Average review score based on 30 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
I purchased this camcorder for a very specific need: to transfer 15-year-old Hi8 wedding tapes to DVD and/or computer archive. The Sony Digital-8 system plays my Hi8 tapes with less interference or jitter than my original Hi8 camcorders did. (BTW, this camera can record on the older Hi8 tapes but the Digital-8 system records 60 min. on a 120 min. tape.)
The camera has Sony's iLink (FireWire) so I've been able to capture the old tapes directly into 2 different computers without using any external capture or conversion devices. On a Mac, iMovie has no trouble importing and editing the movies. (This camera can also accept the analog audio/video input from another source--VHS, for example--and pass that through the iLink/FireWire into a computer for capture.)
I also opted for this camcorder vs. a higher-end VCR/VTR unit so I could use it as a backup camera if I ever need it. In my brief experience with the Digital-8 format, the recorded footage from this camera is almost indistinguishable from consumer DV (miniDV) camcorders. Its 16x9 widescreen mode is comparable to any current, non-HiDef consumer camcorders. (Being non-HiDef, the footage from this camera would be ideal for small, web-based video uses.)
Apple's iMovie automatically recognizes and captures either 4x3 or 16x9 footage from this camera, depending on what aspect the footage was shot in. (I would hope that Windows apps should respond the same way.)
As a backup camcorder, this unit is very flexible, including manual (menu-selected) overrides and adjustments for focus & exposure. There is an external mic input but I haven't needed it yet. 20x optical zoom lens is great for 99% of situations. It has Sony's NightShot system so you can shoot greenish footage in totally dark environments.
My one big gripe about this and many other Sony taped-based consumer camcorders is that the tape compartment is accessed and opened on the bottom of the unit. This makes it impossible to change a tape when it is secured to most tripods or camera mounts.
I currently have it secured to my computer desk using a Bogen super-clamp, articulated arm & extended mounting stud. (The stud is narrow enough to screw into the tripod mount but not overlap the tape door; the arm allows me to swing the camera sideways or almost upside down to switch tapes. Hence the gripe!)
I would recommend this camcorder to anyone who needs to digitize a library of--or even just a few--important videos on 8mm or Hi8 tape.
Since this model is older and parts are probably rare, I suggest finding a seller that has multiple units or can repair/replace parts if needed.
The Sony digital 8 camera line is a real workhorse videocamera. The TRV350 is near the top of the line, one of a number of models with audio input jack, manual focus, and a few other special features. Only problem I ever had with this model and other later models is they open on the bottom to admit the tape, so you have to remove it from tripod every time you change the tape. Buying a used camera, be sure the video capture port works. I have owned several of these and that is the feature that is most likely to go bad -- besides the tape transport mechanism, which is another story. If that goes bad, the camera is just junk.
If you can get hold of a lightly used Sony Handycam DCR TRV350 for around $250, then as a consumer-level camcorder it's a definite buy. This model records MPEG1 motion and JPG stills on memory stick, and DV motion on Digital8 tape, and can playback and convert analog 8mm recordings to DV files. This is a very cool tool especially for those currently using older 8mm video equipment. Beware that to operate D8 cameras requires two hands. The two-and-a-half inch LCD monitor covers several controls including menu, display and manual exposure. The TRV350 compensates for small amounts of camera-shake. There is a small light to illuminate very dark areas to useable levels, but only at a distance of five feet. The excellent remote control is a standard accessory.
A disappointing feature is that the CCD is very small and does not qualify as a solution for the professional or serious amateur. The pictures are grainy in low light. However the audio is quite acceptable. A couple of extra and larger batteries are necessary because of the insufficient one-hour capacity of the supplied one. Hi8 120 minute cassette tapes have a record time of 60 minutes in standard play mode and 90 minutes in long play mode. Note that the DV cable is not a supplied accessory.
Sony doesn't sell this model anymore. If you are interested in upgrading to digital format on a budget, or if you want to insure that your collection of analog 8mm tapes can be played after your worn analog Handycam stops working, then find a gently used TRV350 to do the job. It performs camera/vcr functions admirably, and interfaces with the computer flawlessly.
I bought this to transfer 25 years of 8mm, HI8, and Digital 8 tapes to an external hard drive. Works good but be aware, the standard video streaming is not compatible with windows vista or windows 7. Luckily I have an old computer still running windows XP and it works great using the firewire connection. I am not sure how you would use it with more recent operating systems, probably would have to buy some type of editing software. I got the driver disk with the camera but the driver is not compatible with the newer operating systems. I researched it for a while but did not find an answer so I am working with the easy solution. I still have a lot of work to do but it is progressing well.
Well, I like the night shot capability, and i like the fact that i can record onto tape. I am a paranormal investigator, and hard evidence is a must. the downfalls to this camcorder is the weight, its rather heavy, especially with me being a girl :P but, the other downfall is that i cannot find any tape that will record past 60 minutes. which means, i must constantly go back to the camera to change it out. but this is a definite must for any paranormal team, like i said, hard evidence is winning evidence. oh, btw, you MUST purchase a separate light, i suggest the phantom lights (IR ONLY!) they work great.
I love this camera. The only draw back is that in order to change tapes you have to take it off the tripod, turn it upside down to get the tape out. If your program last more than the tape, you may miss some footage. Plus when I unhook the power supply it stops recording, even if the battery is fully charged. Otherwise, the camera has done exactly what I wanted it to do.
I bought the Camcorder to use for still shots of birds feeding at my feeders. Details of the birds were lost so I bought a photo lens that just brought the birds closer but without added detail. The Camcorder is great and I love the remote but my application is wrong. The Handycam is everything as advertised
Although this was a discontinued model, it was exactly what I needed. It is fairly easy to operate, but it did come with the instruction manual just in case! It is a very good model and I am not sure what replaced it or if it was replaced at all. The only negative is the Hi8 tape is loaded into the bottom which is a bit bulky and if you put it on a stand, you need to remove it from the stand to change tape. Also, it is a bit big, but not terribly.
I got this as a replacement for a Digital 8 that broke and I must say that it is almost as good as the one that I broke.