Sony DCR-PC350 review

£701
Price when reviewed

Sony’s DCR-PC350 is a true hybrid. Its 3.3-megapixel CCD is the highest resolution of any camcorder. Still images can be captured at up to 2,016 x 1,512, without any interpolation. Although Panasonic’s 4-megapixel-rated NVGS400B comes close, the Sony offers the best photography of any DV camcorder yet.

Sony DCR-PC350 review

In bright sunlight, the DCR-PC350’s video performance rendered colours accurately and resolved plenty of fine detail. The automatic focus and exposure appeared responsive, reacting quickly to changes of distance and shadow occlusion. Indoors, colours were similarly faithful, although there was a slight hesitancy in focusing and some grain evident.

Features are also extensive, although a couple of key capabilities are missing. Manual focusing is provided via a lens ring, and both nightshot and backlight compensation have their own controls. Otherwise, the DCR-PC350 falls back on its 2.5in touchscreen LCD. This offers some handy options, such as setting focus or exposure, by simply tapping on the spot you want to be used as reference. But there’s no manual shutter control and audio levels are automatic.

A microphone mini-jack is also absent, although the powered accessory shoe will accept a proprietary mic. The tape loads from the bottom, too, which will make tripod use difficult. These are surprising decisions when this camcorder includes enthusiast features such as progressive scanning and a 16:9 widescreen mode.

We like the PC350, but cheaper camcorders offer comparable video performance this month.

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