Sony's TRV65 is not outdated and is a great value!
I bought this camcorder in order to playback my old Hi8 tapes, as well as to make new recordings with Hi8. My experience with tape camcorders has been with MiniDV where the tapes only last for 1 hour, and I wanted a compact camcorder that could record for at least twice as long and include a time/date stamp in the actual picture rather than having to transfer the footage from a memory card then look it up on the computer. This camcorder fit that description.
My favorite aspects about this cacmorder are the many features that it includes over modern camcorders. These are what made me decide to purchase one that is this old (made in 1998). My favorite features include a stereo headphone jack, stereo microphone jack, and S-video, composite, and stereo input/output jacks. The same jacks function as both inputs and outputs and allow for recording onto the Hi8 tape, which produces far superior image quality to standard VHS or VHS-C tapes. This is another reason that I went with Hi8 over VHS-C. Other convenient features include stereo Hi-Fi sound (not included on similar models), manual focus control and large viewfinder (both difficult to find on modern compact camcorders), status display on the back of the LCD screen, various record button modes, back-illuminated VTR transport buttons, and infrared filter removal with infrared LED lamp.
It's hard to think of something I don't like about this camcorder, but one small thing is that you have to open the LCD panel to access certain controls, such as menu operations and exposure. This can be somewhat annoying when you primarily shoot with the viewfinder, but it is very common on all of Sony's camcorders. My only other complaint is the image sensor. While producing a camcorder that is capable of recording in Hi8 with extended resolution (XR), Sony's image sensor does not output this higher resolution, resulting in the image looking about the same in both Video8 and Hi8 modes. The only way to tell the difference is to record an external source through the input jacks onto the tape, but the image captured by the camcorder's sensor will look about the same in both formats.
When compared with other similar camcorders, the TRV65 is well worth it! Like I said before, many other camcorders do not offer the features that this one has, including a dedicated manual focus control, stereo mic jack, and stereo headphone jack. The one feature that sets this one apart from the crowd is its ability to record incoming signals to the Hi8 tape. This is great if you want to record off the TV or transfer your footage. You could even use this feature during a live shoot where this camcorder is used as a VTR. If you're considering a D8 over Hi8 - DON'T!!! D8 only gives you 1 hour of recording time and many do not use the Infolithium L batteries, which are long lasting and easy to find. Sony's D8 camcorders use a similar image sensor and DO NOT produce a far superior image to that of their Hi8 camcorders. The longer record times outweigh the slight improvement in picture quality that D8 offers. If you want pristine quality digital footage, buy a prosumer MiniDV camcorder. But if you're looking for an easy-to-use camcorder with great features at a great price, this is the one for you! I would definitely buy this product again.Read full review