- Sleek, compact, relatively easy to use
- Picture quality lacking
A basic DVD camcorder that offers few advantages over its Mini DV brethren
Price$ 1,099.00 (AUD)
There's an interesting balance to consider in the world of DVD camcorders at the moment. Basically, they can all be lumped into two camps. On the one hand you have the small, sleek camcorders that cost about $1000. They're nice to hold, though the quality is generally lacking. Then you have the cameras that cost about fifty percent more. They offer extra features and much better quality, but are also considerably bulkier. Almost every DVD camcorder fits this rudimentary classification; so, when looking for a camera there's a tough decision to make between portability, quality and cost.
Sony's DCR-DVD705 definitely fits into the former category. It's lightweight, slim and extremely portable. This is the kind of camera you can carry around all day. We found the DCR-DVD705 a pleasure to use. All the buttons are in easy to reach places and the hand strap is of good quality and comfortable. Like most of Sony's newer video cameras, the DCR-DVD705 sports a fairly large touch sensitive widescreen LCD. Almost every function of the camera can be accessed from the LCD, including recording and zoom. This is, in theory, a great idea. We found the touch screen navigation on Sony's Mini DV cameras, such as the DCR-HC26E to be a breeze. However, Sony's latest wave of DVD cameras has a different on-screen interface. We really feel that this interface is one of those occasions where the designers felt they needed to show off. So it's out with the simplistic yet functional interface of old and in with rotating 3D barrels, spinning icons and vast numbers of buttons. Why Sony has done this we really don't know. It just isn't necessary at all; this is a video camera, not a games console.
Once you've moved past the annoying 3D effects and worked out how to use the DCR-DVD705 however, it actually provides a decent enough range of functions to satisfy the average user. Sony's old favourite, the nightshot mode, makes a welcome return as do some basic video effects. These include faders and sepia mode plus a couple of more interesting options but can't touch the all-out madness of laser beams and rotating screens that Canon includes with their video cameras these days. Still shot recording is also included but with only a one megapixel sensor you aren't going to be throwing away your old camera just yet. There's no chance of printing out these photos but they're certainly OK when viewed on a television screen. Seeing as this is a DVD camera, the videos are obviously going to end up in a DVD player at some point. Sony provides an easy to use editing tool that automatically creates a chapter selection screen as is seen on most regular DVDs. This feature is seen on pretty much any DVD camcorder but the Sony version is one of the nicer ones we've seen. Finally, it's good to know that the DCR-DVD705 has a fairly good battery life of about 75-80 minutes. This should be enough to film two DVDs at high quality.
Functionality is all well and good, but the picture quality of a camcorder is what really makes the difference. Unfortunately, the DCR-DVD705 is below par. Compared to the model above this, the DCR-DVD805, we weren't very impressed. The main cause of this is the sensor used; the 805 has three times as many pixels as the 705. The effects of this are are evident, with image degradation, particularly graininess showing its ugly head. Whilst with the 805 we only noticed graininess at low light levels the 705 displays this at all times. Indoors, outdoors, light, dark, it all has a distracting haze. This isn't to say it stops the picture from being viewable, but its prevalence is certainly noticeable. This is the sacrifice you make for portability and price.
However there are alternatives. Just to make things even more complicated we are going to mention Mini DV. Mini DV is a slightly archaic format now, certainly in technology terms, as it uses tape. The advantages of this format are that you can get a better quality picture for a cheaper price than the DCR-DVD705. What you lose is the convenience of DVD playback. Would you ever go back to using VCR, with the hassle of fast-forward and rewind, after using DVD? Yet if you can't afford the more expensive DVD models and are willing to put up with the idiosyncrasies of Mini DV then a camera such as the aforementioned Sony DCR-HC26E may be a better option.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth 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
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.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 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
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTHealthcare Integration Support/ Junior DBA - Brisbane BasedQLD
- TPWeb Developer - Front End focusQLD
- TPIT Support AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Communications Advisor - Australian TelcoVIC
- FTProject Manager / Web DeveloperVIC
- FTIntermediate Project ManagerQLD
- FTPMO CoordinatorVIC
- CC.Net DeveloperNSW
- CCPega DeveloperSA
- CCCloud Architect - AWSVIC
- FTFull Stack DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Front End Developer - BRISBANENSW
- FTNetwork AdministratorQLD
- FTUrgent -Java Developer (Programmer). 3 different positionsVIC
- CCCCNP Network EngineerVIC
- FTSenior SharePoint Administrator. Location -ACTACT
- FTSales Client Services Manager (Mid-market)QLD
- TPSenior Helpdesk Support OfficerQLD
- CCCommercial ManagerVIC
- TPSQL Database AdministratorNSW
- TPInfrastructure Project ManagerQLD
- FTDealing Room Support Analyst - IPC voiceNSW
- CCJava DeveloperACT
- FTPrincipal Project ManagerVIC