- Great image quality, long battery life, widescreen LCD
- A little heavy, built-in microphone a little weak at range
Sony's DCRDVD803 offers terrific image quality and is well suited to those who want to record video and then play it back without editing.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
In our tests, the Sony DCRDVD803 produced excellent results, capturing strong, bright colours and smooth movement in both indoor and outdoor lighting.
At 520g, the DCRDVD803 is a little heavier than most of the camcorders we have tested, but it isn't much bulkier. The zoom, photo and record buttons fall comfortably under the fingers of the right hand. And it packs a lot of features into its case, including a surround-sound microphone, a 10X optical zoom, and a wide-screen LCD. This feature makes the most of the wide-screen mode: when you record video in 16:9, you can see its full glory on the display, without black stripes along the top and bottom of the screen.
Most of the controls are accessed through the LCD's touch-sensitive screen. This minimises the number of buttons on the camcorder, but it also means that you can't access most of the controls if you are using the viewfinder instead of the LCD. Some of the controls are buried a little deep: to change the recording-quality mode, for instance, you have to press buttons in the on-screen menu seven times. One nice detail is that the zoom and record buttons are duplicated on the edge of the screen.
The camera captured video with clear, bright audio, good separation and a strong surround-sound feel that would be great for, say, shooting video on a rollercoaster. However, like most camcorders where the microphone is located on the top of the body, it didn't pick up voices well from a distance--they often got lost in the ambient noise. The built-in microphone was also a little prone to picking up wind noise; even a slight breeze across the microphone produced a rumbling sound.
The DCRDVD803 had excellent battery life in our tests. Recording to DVD while using the LCD screen, the battery lasted 2 hours, 42 minutes.
The camcorder has two modes for shooting in near darkness: NightShot, which slows down the shutter speed, and Super NightShot, which turns on an infrared LED located below the lens. There are also a few basic digital video effects (such as an old-movie mode and a fader for fading in video from a black or white screen), but not as many as you'll find in other models.
Unlike many other camcorders, the DCRDVD803 doesn't save still images to a memory card; instead, it writes 3 megapixel JPEG files to a DVD. The DVD803's shots were well exposed and had good colour and reasonable detail. They would look fine up to a print size of 4" by 6".
While we liked a lot of things about the DCRDVD803, it still has the problems inherent to most DVD camcorders: You have to finalise the disc (so it can't record further) before you can play it back in a set-top DVD player (the process can take up to 15 minutes), and at the unit's highest-quality setting, you can squeeze only 20 minutes of video onto a 8cm DVD. However, you can finalise the disc on battery power, and you can also switch between the different quality settings and normal or wide-screen video without having to change discs.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
- 2 Synology DS216+ Review
- 3 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 4 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 5 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- D-Link camera can be hijacked to become a spy-cam
- Nvidia's pricey Shield Android TV adds some value with 4K YouTube and Netflix HDR in US
- Netflix's Fast.com download tester takes its war against slow ISPs directly to the user
- Nearly 100 classic NFL games headed to YouTube
- Netflix isn’t big on virtual reality for the obvious reasons
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTSocial Media AssistantQLD
- CCGeo-spatial AdministratorVIC
- CCSharepoint Analyst DeveloperNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (HTML/JAVA/UNIX) 160804/AP/172Asia
- FTSOE Desktop Engineer - must have SCCM 2012NSW
- CCOracle Apex DeveloperWA
- FTSecurity ExpertACT
- CCSenior Change ManagerVIC
- CCSolutions ArchitectQLD
- FTMobile DeveloperWA
- CCProject Manager- transformation from SAP Oracle to SAP HANANSW
- CCProject Manager CCTVNSW
- CCSenior Tester - Automation / Telecommunications (Urgent)NSW
- CCSAP MM / Ariba Functional ConsultantNSW
- CCContract Systems Analyst (Linux/MySQL) 1600803/SA/255Asia
- FTFull stack (back end focus) Java Developer | Defence | NV1ACT
- CCSenior Project OfficerACT
- CCFull Stack Java DeveloperNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst (ERP)NSW
- FTData AnalystACT
- CCServiceNow Technical LeadNSW
- FTServicenow DeveloperVIC
- CCSales Support Associate - TelecommunicationsNSW
- FTSystems Administrator, Linux, Networking, AWSNSW
- CCBI Delivery Project ManagerVIC