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I bought a sony DCRPC103e for my Hubby - Is that good?

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by JuliaB, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. JuliaB

    JuliaB
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    Can anyone help me? I bought the Sony DCRPC103e for my Husband's surprise birthday pressie on recommendation from the Lady in Debenhams. I paid £640 for it. I have now looked up the spec and it doesn't use a "memory Stick" card only a mini DV tape. What's the difference? Why does a digital Camera need a tape and not a memory card? Does it matter if it doesn't have a memory card? Also it says max photo mode res is 640 x 480 yet it also says 1070k megapixel CCD. It only has "I link DV Output" yet I overheard my husband saying if he were to buy one it should have "firewire" or "USB2" at a minimum - Is that what a "I Link DV Output" is?
    I thought I was quite a techy bird until I ventured into the world of camcorders! Please help! I have ten days to either exchange it or keep it. I don't want to spend over £700. Thank you so much!:kisses:
    JuliaB
     
  2. owenw

    owenw
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    Hi JuliaB, welcome to AVforums.
    Ok lets see if I can answer some of your questions :)

    Memory Stick
    Some Sony camcorders can also take digital still photos as well as video. The memory stick is used to store the still photos. However, you can also store still photos on tape with 5 seconds of audio (don't ask me why!) There is a limit to the size of these photos 640x480 because of the video format . (It has nothing to do with the Megapixel spec - this refers to the number of pixels making up the CCD chip - more is better).

    A memory stick would let him save pictures at a higher resolution than the tape. Also the recording mechanism will get more wear and tear if he uses it to save a lot of photos to tape.
    The memory stick can also hold a few seconds of really poor quality video. It isn't much use to be honest IMHO.
    Memory sticks come in various sizes from 4Mb upwards.

    iLink/FireWire/IEEE1392
    iLink and FireWire are the same thing - a high-speed digital connection. Ideally you want an iLink IN/OUT option so that he can transfer the video to his PC, edit it, and transfer back to the camera with no loss in quality. This option for iLink IN usually costs a bit more than iLink OUT only cameras. This may cost more than £700 on a Sony camcorder, but is worth finding out. In my opinion this is the most useful thing on a DV camera. It also allows you to control the camera from the video editing software when capturing video.

    If he doesn't plan on saving the edited video back to the camera he doesn't need this. He might just want to record straight to a VCR or record a DVD of the final edit.

    USB
    USB (another digital link used commonly used in computers) is useful for transferring low quality video and is essential to transfer photos from the camera to the PC.

    There are others who can give you more technical info about the various aspects than I have.
     
  3. JuliaB

    JuliaB
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    Thank you Owen!:clap:
    You've explained things very clearly. We don't have a digital stills camera so maybe I should swap the camera for one that has a memory stick? Also not sure if he would want to edit and transfer back to camera but if it's as useful as you say that would be a good thing.
    Looks like the DCRTVR33 or the DCRPC105 have memory stick slots and DV in/out but they are £799.90 and £999.90 respectively in the Jessops Cat. I have.
    Anyone know any good websites I could get them cheaper?

    Thank you Owen once again!
    clown:

    JuliaB
     
  4. melliott1963

    melliott1963
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    Hi Julia,

    Sorry if this sounds condescending, I really don't mean to be, but, reading your quote above, can I ask what it is that you think you've bought? Were you after a digital camera i.e. something that takes still photographs, or a camcorder i.e. something that take movies you can watch on TV? If it's a digital camera, then I'm afraid you've bought the wrong thing! I suspect that, the fact your husband mentioned firewire, you did want a camcorder in which case you're OK!

    I agree with owenw on most of what he says, however, you can get Sony camcorders with both DV in and out for under £700, and this is where I'd like to point out the following. The Sony TRV33 (regular readers of this forum probably guessed this was coming) will give you both a memory stick, for still photos, and DV in and out. Whereas the DCR-PC103 is tall and thin, the TRV33 is short and fat, but still small and compact. It does get very good reviews, not that there's anything wrong with your DCR-PC103.

    Now the big question is, should you return the DCR-PC103 or not? It really depends on if you think you do need the memory stick and the DV in. Whatever you decide, it might be worth seeing if Debenhams do price matching. For example, on www.ajelectronics.co.uk (where I bought my TRV33) the TRV33 is being sold for £533 and the DCR-PC103 is £562, so you could take your camcorder back within the 10 days and see if they'll refund you the difference. If not, you could get a full refund and save yourself £78 by buying on-line (or more if you go for the TRV33).

    I'll end by saying that, if you decide to do nothing, don't worry, you have bought a good camcorder that I'm sure will give you good results.

    Hope this helps

    **EDIT**
    I see you've replied whilst I was composing this!. As I said, look at the web site I recommended - I got my camera from them within a couple of days of ordering. Having said that, Jessops will price match internet sites, as long as they are UK based, so you could go into Jessops with printouts and see what they'll do.
     
  5. JuliaB

    JuliaB
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    Thanks for the reply melliot,
    Did start off a bit condescending didn't it :mad: but I'll let you off as a) I was a bit of a muppet buying without checking first and b) the rest of the reply was great!
    To answer your first question, he wants a camcorder but since we didn't have either a digital camera or camcorder I thought I'd be "clever" and get something that did both. I looked at the cyber-shot DSCP10 but it was obvious a camera takes good stills but not so hot movies so I had to go for a camcorder.
    Looks like I ended up getting an overpriced camcorder from a girlie shop which doesn't do what I wanted it to do but does what he wants!
    So, I'll see if I can get a full refund and then go and buy the TRV33 from the website you mentioned or from Jessops with a price match deal.
    One last question though, the difference between the TRV33 and the PC105 is that purely cosmetic? (Am I allowed to admit that I bought the PC103 coz I lked the shape, Doh too girlie!)
    Thank you!
    JuliaB
     
  6. owenw

    owenw
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    Glad to be of help Julia :)

    I'd just like to add - The PC style camcorders like the one you bought look very cool and compact but are very difficult to keep steady because they are so small & light.
    The TRV model might be a bit heavier which will be helpful.
    If you look at Sony's semi-professional cameras most of them are also quite chunky.

    Also if your hubby is going to be editing on PC he probably won't use many of the cameras' built-in effects. They usually chuck in loads more the further up the price scale you go.

    BTW does anyone know a good site for buying weighted monopods (if thats the right term) for handheld use? I really want a Steadicam but they are a tad out of my range!! :D
     
  7. melliott1963

    melliott1963
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    Julia,

    Thanks for 'letting me off'! :blush:

    Again, I'm going to have to agree with owenw in that the TRV models, from what I've gathered, are a lot easier to hold and keep steady than the 'upright' types such as the PC ones.

    The still photos that the TRV33 produces are good, but don't expect to be able to print them out as large images. You'll probably be able to get away with 6 x 4, but anything above that will start getting 'blocky'. However, for displaying on a web page, they should perfect.

    To answer your final question. Specification wise, from what I can see, there's not really any difference between the two, but you are paying a premium for the PC105 because of the upright styling. Of course you can admit buying the PC103 because of the shape - no one will have a go at you for that. However, I think the TRV33 looks pretty good too!

    The best thing to do is try and hold both the TRV33 and the PC105 (if you're prepared to pay the extra for it) and see which feels the most comfortable.
     
  8. JuliaB

    JuliaB
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    Excellent - Thanks to you both - Right I'll go down the shops tomorrow and let you guys know what happens re Jessops price match and which one I opt for although I think it's looking like the TRV 33 from what you say. At this rate I'll know more about the camcorders then Hubby does :smashin: AND I'll have saved money too!
    Thank you!
    JuliaB
     
  9. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    The TRV33 stills are not too bad on up to A4 if you don't look too close:hiya:
     

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