19th Jan 2005

Sony DCR-TRV140 Digital8 Camcorder

The DCR-TRV140 Ditgital8 camcorder is one of the cheapest models from Sony, but it still offers impressive resolution and plenty of features. The LCD screen is good, and the nightshot mode works well. The optical zoom is impressive and image stabilization works well.

The Digital8 provides an impressive resolution of 520 horizontal lines and gives good quality still photos. Auto focusing can be slow, especially at higher zooms, and manual focusing only allows the focus to be locked; it does not allow the user to control it. The 20x optical zoom is good, and works well with the steady-shot image stabilization, but the 560x digital zoom decreases resolution and produces inferior pictures and video.

The Nightshot mode allows the camera to see in complete darkness, and provides relatively sharp, clear images. However, these images are black and white, and the infrared light creates a “spotlight” effect, where the center is lighter than the edges of the image. The slow-shutter color night mode produced very blurry pictures in low light, and would be ideal only for taking pictures from a tripod, or videotaping very slow-moving objects.

The 2.5” color LCD screen is good, and can swivel 180 degrees up or down, with the picture automatically flipping if it is rotated past 90 degrees either way. The viewfinder is not as good. It is small, and the picture shown is black and white. Battery life is reasonably good at three hours, although this shrinks to a little over an hour when the LCD screen is in use. An indicator on the screen gives an accurate idea of battery time remaining. An optional battery pack from Sony can increase the battery life to almost ten hours.

Video and photo resolution are good, and videos can be viewed directly on a TV via a set of included cables, or can be transferred onto a computer for editing via USB of FireWire.

The Digital8 is capable of acting as a webcam using USB streaming, although generally a separate webcam would be desirable. It also provides several effects and fades that can be added while shooting the video. Overall, the Digital8 is an excellent choice for all but very advanced users. Its comparatively low price and good features make it superior to many higher-end camcorders.

Sony DCR-TRV140 Digital8 Camcorder

Features:

  • Digital8 camcorder
  • 20x optical, 560x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD and black and white EVF
  • Features a digital photo mode
  • Comes with NightShot mode and digital faders and effects

Specifications

  • Video format: Digital8
  • Progressive scan CCD: No
  • Flying erase heads: No
  • Audio: PCM digital stereo
  • Maximum CCD resolution: 460,000 pixels
  • CCD size: .25 inches
  • Eyepiece viewfinder: Yes
  • LCD screen size: 2.5 inches
  • LCD swivel: Yes
  • Aperture: F/1.4-2.9
  • Filter diameter: 37mm
  • Optical zoom: 20x
  • Digital zoom: 560x
  • Autolight: No
  • Hot shoe for external light: Yes
  • Image stabilization: SteadyShot
  • Infrared capability: Yes
  • Remote included: Yes
  • Digital camera capability: Yes
  • Included still memory: No
  • IEEE1394 output: Yes
  • Connections: USB, IEEE1394, S-Video, mini-A/V
  • S-Video output: Yes
  • Battery type: FM30 InfoLithium
  • Included in box: Power adapter, FM30 InfoLithium battery, remote control, 2 AA batteries, A/V cable, lens cap, shoulder strap, USB cable, software CD-ROM
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 3.63 inches x 4.13 inches x 7.88 inches
  • Weight: 1.25 lbs.

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