Need Sony DVR-PC4E camcorder advice!

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I'm a total novice on this and just purchased my 1st camcorder - a 2nd hand Sony DVR-PC4E. Now I don't really know a lot about camcorders and was hoping you guys could help me out a tad with the following questions......sorry if their a bit basic, but I've been reading all night and everything I read seems to assume a certain level of competance before you start!
1. Is this cam any good? I've read spec sheets and the like, but I can't find a proper review anywhere!
2. I believe it has a firewire port, so does this mean I can transfer my recordings direct to my PC via firewire or will I still need a capture card?
3. If 2 is correct, then is there any degredation in image quality by using firewire?
4. I'm off for a wedding in South Africa at xmas, so will the heat be a problem, and if so then in what way?
5. I'm hoping to burn my recordings to DVD, so would this be a matter of recording in AVI and then converting to MPEG when it's on the PC?


Hi there,
I can't help on how your camera performs but from the tech sheets, it does have firewire out (only). If you have a firewire port on your pc then you can capture with whichever software you chose (the advice on this forum is stacked with it! just pick a thread).
Because of the way dv is recorded to tape (ones and zeros), a copy via firewire is an exact copy so no degredation!
Your trip to SA should prove no problem to this camcorder, just watch out getting it wet ( the usual with any electrical device). If you can, buy a spare battery or 2. They always run out just when you need them most. It should also be compatible with South African tv (the "E" on your camcorders model means PAL)
As to the last question, again I'd go through any of the threads here, Ulead is a very good choice for capture/edit and burn to DVD.
Hope this helps


1. Sorry, but its a long time since I was last looking at the camcorders that are available. If its any help I would say that Sony make the best cams and as long as it has the features you require you should be more than happy with it.

2. All digital camcorders should have a firewire port, and yes yours does. Therefore you can coonect it via a cable to a firewire port on your PC. If you don't have firewire on your PC then you can add an internal card with f/w on that will cost you about £10. This card should be supplied with a 6 pin to 4 pin f/w cable or you can buy one for around £10 if you already have the ports. Plug in your cam, power it on and start the software and you'll be off and running.

3. A DV cam records in digital, firewire is also a digital link onto a PC that is digital. At all times your video footage stays digital. Therefore there will be no loss of quality.

4. Heat should not be a problem for the cam, but be careful of humidity. Keep the cam in a closed bag when outside but not in use and never leave the tape door open for any length of time. When in your hotel then remove the battery and tape and leave the tape door open and stand the cam close to the air conditioning, but not in a direct draft and well out of sun light.

5. When you copy yor footage to the PC it will be recorded as AVI. You can then edit it and add transitions, titles etc. You will then convert it to MPEG-2 for DVD and add chapters and a menu. this can all be done in Pinnacle Studio 9 or Ulead Video Studio/DVD Movie Factory.

Make sure you always carry plenty of tapes and as suggested at least 1 spare battery.


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