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View topic - Sony DCR-HC90 owner Feedback

Sony DCR-HC90 owner Feedback

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by imroot » Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:02 pm

I got my HC-90 2 days ago.

I did quite a bit of homework before purchasing the HC-90. I wanted High quality DV in a 16:9 format. I own a 42" Sony LCD HDTV and I wanted sharp, high quality performance.

Other factors for me: Solid build (exterior), and good quality parts (interior). Firewire, size, ease of use, MiniDv, and price.

Things that I got but didn't expect:

size- When the package arrived, I was surprised at the size of the box it came in. It is small. When I opened the box, I was even more surprised at the size of the camera. I was expecting something compact but this little camera is small. I own a JVC MiniDV camera and it is about twice the size and 4 times as heavy. I wanted a small camera but thought that I would have to sacrifice some functionality for size. Well, I didn't. I don't think that I would want a smaller camera or it would start becoming difficult to push the correct buttons without looking around the camera first.

Still shots- I have read some comments that this camera doesn't take quality still pictures. I didn't buy it for that but this camera takes really nice photographs and in 16:9 format so it is just like having a wide angle lens. If you email your images or make DVD slide shows, this camera can take some quality shots. I have email some of the pictures to family and I had to resize them all to make them a lot smaller in dimension and subsequently, the images became sharper and details stood out. The flash works just as well as any other still digital camera I have owned. More than adequate for emailing or sharing on the web. I will be leaving my Olympus still camera behind on family outings because the HC-90 can take its place.

Motor function- I was simply amazed at the motor and function of the motorized parts in this camera. This thing is fast. Really fast. My JVC is a 3 year old piece of clunky crap compared to the HC-90. When you are playing back a movie and want to scan forward quickly, there is no waiting around for it to change gears, it does it instantly. The push button LCD is very responsive and the camera will take commands without clunking and whining. It rewinds very quickly. It sounds solid and it performs. I am most pleased with this surprise.

Things I expected (the good)

The video quality- So far it has been awesome. As I said earlier, I own a 42" Sony Widescreen and to see the entire screen filled with video is a delight for me. The colors are rich and the details are fine enough to satisfy me. The camera seems to handle 16:9 perfectly. My wife was astonished at the quality when she first saw it. I used the camera in low light mainly. Dimly lit rooms with lamps. The steady shot works great, giving a flowing look to video when you are walking around. The colors remained bright in low lit areas and in the sun, colors are rich. I messed around with some of the features and they all look good. My wife is a point and shoot person and I taught her to push the easy mode button and she was off. No teaching her how to use it. Common sense is all you need.

Dumping DV to my MAC G4 PowerBook- I plugged it in via firewire, IMovie picked up the camera instantly and I began dumping DV as well as editing. That was all there was to it. I haven't even looked at the software that Sony sent. IMovie also recognized the 16:9 ratio and set up my project accordingly. Quick Time and the Sorenson 3 codec had to be fed the aspect ratio manually. I have to figure out pixel sizes with a calculator. I plugged in the USB cable to the camera and my MAC and the MAC mounted the volume and imported my images flawlessly. I also did the same with my WINXP PC. Just plugged in the USB cable and Voila. It showed up as a new drive in My Computer.

Build Quality - Awesome. There is NO creaking (like my JVC). The camera is ergonomically great for my hands and my wife also agrees. All of the buttons are in the right place. The touch panel LCD is wonderful for me. It is solid and I don't worry about it ripping off when opening it and when you close it, it makes a satisfying thud like it was meant to be slammed shut in a hurry. The top loading of the tapes is great. No need to lay the camera on its side or anything like that. I can change the tape while the camera is plugged in to fire wire and the power simultaneously. The camera is very light but built very, very well. I am totally pleased with the build quality. It feels like a Sony. The zoom button is light or easy to manipulate but it can either zoom slowly or very quickly. It is quite sensitive and took a little getting used to. My old JVC felt like it was going to crumble in my hand and the mechanisms seemed so fragile but this camera feels like it can be handled with less apprehension.

Things that could be an issue but not as of yet.

The pry open plastic doors for cable plug in access - To charge the battery, you have to pry open one of the plastic covers to access the inputs. I can understand that these covers protect the jacks from dirt, etc. Some have said that they may easily become detached in the future. I beg to differ. My JVC has the same type of protective covers and I have not broken them off in 3 years. I was always prying on them because I am always plugging firewire, etc in to the ports. They never broke and most likely never will. I think the hinge is that annoying plasic that never breaks no matter how much you flex it. The more you use the covers, the more plyable they becaome and easier to access. The sony covers are good quality and I doubt these will ever be an issue. It is somewhat inconvienient to charge the camera because you have to open the cover first. The stand alone chargers are not that expensive and I purchased a spare battery so it might be worth getting the charger.

Memory Stick Pro - I spent a bunch of money for a Memory stick original for my Sony Still camera and it will not work in this DV Camcorder. The little one that they sent in not adequate. Looks like I will have to buy another one soon. I wish I did not.

Lens cover - This camera has a shutter that opens when you turn the power on so that you don't have to fiddle with lens covers. I absolutely love this feature but, dirt, sand, crap can collect in that area even though the lens will be protected. There are threads there for lenses and filters. There should have been a plain glass lens there to occupy and protect that area from the elements. I will most likely get a cheap filter to screw in there and protect the fine threads.

All in all, I love this little camera and I am sure that my family will enjoy it for years to come. Between this, my 12" MAC PowerBook, my 42" Sony HDTV, and living in Hawaii, I think I have what I need for ample amounts of fun.
imroot
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by onesony » Fri Apr 08, 2005 9:01 am


Imroot,

I am thinking to buy the HC-42 camera. I have a
WF655 Sony HDTV. Can you tell me what is the cable in order to view the video directly on your HDtv? It seems the firewire is needed, but I know my TV only have HDMI connection. Does that mean you have to use other non-digital cable for viewing?

Do I need the IEEE cable at all?

Thanks for your help.

Onesony
onesony
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by imroot » Fri Apr 08, 2005 3:06 pm

You will need a firewire cable to transfer uncompressed digital video to your PC if you want to edit film and burn DVDs.

To hook up the camcorder to your tv you will use the RCA cables included with your camcorder.

I bought this cable that includes a s-video connection for slightly better image reproduction.

http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start?CategoryName=dcc_DICamcorders_DIAccessories_Cables&ProductSKU=VMC15FS

Some people have a firewire or dvi port on their TV. Mine does not. S-video seems to be the highest quality input for my Sony Camcorder. HDMI will have nothing to do with my camcorder as I have not seen a firewire to HDMI converter as of yet.
imroot
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Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:00 pm
Location: Hawaii

by onesony » Sun Apr 10, 2005 8:57 am


Thanks a lot for the helpful reply, Imroot. I am thinking to get a DCR-HC42. Have you looked at this model in your reearch? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

I do not understand why a Sony digital video camera does not have a digital link with a Sony HDTV.

onesony
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Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2005 8:00 pm
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