Sony DCRTRV38 MiniDV 1Megapixel Camcorder – a solid camcorder but you can do better

This camera is great for a few reasons. First of all, it can deliver some pretty good images for the casual point-and-shoot consumer who wants to shoot some high-quality home videos. It is also very good for someone who likes to have a little more control over the image. The manual focus ring and manual exposure features allow for a more customized picture. Being able to turn off the automatic white balance is also a huge plus here. The higher-end features are where this camera struts its stuff. For instance, this camera offers true 16:9 widescreen mode. It doesn’t merely put black bars on the top and bottom of the image, you actually get more real estate on the sides of the picture without losing resolution (a feature not available on much more expensive cameras such as the sony vx-2100 and the pd-170). I use this camera for producing short films and other video production. When lit properly, you’ll be amazed by the quality of video you can get out of this baby.

I am not totally satisfied with this item. At first it seemed to be just what i had wanted. But then when i attempted to record a disk with the camera, the results were less than appealing. There is too much flicker and jumping as if the tape transport assembly is not functioning properly while recording. During playback of my previously recorded items, it worked just fine. Still testing it as time becomes available. The item seems to be worth the investment if for nothing else than to play my previously recorded tapes and transfer them onto dvd. Yesterday i received a sony cleaner tape for the minidv camcorder. Today i used the tape on this camera and recorded for the first time with the camera expecting good results.

I have been video taping since 1982, so here are my observations after a week with the trv38. Low light: much better than expected after reading negative reviews on it everywhere. Still picture quality: better than expected for a quick and easy shot. Mpeg video quality: mediocre as expecteddigital zoom: worse than expected after reading very positive comments on it. Sound quality: better than expected; virtually zero motor noisedesign & construction: excellent as expected; a bit heavier than expectedlcd: excellent as expected; 3. 5′ is wonderful, and this one is beautifullcd touch screen: excellent and a great idea; works beautifully even with a protective plastic sheet on it. Battery life: too brief, as expectedease of use: complex but well designed as expected; easy if you just want to shoot video without fussing with settings; much for advanced photographer. Zoom control: very sensitive as expected, takes getting used topicture quality: excellent, but not amazingly better than 3 year-old cheap sharp hi-8. I was expecting it to be worlds better. Size: smaller than expected which is good; excellent even for big hands like mine. Here are the specifications for the Sony DCRTRV38 MiniDV 1Megapixel Camcorder:

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  • Compact MiniDV digital camcorder with 1-megapixel imaging
  • 10x optical, 120x digital, zoom with Super SteadyShot image stabilization
  • Large 3.5-inch touch-panel color SwivelScreen LCD display for easy access to the entire camcorder menu
  • Includes 8 MB Memory Stick for still image and MPEG1 capture
  • NightShot O Lux infrared system with color mode for recording in total darkness

As most people on the web do, i did a lot of reading, and comparison shopping, before settling on the sony trv38. This camera has more features than you will get to use, but i was looking for video quality, ease of use(point and shoot), and price. True to the other reports, you need to buy a larger memory card, and a back-up battery. Once you have everything, you are ready for some neat features, and quality video. My favorite one is the vcr feature, through which you can rewind the tape, use the lcd touch screen, and view the footage you just shot. Many people talk about low-light footage, and rightfully so, but unless you are shooting in very dim situations, this camcorder does a great job in low light. This is actually one of the reasons i chose the trv38, over canon, panasonic, and jvc. If you are buying on the web, all the vendors include extra ‘packages’. A $600 camera can wind up costing you $900. I only bought the ac/dc charger, 30mmm uv filter, and a nice bag. The other items you need you can find cheaper elsewhere. Sony batteries are expensive, but there are generic, cheaper batteries that will work just as well there is a sea of good camcorders out there, but this sony is at the top of my list.

The internal microphone picks up the sound of the camera running and focusing. Was not able to find any settings to resolve this problem.

Reviews from purchasers :

  • Sony DCRTRV38
  • As good as it gets
  • audio is picks up the sound of the camera running and focusing

Plus the steady shot, night shot and vcr features are cool indeed. Still picture quality (at 1-mega pixel) is also acceptable. You need to purchase a higher capacity battery because the supplied one may not be sufficient (depends on how you use this camera). I also recommend to purchase a memory stick of at least 32mb because the supplied one (8mb) may not be enough (again, depends in your application). The main drawbacks are: the tape opening located at the bottom and you need to purchase a separate video light.

The picture quality on the sony dcrtrv38 is the best out of any of the 10 comparable cameras we tested. We bought one of them several years ago, and like it enough to buy a second. It’s ability to capture sound is also superior to any other camera in its class (we film a lot of live theatre, and we have perfect sound even from the last row in a non-mic’d show). The only cons are that we’ve had to have 2 repairs over the last 5 years, and the bottom-loading is inconvenient when using a tripod.

I, too, experienced the dreaded blank screen on my trv38 after only a year and a half of moderate use. I did some internet searching on the issue and discovered a site that mentioned sony has acknowledged problems with the ccd chip in certain models built before 2004, the trv38 being one of them and are offering to fix them for free, including shipping to and from a location of your choice. I then went made use of their excellent sony. Com online chat support service and asked the moderator about the free repair deal. After a few troubleshooting questions, he acknowleded i appeared to qualify for the free repair service and provided me with the following site, [. they appear to be making good on a known defect in their product and are to be commmended. Now, if only the local service centers would inform customers of this deal when they bring their cameras in for repair of this malady. Naw, that’s asking waaaaay too much. By the way, aside from this problem, we’ve been very happy with this camera and actually bought a second one as a back up in case we had problems with the first one. With 2 kids, ages 2 1/2 and 4, to record precious moments of, it sure paid off in this case. ]

The sony trv38 is one of sony’s mid-range minidv camcorders. It’s a solid camcorder but i believe you can do better in this price range. Pros:- very good video quality – colors are reproduced accurately. – 1 megapixel still capability. – minidv media is widely supported. – great connectivity options: firewire, usb, s-video, headphone, mic input, etc. – carl zeiss lens with 10x optical zoom. – steady shot and night shot. – ability to record mpeg videos directly to memory stick. – progressive shutter system.

Same problem has been occurring with all sony camcorders trv19 through to trv38. Sony will repair the problem free of charge.

Can’t see how a camcorder could be any better unless it were bigger. Easy to use (even my wife uses this one – she never used our panasonic). We bought this instead of the sony dvd camcorder because of the good reviews on this and the bad ones on the sony dvd model. Definitely buy a larger battery and extra tapes.

This is an amazing camera for it’s price. It has a carl zeiss lens which is a must-have if you want your video to end up looking profesional. Personally, i like it even better than the model above this one. 5 inch lcd on the more expensive model, but it also has a better feel. In the model above this one, the only thing ‘better’ is it’s smaller size. But i don’t like that smaller size. It makes it feel too delicate. I may be only 17, but i’ve been into videography for quite awhile, and i would say, this is my favorite camera, for it’s price. It’s obviously not as good as say. I think costs something over 2000. But for my purposes, and the majority of the public’s, i’m sure it’s the best choice.

As a newbie video enthusiast, i’m really pleased with the trv38. For under $1000, you get a great camera with a bunch of features. I just bought mine, so i’m still playing around with it to see what it can do. From what i can tell, the image quality is pretty good indoors, but when you get into lower light levels (like a dim room) the image seems to turn a little on the gray side. Out of the box, the camera feels good in the hand with most of the essentials at your fingertips. There are two features i’m not too fond of with the trv38. One is the bottom-loading tape. If you’re using a tripod, changing tapes can be annoying. The other item is the touch screen. It seems durable enough right now, but how will it stand up over time?.

The dcr-trv38 is in the mid-range sony’s 2003 line of consumer camcorders. It is similar to the dcr-trv33 but has a larger lcd screen, which is a nice plus. The dcr-trv70 and 80 have higher resolution, but at significantly higher cost. The reviews i’ve read state that the dcr-trv38 hits the sweet spot in terms of video quality and price. My impressions are as follows:pros:-build quality and performance are excellent. The video is very clear and sound is pretty good. Low light resolution is much better than competing camcorders in the same price range. -compact size-the steadyshot function works exactly as delivered. The motion sensor method that sony utilizes is superior to the digital method used in competing products (such as the panasonic gs-70). -the carl zeiss with 10x optical zoon is great.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Sony DCRTRV38 MiniDV 1Megapixel Camcorder with 3.5" LCD (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
3 of 5 stars, based on 25 reviews