Cheap and versatile
- Three recording formats in one, highly affordable, good video performance for the asking price
- Less-than-perfect audio, rubbish stills mode
The DCR-DVD810 is an impressive standard-def camcorder that combines three recording formats for the price of one. If you like the idea of instant DVDs, but also want the versatility of flash memory, look no further.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
The DVD camcorder is a funny old beast. A few years ago, everyone with a passing interest in videography wanted one, despite numerous flaws with the hardware (including poor video compression, numerous editing difficulties and ruinous file errors). These days, most DVD cameras have overcome these problems and are vastly superior to their creaky predecessors, yet their popularity has taken a significant nosedive. Go figure.
In an attempt to inject some life into the ailing format, Sony has unveiled the DCR-DVD810 — a standard-definition handycam that offers three recording formats in one: inbuilt flash memory, Memory Stick and DVD. In addition, all the usual Sony perks are present on this camera, including a 25x optical zoom, a 5.1ch Surround Sound Zoom microphone, a Luddite-friendly 'Easy' button and an intuitive touch-screen interface. With an RRP of just under $700, this is an excellent-value camcorder that will be ideal for families and casual users.
Being a DVD camcorder first and foremost, the DVD810 is compatible with all standard 8cm discs, including DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD+R DL. Recording times range from 20 to 325 minutes, depending on the video quality and disc type used. The obvious advantage of this format is that you can pop your recordings straight into a DVD player without mucking around with computers or AV cables. If you find the DVD format too restrictive, that's no reason to completely discount this camera — as mentioned above, this is just one of three recording methods offered.
Like most current camcorders, the DVD810 includes a memory card slot for additional hybrid recording. Predictably, Sony has opted to use its Memory Stick Pro Duo format, which is not as widely supported as its SD/SDHC counterpart. (If you already own a bunch of SD/SDHC cards, you might be better off with a Canon or Panasonic model.) A 4GB Memory Stick can store 58 minutes of video at the highest quality setting. Currently, the Memory Stick format comes in a maximum capacity of 16GB, which cost over $300 a pop.
In addition to its memory card slot, the DVD810 comes equipped with 8GB of internal onboard memory. While this might not sound like much, it boosts the camera's recording time by up to 325 minutes (or 115 minutes at the highest quality). Conveniently, you can also dub video from the inbuilt memory (or a Memory Stick) directly to DVD.
In terms of design, the DVD810 retains the 'slightly squashed' aesthetic that is synonymous with DVD camcorders. With dimensions of 55x89x130mm and weighing just under 500g, it fits comfortably in the hand without feeling too flimsy. Surprisingly, Sony has included a traditional viewfinder in addition to the 2.7in LCD display. This is something that most vendors are excising from their lower-end models, so it's nice to see it here. However, because it can't be swivelled up or down, you can only use the viewfinder when shooting whatever is directly in front of you. (Still, gift horses eh?)
When it came to video performance, the DCR-DVD810 performed solidly for an entry-level camcorder. With its solitary 1/6in CCD sensor and effective pixel count of 670K, it does a good job with the specifications it's been dealt. While colours occasionally looked washed-out in our test footage and its low-light performance was predictably poor, the level of detail remained consistently sharp throughout. For the asking price, the image quality is definitely impressive. (The same cannot be said for still images, however, which offer a measly resolution of one megapixel.)
The DCR-DVD810 lacks an external microphone jack, although a top-mounted accessory hotshoe is included for use with Sony-branded microphones. This may be a worthwhile investment, as we found the inbuilt microphone to be ineffective in noisy environments. Nevertheless, it will produce quality audio if you don't mind a bit of background hubbub.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Huawei Y5 (2017): Full, in depth review
- 3 LG G6 Plus: Full, in-depth review
- 4 First Look: Nikon D850
- 5 OnePlus 5: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Sony make shooting in HDR easy with new 4K camcorders
- Sony announces Australian availability for new waterproof RX0 action-camera
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
- New IoT malware targets 100,000 IP cameras via known flaw
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Jabra Elite Sport (2017) review
- How to download the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update right now
- Opinon: Life after KRACK
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- TP.Net Web DeveloperSA
- TPJava DeveloperWA
- TPBusiness Analyst - RoboticsNSW
- FTGraduate Software Developer - Front EndWA
- FTData Centre EngineerOther
- CCCRM DeveloperWA
- FTBusiness Intelligence DeveloperQLD
- CCDevOps Developer (Brisbane Location)NSW
- FTOperations Orchestration SpecialistACT
- FTLead Solution ArchitectSA
- CCTosca Test AutomationVIC
- CCContent WriterNSW
- TPTest AnalystQLD
- FTService Desk Technical LeadOther
- FTProject Manager - Property /Engineering/ Construction - GovtOther
- CCMigration EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Business Analyst - AMLOther
- FTIT Security Assurance AnalystOther
- FTBusiness Analyst - Integration Platform ProjectQLD
- FTPMO ManagerOther
- TPSQL Systems DeveloperQLD
- FTSolution Architect **Telecommunications Products** $800 per dayOther
- CCProcess LeadNSW
- CCSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- TPNetwork EngineerNSW