- Nice range of features
- Awful LCD, Poor quality recording, Feels cheaply made, No widescreen mode
A good range of features can’t make up for shoddy build quality and poor performance
Price$ 649.00 (AUD)
Digital video cameras are a great way to store precious memories for the future. The latest DVD cameras make recording incredibly simple with better quality than ever before. DVD cameras can cost a fair amount of money though, so a good budget option is Mini-DV, a tape based format, which typically cost half the price of a DVD camera. Mini-DV also offers far better picture quality for the price. Samsung's VP-D3521 is one such camera.
Our first impression of the VP-D3521 was that it looks and feels cheap. We are well aware that the camera is a budget option and hence actually is comparatively cheap, but cheap doesn't necessarily equate with bad styling and poor design. The VP-D3251 is also slightly larger than we would like for a Mini-DV camera. Sony's DCR-HC26E is another budget Mini-DV camera, yet retains smooth aesthetics and a much smaller size for approximately the same price. In fact when using many of the features on the Samsung model we were often reminded of how the Sony model did them better.
Of primary importance to a digital video camera is the ease of use recording, and the corresponding quality of the video. The Samsung was disappointing on both fronts. Firstly, the LCD on the side of the VP-D3251 is of a very poor quality. Images appear dark and washed out, making it sometimes difficult to appreciate the subject. Furthermore, when using the LCD outside in direct sunshine the screen is almost unusable; barely anything is visible. While this is a common flaw of LCD screens, other models we have tested showed no drop in visibility when being used outdoors. However, it is times like this when it is useful to use the viewfinder. We were very disappointed to see that Samsung have opted for a monochrome viewfinder screen, making it very hard to discern what you are looking at.
The disappointments don't end there. Almost uniquely amongst modern video cameras there is no widescreen mode on the VP-D3251. With almost every modern television produced in the widescreen format this is a glaring omission. We felt this fact alone was reason enough to not purchase the VP-D3251.
All these complaints could perhaps be countered if the VP-D3251 had outstanding recording quality. Unfortunately, it doesn't. While it isn't terrible, the quality is no better than average for a Mini-DV camera. The colour representation is far from special and we found the exposure levels disappointing.
You may be wondering if there was anything about the camera we did like. Despite our complaints, the VP-D3251 does have a decent range of features. Two low-light modes are included, one of which uses infrared transmitters for extra illumination. A macro mode is also a nice inclusion, as is a fully featured remote control. 900x digital zoom sounds like it should be a great feature, but unfortunately pictures are entirely unintelligible at this level. When you realise it is being scaled up from a 20x optical zoom, it is understandable why the picture looks so awful. Samsung have also included a plethora of cables as standard, which isn't always the case. In addition to the standard AV cables Samsung also throw in a USB cable and an S-Video cable. These are useful when connecting the camera to a TV or computer. Picture quality onscreen is improved with the S-Video cable and having all the necessary components to transfer footage to a PC is a bonus. We found the PC software fairly easy to use and the inclusion of Ulead Video Studio SE was also welcome.
However, these extras cannot make up for the VP-D3251's other flaws. Sony's competing camera, the DCR-HC26E, trounces the Samsung model on most points. It's smaller, more comfortable to use, better looking, has a widescreen mode, has a much better screen, better quality recording... the list could go on and on. Really the only thing that the Samsung model has which the Sony doesn't is the inclusion of a USB cable. In our minds, this isn't reason enough to get the VP-D3251. As such, if you are looking for a budget Mini-DV camera, we'd advise you to stick with the Sony model.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 2 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 5 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
- New IoT malware targets 100,000 IP cameras via known flaw
- Facebook launches tool for capturing 360 video inside VR
- Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro finally adds 4K video support for local files
PCW Evaluation Team
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
- Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- GAMOSPHERE: Your August Roundup of Gaming News
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBusiness AnalystVIC
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- CCSenior Application DeveloperNSW
- CCProject Manager - Oracle Financials - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTFull Stack . NET DeveloperNSW
- TPRelease ManagerQLD
- CCNetwork EngineerVIC
- TPEnterprise Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTPerformance Test LeadOther
- TPSenior Business Analyst - AgileQLD
- FTApplications SupportOther
- FTProject Support/Personal Assistant | 6mth ContractOther
- FTProject CoordinatorNSW
- TPAutomation Test AnalystQLD
- TPDatabase Systems Analyst - Microsoft AccessNSW
- FTNetIQ Access Manager SpecialistOther
- FTLotus Notes Developer X 3Other
- FTSenior Systems Engineer (WINTEL) Midrange L3ACT
- FTJunior-Mid level .Net/Front-End Developer (Brisbane)NSW
- TPBusiness Analyst - RoboticsNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant - ApplicationsOther
- FTSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCJava Team LeaderQLD
- TPSenior Business Analyst - DETQLD
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW