Sony DCRPC330 MiniDV 3, Excellent Camcorder – Disappointing Camera

The pc-330 is the new top of the line consumer camcorder from sony. It’s fully-loaded and ready to take on video and still picture duties. Pros:- all those megapixels are put to good use – this camcorder produces excellent video. – a whopping 3mp still capability. – best still pics from a camcorder to date. – minidv media is widely supported. – great connectivity options: firewire, usb, s-video, headphone, mic input, etc. – steady shot (sony’s image stabilization system – and it works) and night shot. – built in pop-up flash for taking photos.

This was my first-ever camcorder purchase, so i wanted to make sure the camera was a solid performer. The other two candidates were the panasonic dv953 and the sony trv950. To help me choose, i took a crash-course in minidv cams (by reading the reviews) and found that most of them kept harping on things that i didn’t care about. Things like bottom-loading the tapes vs top-loading; single ccd vs 3 ccd; the number of shutter speeds. 9% of people aren’t going to pass up a good camera because they need to remove it from the tripod to change a tape, but these folks make it sound like a show-stopper. I bought the pc330 over the other two for simple reasons:1) my wife wants very few buttons to have to worry abouy. With this camera, you point and shoot; most of the functions are hidden in the touch screen menus that you rarely have to use. 2) the stills are actually better than my 3. 3) it felt comfortable to use – much smaller than the other two cameras. I believe the cons to this camera that will affect most users are:1) the akward placement of the still button. You really have to bend your index finger into a strange position to use it. The zoom control is placed as the natural landing spot for your index finger. 2) the microphone is located behind the hot-shoe. This is only a problem if you plug something into the shoe – the mic is essentially blocked from your subject. 3) the flash doesn’t pop out far enough to clear most add-on lenses. If you attach a wide-angle or zoom lens, you will see a significant shadow of it in still pictures that use the flash. This is certainly not a critical flaw, but annoying. 4) this is probably only a problem for newbies to sony camcorders, but the zoom control at your index finger is just about the same size as the mode/power switch at your thumb.

It’s slim, compact, looks great, great zooming, and it delivers more than you can expect from a regular camcorder. It is definitely in the ‘professional’ range of camcorders. I have used the dcr-pc330 in different occasions varying from soccer and basketball games to family reunions and birthdays. This camcorder has always delivered above my expectations. Yes, the software that comes with it is not great, but windows movie maker would work just fine if you’re not looking for extra professional quality and you have a few hours to spend. However, the battery life is short, the stills are to be trashed, and the memory stick that comes with the camera is a joke. I would recommend you buy a cheap camera if you want stills. I bought one for 80 bucks which delivers better quality pictures than the dcr-pc330.

Key specs for Sony DCRPC330 MiniDV 3.3-Megapixel Handycam Camcorder (Discontinued by Manufacturer):

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  • Sleek, compact MiniDV camcorder and digital still camera with 3.3-megapixel CCD
  • 10x optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 120x) with Super SteadyShot image stabilizer
  • 2.5-inch rotating LCD and color viewfinder
  • Low-light recording settings, Memory Stick Pro slot, and accessory shoe
  • NP-FM30 InfoLithium Rechargeable Battery

Comments from buyers

“High quality prosumer camera
, Excellent DV Camera; Some Limitations
, Excellent but expensive

Other reviews here do a good job of covering the specs and general pros and cons of this all-round excellent camera. Here i’ll just mention a few additional points and reiterate some others:(1) you will almost certainly need an additional, higher capacity battery right off the bat; the battery provided is almost totally inadequate. For most users this means the np-qm71d (which will set you back an additional $100) , and the companion charger (the ac-sq950, for an additional $150); the latter is essential unless you can afford to wait almost 2. 5 hours for a recharge (the ac-sq950 manages in under an hour). Moreover, all of the batteries with decent capacity will protrude sideways from the camera body (on the lcd side). This has little effect in use (aside from looking quite silly with some of the larger batteries) bit does make the camera considerably harder to carry around and ‘bag’. (2) don’t be fooled by the talk about mpeg and the ability to capture to a potentially very long movies to high-capacity memory stick cards. The maximum mpeg resolution supported by this camera is 320×240, which is worse than you get with decent still cameras (like sony’s own dsc-v1), and certainly not what you should expect from a camera with this price tag. So if you are shooting video, you are shooting to tape, period(3) 3 megapixel still capability is great and adds a real convenience: you can get by with one camera on days when you want to shoot some video without completely giving up the option of taking a few stills. But beware: the quality of the images is not up to that from far less expensive digital still cameras and nowhere near what less expensive and very compact still cameras can provide.

A palm-sized camera that almost shoots as well as the low-end 3-ccd cameras, made by a reputable name (sony), and a price under $1400?. Exterior – with the vertical orientation of the body and the smaller thickness, this camera will fit well in your palm. The main controls are positioned comfortably where your fingers will most naturally fall. The design allows for basic operation without jostling the camera. As i primarily work in filming live band performances in local clubs, this unit allows me to shoot a high-quality product and not disturb those around me, as most are never aware that i am recording. The only drawback is that the infra-red controls are a switch on the case, as opposed to an internal menu. On more than one occasion i have accidentally turned on the night mode. Lens – the lens is very sharp and distortion-free. Its size of 37mm is a standard size, and i have been able to purchase several lenses and filters without requiring any adapters or step-up/down rings.

A camcorder that took excellent video and good stills. This product dissapoints in the latter. However, many people say that the still picture quality that this camcorder takes are already better than any camcorder out there. While this may be true, i must warn the people out there thinking that this can replace you 2 or 3 megapixel camcorder. The still pictures, although 3 megapixel capacity have just way to much noise intereference (thats my best guess) for the pictures to be sharp. The pictures come out somewhat fuzzy rather than smooth. When viewed at 2016 x 1512 you can clearly notice an uneveness in the colors. The pictures are just plain below average compared to what you can get from even a 2 megapixel camera.

Excelente calidad de video y sobresaliente el color. La sensibilidad con poca luz es muy buena en video. He obtenido imágenes nocturnas muy buenas en calles bien iluminadas y en shoppings. Las stills son mejores que lo que haya visto anteriormente, aunque no a la par con una cámara digital de 3mp. Igualmente imprimen y se ven muy bien. Excelentes las imágenes con flash, que se ajusta perfecto aun en macros extremos. Con poca luz hay algo de ruido. Extraordinario el night frame y útil el night shot. Muy bien implementado el color slow shutter, que se autoajusta de tal manera que si hay suficiente luz es apenas perceptible. La escritura en la memoria es rápida.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Sony DCRPC330 MiniDV 3.3-Megapixel Handycam Camcorder (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Rating
4.8 of 5 stars, based on 8 reviews