10th Nov 2005

Sony DCR-TRV38 MiniDV Handycam Camcorder

Sony DCR-TRV38 replaces DCR-TRV25 and is upgrade over the slightly cheaper DCR-TRV33 model. Step up from DCR-TRV33 - larger 3.5″ LCD Screen (versus 2.5″ on TRV33) with 184 Pixels and very welcome feature - manual focus ring, while on the TRV33, TRV22, and other cheaper Sony models the focus is contolled by touch panel.

Manual focus ring makes the practical usage of camcorder easier and more creative. It also allows the user to control the focus in difficult shooting situations, like shooting through glass, which stymies autofocus, or shooting indoors under subdued incandescent lighting.

Other manual controls include zoom (larger and more comfortable than on similar Sony camcorders), exposure (touch panel - 24 steps), white balance (touch panel - Indoor, Outdoor, Hold), and shutter speed 1/4-1/4000 (Program AE Mode).
Sony DCR-TRV38 MiniDV Handycam Camcorder
1/4.7″ CCD with 1,070K Pixels (Effective Video Pixels 690K and Effective Still Pixels 1,000K) provides great video with 520 lines of horizontal resolution. Picture quality is better than with DCR-TRV22 (Effective Pixels 340K; up to 500 lines of horizontal resolution).

DCR-TRV38 features a 10x optical and 120x precision digital zoom. Precision digital zoom interpolation technology means that extreme digital zooming is clearer, with less distortion than previous types of digital zoom.

Professional Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar Lenses have an advanced optical multi-layer coating offering less glare and flare with increased contrast.

Focal distance: 3.7-37mm. 35mm conversion: 50-500mm (Camera Mode) and 42-420mm (Memory Mode).

Sony DCR-TRV38 is provided with 3.5″ touch panel LCD screen, with 184,000 pixels. On screen touch panel system allows you to navigate through the camera’s menu system by touching the LCD screen, using the supplied stylus. Especially good are the spot-metering and spot-focusing functions, which you can operate by touching the screen area (object) that you’d like to meter or focus upon. Older TRV25 with 2.5″ LCD does not provide these functions.

Camcorder’s precision color viewfinder incorporates 113,000 pixels, providing a clear full color view of video subjects with up to 400 lines of resolution.

In digital still memory mode, 1152 x 864 resolution still images (versus 640 x 480 stills on TRV22) can be captured and stored directly onto Sony’s memory stick media. 8MB Memory Stick media is supplied. Stills are transferred from the camcorder to the computer via the included USB port. When the camcorder is in Memory Stick mode you can do read and write functions such as playing back pictures and deleting pictures as well as doing a slide show.

Using the MPEG Movie EX feature TRV38 can record uninterrupted MPEG1 video to the full capacity of the Memory Stick media. For example a 128MB Memory Stick will record up to 85 minutes of non-stop MPEG1 video.

The DCR-TRV38 supports the new Memory Stick PRO formats (MSX-256, MSX-512 and MSX-1GB).

Playback Zoom: during video playback, pause mode or while viewing still images stored on Memory Stick, you can zoom in up to 5X closer. These newly cropped images can be stored on Memory Stick.

USB Streaming makes it possible for you to use your camcorder to stream live or record content to a PC.

NightShot system enables you capture video when shooting in total darkness (0 lux), using the camcorder’s infrared system up to 10 feet away. Super NightShot recording mode, automatically adjusts the shutter speed to increase picture brightness and clarity. Color Slow Shutter mode allows you to record in low light situations by slowing down the shutter speed.

Low light perfomance of Sony DCR-TRV38 is slightly worse than with DCR-TRV22 because of smaller CCD. But this does not mean that TRV35 performs badly in low light situations. Both these cams are great performers in those situations.

Convert and record any analog NTSC video source to digital video via the analog inputs. Analog NTSC video can also be passed-through the camcorder directly into a PC via the i.LINK interface in real time for easy PC editing of your analog footage.


Larger LCD (that makes using the touch panel much easier) and manual focus ring are significant improvements over the DCR-TRV33 and definitely it is worth to pay $100 more and to obtain Sony DCR-TRV38. Overall it is a great buy and I would recommend this cam for everyone.

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