Sony DVD 203E experiences

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by jomike, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. jomike

    jomike
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    Have been reading some of the posts here and realise that there seems to be a lot of confusion and misinformation re DVD camcorders. These are my experiences with the Sony DVD 230E.
    I bought the camcorder in July 2005. This is the first camcorder I have owned, and I decided to go the DVD route for ease of use. I looked at the Sony 403E as well, but this was out of my price range. I mainly needed the camcorder to record memories of a trip to South Africa. I also bought 3 -RW Emtec 8cm DVDs. The DVDs hold 20 mins of HQ video.
    As I don't have a DVD drive yet, I transfer the movie clips from the camcorder to my PC using the USB port and the (rather clunky) Sony software that comes with the camcorder. As my PC has no USB2 ports, this is on the slow side. (20 min of video takes +- 20 min to download). If I had a DVD drive, I would finalise the DVD and then copy the clips from the DVD, much faster. I then reformat the -RW DVD and use it again. I use a native MPEG editor (Womble MPEG Video Wizard) to edit the downloaded clips. This is quick, and because the software does not re encode, no loss of quality occurs when saving the edited clip. No editing is possible in the camera itself in video mode. The quality is DVD quality and IMHO quite acceptable for playback on a TV or PC. I have also made some SVCDs (using TMPGEnc) which are also of passable quality. You can set the camcorder for 16:9 or 4:3.
    To answer some of the criticisms of DVD camcorders:
    Expensive media - I reuse the same 3 8cm -RW DVDs over and over. They are coming down in price as well.
    Hard to edit clips - valid for in camera editing. Once the clips are transferred to a PC, same as any other video clips.
    Low quality video - Matter of opinion. If you are producing documentaries for the BBC sure, but for home video, DVD quality is IMHO OK. The Sony 403E has had some good reviews in this area.
    To sum up, I am very happy with the Sony DVD203E. For home use it is very easy to use and can give good results in combination with some decent editing software (not the bundled Sony software). I really like Womble MPEG video Wizard. It is easy to use and it's fast.
    Any other Sony or other make DVD camcorder owners to share their experiences, good or bad?
     
  2. vonhosen

    vonhosen
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    Each to their own jomike & what suits your purpose best.

    I would say that for me (in answer to your answer of DVD criticisms)

    I like to keep my original footage. Every bit of recording I do is retained on the original used once tape for future use & storage. 3x 20min DVD against a single 1hr DV tape doesn't cut it for value or ease of use for me.

    Yes Womble MPEG editor is supposed to be very good , it does do some re-encoding in certain circusmtances, such as around transitions you'd add etc. But good MPEG editing programs are limited also being few & far between. Most NLE programs are based around the DV market, particularly the more feature rich & versatile programs.
     
  3. jomike

    jomike
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    Hi Vonhosen

    The point I was trying to make is not that DVD is better than DV (yet), but a viable alternative. A quick search on google turned up 10 8cm -R DVDs for £4.49. I'm pretty sure that will still drop further and storage density will rise Also from a practical point of view, pop the DVD into the player, up comes the menu with thumbnails and file names of your clips. Much easier than shuttling a tape back and forth trying to locate a clip.

    Yes, Womble does reencode if you do fancier things, but for straight cutting and pasting clips together, it doesn't seem to do any.

    Regards

    Mike
     
  4. lurcher

    lurcher
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    Mike ,
    Just for your info -r discs can be bought for about 20p each thats buying a tub of 25.
     
  5. jomike

    jomike
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    Cheers Lurcher

    Thats 1p a minute. Puts the cost aspect into perspective

    Mike
     
  6. lurcher

    lurcher
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    At 20p each I dont mind giving them away to my pupils.
     
  7. vonhosen

    vonhosen
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    Yeah if you don't want to do much in the way of editing (video & sound) or fancier DVD authoring then there is a market for them, I'm not saying there isn't.
    Point, shoot & let it do your menus ready to be played on your DVD at home will be very appealing to some.

    But if you do want to do more with your footage, DV is a more attractive proposition from my perspective.
     
  8. jomike

    jomike
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    I see that double sided 8cm DVDs are now coming out as well. At 40 min a DVD we are starting to approach DV tape storage capacities (at the inconvenience of flipping the disc over at 20 mins).

    I have been filming the fireworks tonight and have found some strengths and weaknesses of the Sony DVD203E.
    The weakness is that the autofocus cannot cope with fireworks. I managed to manually focus to get some decent footage, but this is very fiddly to do.
    The strength is the IMO very good sound recording. The loud bangs are recorded without distorting.
    Has anyone else been filming fireworks and how did they come out?

    Regards

    Mike
     
  9. Pinoy

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  10. jomike

    jomike
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    Depends what you call fancy DVD authoring. Although I have only been doing this for 4 months now, and regard myself as a newbie, I have done some adding in of sound tracks, adding in stills then producing a SVCD (because I don't have a DVD burner yet - soon to be rectified) of decent home movie quality IMO. Also my earlier post of shooting fireworks shows that you can do a bit more than just point and shoot with a bit of effort. I do however realise that probably 90% of these cameras are used as point and shoots, and that is what they are mainly aimed at.
     
  11. jomike

    jomike
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    Thanks Pinoy, still a bit pricey. I am also eyeing the hard disk cameras for when I outgrow this one (and they become more affordable)
     

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