- Good quality video, Huge LCD
- Bulky, Colour reproduction, Still images only average, Lack of manual controls
The good quality video and huge LCD are countered by the lack of manual options on this DVD camcorder.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
As the top of the range DVD camcorder in Sony's lineup, the DCR-DVD905 is a predictably good performer. With excellent video quality for a DVD model, a larger than average LCD screen and convenient operating use, the package is a good bet for the amateur user who doesn't want to sacrifice quality. The lack of manual options though will deter more advanced directors.
As an advanced camcorder it comes as no surprise to find the DVD905 is big and bulky. Weighing in at over half a kilo and with a fairly large frame, this isn't the kind of camera that can be conveniently tucked into a coat pocket. The upside of having a large camcorder is the extra room afforded for the screen. Sony has included a large 3.5in LCD display, which provides roughly 75 percent more space than a regular 2.7in screen. This makes a huge difference when focusing on fine details or when using some of the more complex manual options, such as spot focusing. Like all Sony camcorders the LCD is touch sensitive, which we find useful. This also means there aren't so many buttons cluttering up the camera's body.
We were a little perplexed when we had a detailed look at exactly which manual options were on offer with the DVD905; although there are some nice inclusions there are also some glaring omissions. For a start there was the unusual but welcome inclusion of spot metering and focusing, allowing more accurate lighting and improved sharpness in video footage. There's also a great option which allows for slow motion video capture. This basically takes three seconds of footage at an incredibly high frame rate, and then plays it back more slowly over a 12 second period. Sony suggests this is useful for golfers who want to improve their swing, but it has useful applications for any high-speed motion capture.
As with any respectable camcorder the ability to change white balance, use manual focus and alter exposure are included. What is missing is the aperture, gain or shutter controls. We can't say this surprises us, as Sony very rarely include these options on their consumer level cameras, but nonetheless for an expensive model to ship without them is disappointing. Another omission is the lack of a microphone jack. Nothing unusual here, but this kind of detail is sorely missed by anyone wanting to better control the sound input. Sony does provide microphone connectivity through the Active Interface jack atop the camera, but the choice of microphone is limited to proprietary Sony products. That said, the inbuilt microphone is generally acceptable, and even provides 5.1 sound output, though this isn't terribly effective. The 10x optical zoom is about standard for this kind of camera, and was certainly zippy when zooming in and out. Sony's image stabilisation is usually top notch, and we had no problems with the DVD905 in this regard.
Where the DVD905 really shone was in the quality of its video. We're used to seeing DVD camcorders that produce grainy footage marred with compression artefacts. With the DVD905 we were hard pressed to see any signs of image degradation, especially in good lighting conditions. The tell-tale signs of MPEG2 compression were still evident on rapidly moving objects, however, with some noticeable ghosting. For the most part though, things were pretty good with a sharp picture and smooth video. Exposure and saturation seemed almost spot on, though bright colours were a little off. The DVD905 also gave an excellent performance under low light conditions, a rarity for DVD camcorders, with little sign of the speckling we frequently see. There's no video light, but should you wish to take stills there is a flash. Sony's ever-present Nightshot returns, and while it's certainly effective in complete darkness, everything turns out green.
Still pictures weren't quite of the same quality of the video. The four megapixel interpolated images generally looked decent, although we weren't particularly impressed by the sharpness or colour balance. We really missed the lack of manual options here. The pictures looked good enough on a computer screen and would probably do for a 6x4in print, though the DVD905 is no replacement for a dedicated digital camera.
Overall, the DVD905 is good for a DVD camcorder. Video quality is certainly far better than average and we really liked the huge screen. It's a shame the still images weren't up to scratch, but ultimately it's the lack of manual options that we found to the greatest limitation.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 2 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 3 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- 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
- Netflix loosens up streaming video, letting users choose their cellular speed limit
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.
- FTNV1, NV2 Network Engineers | Permanent role with diverse Defence projectsACT
- CCData Feeds Developer | Financial Services | C# & SQLNSW
- FTAzure ConsultantQLD
- FTProject Manager - Web ContentVIC
- FTInfrastructure Specialist VMwareNSW
- CCBusiness Intelligence (BI) AnalystQLD
- CCProgram Business AnalystVIC
- CCFront end and Full Stack DevelopersNSW
- CCSr. Net DeveloperVIC
- CCMultiple Oracle Fusion SOA/BPEL Developer OpportunitiesVIC
- CCDevOps EngineerNSW
- FTManaging Security ConsultantQLD
- CCChange Manager- Success Factors/HCMNSW
- CCTransition Manager / Project ManagerQLD
- CCSenior Change AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystVIC
- CCProject Manager/Iteration ManagerVIC
- CCSolutions Architect - SAP HANAQLD
- CCVMware Systems AdministratorQLD
- CCSoftware Engineer (Client facing) - Publisher SolutionsNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (MS SQL Server/C#.NET)160520/AP/vmtAsia
- FTData EngineersNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Integration Solution ManagementVIC
- FTSOE SpecialistACT
- CCDelivery Manager - Integration SpaceVIC