuitive menus is more convoluted than we would like. Battery life is fairly average, at about 50 minutes.
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