- Great image quality, long battery life, widescreen LCD
- A little heavy, built-in microphone a little weak at range
Sony's DCRDVD803 offers terrific image quality and is well suited to those who want to record video and then play it back without editing.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
In our tests, the Sony DCRDVD803 produced excellent results, capturing strong, bright colours and smooth movement in both indoor and outdoor lighting.
At 520g, the DCRDVD803 is a little heavier than most of the camcorders we have tested, but it isn't much bulkier. The zoom, photo and record buttons fall comfortably under the fingers of the right hand. And it packs a lot of features into its case, including a surround-sound microphone, a 10X optical zoom, and a wide-screen LCD. This feature makes the most of the wide-screen mode: when you record video in 16:9, you can see its full glory on the display, without black stripes along the top and bottom of the screen.
Most of the controls are accessed through the LCD's touch-sensitive screen. This minimises the number of buttons on the camcorder, but it also means that you can't access most of the controls if you are using the viewfinder instead of the LCD. Some of the controls are buried a little deep: to change the recording-quality mode, for instance, you have to press buttons in the on-screen menu seven times. One nice detail is that the zoom and record buttons are duplicated on the edge of the screen.
The camera captured video with clear, bright audio, good separation and a strong surround-sound feel that would be great for, say, shooting video on a rollercoaster. However, like most camcorders where the microphone is located on the top of the body, it didn't pick up voices well from a distance--they often got lost in the ambient noise. The built-in microphone was also a little prone to picking up wind noise; even a slight breeze across the microphone produced a rumbling sound.
The DCRDVD803 had excellent battery life in our tests. Recording to DVD while using the LCD screen, the battery lasted 2 hours, 42 minutes.
The camcorder has two modes for shooting in near darkness: NightShot, which slows down the shutter speed, and Super NightShot, which turns on an infrared LED located below the lens. There are also a few basic digital video effects (such as an old-movie mode and a fader for fading in video from a black or white screen), but not as many as you'll find in other models.
Unlike many other camcorders, the DCRDVD803 doesn't save still images to a memory card; instead, it writes 3 megapixel JPEG files to a DVD. The DVD803's shots were well exposed and had good colour and reasonable detail. They would look fine up to a print size of 4" by 6".
While we liked a lot of things about the DCRDVD803, it still has the problems inherent to most DVD camcorders: You have to finalise the disc (so it can't record further) before you can play it back in a set-top DVD player (the process can take up to 15 minutes), and at the unit's highest-quality setting, you can squeeze only 20 minutes of video onto a 8cm DVD. However, you can finalise the disc on battery power, and you can also switch between the different quality settings and normal or wide-screen video without having to change discs.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Motorola Moto X Style review: A no compromise flagship
- 2 Oppo R7 Plus review: a stellar sub-$600 phablet
- 3 Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (9.7) 4G review: Samsung does a lot more with a lot less
- 4 Motorola Moto G (3rd gen) review: Is it worth an extra $100?
- 5 Jawbone UP3 review: 3 months with Jawbone's best fitness tracker
Deals on PC World
- Networking, Wireless & VoIP
Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- U2 tours with all-flash array to rock latest video effects
- Olympus targets movie makers with OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera
- Sony unveils cheapest 4K camcorder yet
- Netflix: We're launching Down Under in March of 2015
- SanDisk eyes 4K video market with high-speed 512GB SD card
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTDatabase Marketing ManagerNSW
- FTMid level IT consultant | Systems Integration & Managed ServicesNSW
- FTBusiness Development & Account ManagementNSW
- FTLevel 2 IT Support TechnicianVIC
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW
- FTSales SpecialistNSW
- FT1st & 2nd level IT support all-rounder in beautiful rural BathurstNSW
- FTManual Test Engineer | Financial Institution | Web testingNSW
- FTSenior Consultant | Project work | National Systems IntegratorVIC
- FTField EngineerNSW
- FTProduct Marketing ManagerNSW
- FTSystems Administrator | National commercial law firm | MS, AWS & eDiscoveryNSW
- FTAccount Manager | Music IndustryNSW
- CCMilitary simulation programmer with C# and Unity - 3 monthsNSW
- FTSenior Account Manager - PR AgencyNSW
- FTAccount Manager | Client Side - Previous Agency Experience Welcome!!NSW
- CCE-Commerce - Senior Web Application DeveloperNSW
- FTSystems Administrator - Managed ServicesNSW
- FTLinux Administrator with AWS & DevopsNSW