Sony DCR-HC42

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Sony DCR-HC42
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • High quality video, compact size

Cons

  • Fuzzy still images

Bottom Line

A lightweight camera that's got the goods.

Would you buy this?

Although the Sony DCRHC42 is a lightweight in both price and heft, it's far from lightweight in quality. The DCRHC42 produced great-looking video in our tests, with smooth movement. It also captured strong, accurate colours, even under difficult lighting conditions such as indoors under fluorescent lights.

The still images the camera took were disappointing: very fuzzy, with bland colours. The camcorder can record still images to a Memory Stick Duo or Memory Stick PRO Duo card at a maximum resolution of 1152 x 864 (about one megapixel). Although having the option to take still images is nice, the results really aren't good for anything except showing on a TV. The camera can also record low-resolution video to the Memory Stick.

The DCRHC42 fits well in the hand and, at 410g sans battery, it is light enough to be carried around all day. At 54.7mm thick and 111mm long, this camcorder should just squeeze into a large pocket. While the controls sit comfortably under the fingers, we found that the 12X optical zoom control lacked resistance--anything more than slight pressure set off zooming in or out very quickly, and it took a deft touch to slow it down.

The 2.7" wide-aspect LCD looked great in all but direct sunlight. Most camcorders, when shooting in 16:9 mode, display the video with black bars at the top and bottom, resulting in a smaller image. However, the Sony's wide-aspect LCD lets the DCRHC42 use the whole screen, which means you can see the image much better.

For recharging and linking to the PC, the camcorder docks in the included Handycam Station. The Station also has the USB 2.0 and FireWire ports to connect to the PC. This design means that you don't have to unplug everything when you take the camera with you, but it also means that you can't connect the camcorder to your PC (for transferring video or images) without that unit. Another problem is that the camera also fits rather loosely into the docking station, and can be easily jolted out during a video transfer, halting the process.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

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.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

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.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

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.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

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.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

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!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?