Standard-def Sony handycam with 60GB hard drive and a 60x optical zoom.
- 60GB of inbuilt storage, powerful 60x optical zoom, affordable price
- Poor still image mode, noisy low-light performance
The Sony DCR-SR47 is a great standard-definition camcorder that will satisfy most casual users. With oodles of inbuilt storage and a user-friendly 60x optical zoom, it represents great value for money.
Price$ 749.00 (AUD)
With vendors clamouring to outdo one another with fancy Full HD 1080p camcorders, it’s easy to forget that standard-definition models are still alive and well. If you only want to make occasional home movies and would prefer not to spend thousands of dollars for the privilege, then a standard-def camcorder will be more than adequate. Take Sony’s DCR-SR47, for example. Sporting a 60GB inbuilt hard drive, a Memory Stick slot for hybrid recording and a whopping 60x optical zoom lens, it’s a perfectly worthy option for the casual videographer.
If we had to pick the product highlight of the Sony DCR-SR47, it would probably be a tie between its 60GB hard drive and 60x optical zoom (the numbers are the same, see). Both offer a huge amount of convenience, with the former allowing you to record between 15 and 45 hours of video, depending on the quality selected. This means you will rarely need to transfer data to a computer or DVD — although it’s still a good idea to occasionally backup your footage in case the camcorder gets damaged or lost. This can be achieved quickly and effortlessly thanks to the Memory Stick slot, which allows you to copy files over at the press of a button. In the unlikely event that you run out of space, you can also record video directly to Memory Stick.
Most budget camcorders come equipped with ultra-powerful zoom lenses, but even so the Sony DCR-SR47's 60x optical zoom is very impressive. It will let you capture close-ups of faraway action with no loss in image quality, which is sure to be a godsend when travelling in interesting locales. Of course, you’ll need to rest the camcorder on a flat surface or invest in a tripod if you want to make sure your footage doesn't look amateurish. Even in experienced hands, it’s very difficult to keep the zoom steady at 40x and above. Nevertheless, it remains an excellent and very useful function.
During testing, the Sony DCR-SR47 acquitted itself well, especially considering its $749 price tag (which includes the cost of a 60GB hard drive). The 0.49-megapixel 1/8in CCD sensor did a good job in sunny environments, though noise naturally came to the fore when we tested it in low lighting. We found colours to be reasonably accurate in optimum conditions, if a little on the muted side. (Being a standard-def camcorder, it lacks Sony’s X.V Colour vibrancy enhancer.) While its overall video performance is unlikely to knock your socks off — especially when viewed on a high-definition TV — it remains perfectly adequate for the asking price. A still image mode is also included, but with a maximum resolution of just 0.3 megapixels it is unsuitable for making prints.
Additional modes and features are disappointingly sparse. User-friendly functions such as face detection and smile shutter are absent from this camera, while manual options are limited to exposure and focus. Menu selections are made using the 2.7in LCD touch screen. We found the screen to be responsive and the menu is intelligently assembled.
Following in the footsteps of Sanyo’s multi-coloured Xacti range, Sony has traded in its ubiquitous black paintjob for a new and fresher finish. The DCR-SR47 consequently comes in three different colours — red, blue and silver. We tested the blue version, which divided office opinion down the middle. While some were enamoured by the primary coloured finish, others thought it leant the device a toy-like appearance — especially when combined with the plastic body. In any event, it’s certainly different looking, and traditionalists can always plumb for the boring silver version.
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