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86 Reviews
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127 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant camera for the price
I bought the camera a few weeks ago for to use on a trip to Disney Land. The camera was delivered the day before the trip so there was not much time to learn how to use it.I breezed through it and was on my way. If you own a GPS and or a computer you should have no problems sorting things out. I put in a Sony disk, pushed the Easy button and during the trip took two hours...
Published on February 26, 2008 by Bruce L. Borgesen

versus
51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Mac, nor anyone who wants to edit thier video
I so wish I could have given this 5 stars. I recently lost my previous Sony Camcorder [Model DVD92--also mini dvd recordable] and I loved it. I never expected this 610 one to suck so hard.

In general, what's great about Sony's dvd camcorders is that they really are easy to use and take great family videos. I agree with all the reviews that praise the user...
Published on June 8, 2008 by newly preggo


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127 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant camera for the price, February 26, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony DCR-DVD610 DVD Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I bought the camera a few weeks ago for to use on a trip to Disney Land. The camera was delivered the day before the trip so there was not much time to learn how to use it.I breezed through it and was on my way. If you own a GPS and or a computer you should have no problems sorting things out. I put in a Sony disk, pushed the Easy button and during the trip took two hours of pictures that are excellant. There is a format for fireworks that I used at Epcot that came out just great. Pictures that I took inside I was very happy with and are much better then the old VHS. I would advise buying a larger battery as well as the small sony battery charger. The charger that comes with the camera is so you can charge the battery through the camera is a rather long piece of wire with a box. My luggage was opened twice for inspection and I believe that was the reason.The 40x telephoto is nice but if you push it to far you will not be able to hold the camera steady enough. At least I can't. The only complaint I have is the same as the first review. If you put in a disk that is not Sony, Disney does not sell Sony, it reminds you of that fact every time you open the camera. All in all for the money i would highly recomend it.
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72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing at the price., February 23, 2008
This review is from: Sony DCR-DVD610 DVD Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
There is a brief learning curve for switching modes and such, and if you're not going to read the manual you should expect that things do not exactly turn out how you expect the first time you use it.

That being said, the optics are excellent, the digital zoom is excellent (though, as cautioned in the manual, at higher zoom levels you lose picture quality), and the camera itself is very solid. About the only complaint I have with it is that if the mini-DVD you're using is not Sony-branded, it has a little nag screen that last for a second, but disappears without any user interaction (you can probably get rid of that somehow, but I haven't bothered to find out).

You will want both a memory stick and DVDs for the camera. You will probably also want to buy a longer-lasting battery. Video at night is very possible, but if you're focusing on a distant object (such as the moon) you'll want to zoom out and back in if you've just adjusted your tripod, etc. - as the autofocus will sometimes judge the distance incorrectly, and lose focus.

Literally, those are the only bad things I can think of about this camera. :)
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hybrid technology makes this a cut above, May 24, 2008
This review is from: Sony DCR-DVD610 DVD Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
This is in effect a hard drive/ mini DVD recorder. Unlike many others the memory stick can record video. On some/most? other company's camcorders the SD card or what not can record only photos.

Without that cability it is still a fine camcorder. The touch screen is very easy to use and easy to learn, the video quality is very good, colors come out looking fine. But the video to memory stick is very nice. We have an 8gb memory stick. It gives roughly 2 hours of high quality video. Good enough for most situations where you are not on a multi-day vacation.

So you record video to the memory stick. Then connect to your computer via the USB port. A utility comes up with literally one touch copying to a DVD-R. DVD-Rs full size are very cheap. The memory stick works like an R-W disc. And 8gb for instance is much better than even a dual layer capacity. Works out to about 3 dual layer discs. So on most days you do not even need to buy DVDs. But on a vacation you have the flexibility of bringing as many discs as you want.

Finalizing discs does take sometime so it is nice to have 2 hours of capability without having to finalize. Recording straight to DVD we had no problem playing it back on a very old, at least 7 years DVD player.

I am giving it 4 stars because in the wide mode it seems to well widen people even when playing on an HD 16/9 set. Not sure if it is me or the camera but it is annoying.

Bottomline good camcorder with very easy to use and extremely useful hybrid recording.

Couple of updates after vacations. More pleased with the camera now. The video looked good with the exception of too much shake at high zooms. If you think you will be zooming a lot I would suggest one of those mini-tripods. Finalizing CDs took 2 minutes time after time. Not bad. Getting video from the memory stick onto full-sized CDs, not a problem.

Best of all because we were on a long-trip we went down from the highest video quality to standard to get more per tape. No noticable drop off on quality. Lastly on our 16:9 HD TV the width now comes out correctly. Colors were remarkably accurate, friends and family all commented positively on the quality.

As I mentioned though, the zoom does shake. So that brings me to my final advice. I bought this one over the 710 or 810 because of the higher optical zoom. But that is not as functional as I thought, at least without a tripod. The 710 and 810 have more pixels on the sensors and that should lead to better video quality. Something to think about. However very pleased with this little guy. Great results.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great camcorder for beginners!, April 11, 2008
This review is from: Sony DCR-DVD610 DVD Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I've never owned my own camcorder before, but THIS great device was TERRIFIC to start off with! My boyfriend kept saying, "I know you want a hard-drive camcorder, but this dvd one will be great for just recording small moments at the parties we go to -- It will help you get the hang of using video cameras before you move on to the higher-priced stuff."

I agree!

The camcorder comes with a "Tutorial Video Shooting" DVD that walks you through how to get the most out of your camera. It's pretty cheesey (especially the English version, wow), but whatever. :P I'm guessing it's translated from a different language? Haha.

Anyway, the zoom on this is AMAZING. It's like I can get MACRO shots while standing across the room!! Wow, right?! That was some high quality chin stubble (from the test shots I took, lol!).

It's always good to get a few starter mini-dvd's, just so you have more room to play around. That way, when you mess one up, you won't feel bad!

The camera is super-light, by the way. I only way 95lbs, and I'm definitely NOT athletic. But this was incredibly easy to operate! I wanted to get something small and portable, so this is definitely a great option for me.

Oh, and the "night-shot plus" mode is awesome! It takes good low-light shots with the normal settings, but you can set your camera to brighten up the shot with the touch of a button, or switch the "night shot plus" mode on! It takes video in ABSOLUTE DARKNESS. It's like NIGHT mode. It's intense. I turned off all of my lights and tested it out (complete darkness), and it lit everything up like magic! It doesn't use an actual LIGHT, so you can definitely creep around in the dark and test it out. LOL.

You can film your FRIENDS in the dark. Haha.
I definitely wanna' use this at parties!

Right now, I'm looking into getting the starter kit on Amazon (it comes with a battery, a carrying case, a DVD+RW and DVD-R disc-set. The battery alone costs over $50, so the prices you can get through Amazon are amazing! I'll need a tripod too (which I'm also working on getting!).

I suggest picking up these items as well as a wall-charger for your battery (just in case you plan to go out and need to charge your extras!). :D

Thanks Sony for making such great products!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow .. what a great camera!, May 22, 2008
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony DCR-DVD610 DVD Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I can't believe how quickly I learned how to use this thing. It helped when I figured out the LCD screen was a "touch screen". Duh! The quality of the recordings is very crisp. My son's band concert was amazing. Can't believe how sharp the video is and how clear the sounds.
Only thing that took some getting used to was finding a smooth position to hold it so the pic doesn't jump. This is because the unit is small and tends to move when you reach for the zoom. I'm guessing this is common with all hand-helds, though.
Finalizing a disc to be ready for regular DVD Player use was simple and quick. 2 minutes for a full 30 minute disk. Automatically makes a menu of all of your segments. (everytime you stop and start, it's a new segment) I HIGHLY recommend this point and shoot video cam.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the price, excellent, July 14, 2008
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This review is from: Sony DCR-DVD610 DVD Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I purchased this camcorder a few days ago for my dad, I must say I am quite impressed with it. I compared the Canon DC310/320, Panasonic VDR50, and the Sony 610/710. I went to the store biased in favour of the Canon based on the specifications alone. But what a huge disappointment the canon cameras were. They look cheap, the plastic is cheap, the buttons are flimsy, the buttons next to the screen were tiny and the on screen info was not clear at all. Canon's design department needs to wake up, I have tried quite a few canon entry level/mid range products in the recent past and have come up very disappointing with design and build quality. To make things worse, there was noise all over the place, indoor light wasnt great, but the dark carpet had light green and red spots all over on the LCD. The zoom action was quick. The one aspect where Canon trumps is that it has optical image stabilization, not found on the sony. This is a huge help when you go closer to the telephoto end of things, its impossible to keep the sony still at telephoto.

The Panasonic looked much sleeker than the Canon, had a nice feel to it, felt a tad heavier as well though, some might find it a bit heavy for its size. The screen looked sharp, the menu system was ok, everything seemed just about fine. But the colors seemed a tad unnatural, and slightly over saturated. I tried to go fiddle with the settings, but I could never get the colors to look natural.

The Sony has a very appealing design, the materials look of high quality, the fit and finish is excellent. Power up is quick, the touch screen is very responsive and so much easier to use compared to the dot sized rocker switch on the Canon. The LCD was sharper, the colors were natural although a tad dull looking (never a bad thing, you can always add saturation later depending on your subject). The camera gains up and down really quickly based on the lighting conditions. Indoor focussing speed is not very good, but it gets there. Quick movements can lead the video to just get out of focus. Nightshot plus is useful only when there is very little light, otherwise it over exposes like crazy. Even if you have bulbs or stuff indoors, you can manage without nightshot plus.

Outdoors video is fantastic, I couldnt see many compression artifacts, details were there, I could make out the leaves on the tree clearly, the colors werent bleeding (A major issue with a previous samsung dvd camcorder i tried). I tried the Memorex DVD-RW format disc and it worked fine. Format takes 6-8 seconds (which is quite fantastic IMO). Finalizing the disc took more than 6 minutes. Not sure if this was because of the media. I will try other discs and see if I see any improvement. One annoying thing with this camera is the pop up message that shows up with you insert a non-sony disc. This can be very misleading since its pretty much just blatant advertising on sony's part saying "Use Sony Media". But it goes away in a few seconds. Ppl might think its an error or that other brand discs are unusable. Another thing is the clever marketting of battery life on the box stating "9 hrs" in a big font and below that in ultra tiny fonts it says "Using F__100 battery, with LCD off). The battery that comes with the camera is the F__50 that manages about 90 minutes of recording time. These sort of marketting schemes are sometimes why I get irritated with Sony. But nevertheless, the product is good. If you are looking for a DVD camcorder in the 300$ range, this is the one to get. If you want a marginal improvement in video quality, the 710 offers a slightly boosted pixel count. I didnt get to see both on a television screen so I cant tell you how much of a difference there is, but on the LCD screen I couldnt tell the difference, which is why I settled for the 610.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great video. Easy to transfer to PC, June 18, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony DCR-DVD610 DVD Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
This is a great camcorder. I use the highest quality and the videos have very good quality. Transfering the videos to the computer is very easy, just set the camera in USB mode, connect cables to camera and PC using the USB cable provided and copy the mpeg files to your computer. One file is created everytime you start and stop recording which makes it easy to create a DVD menu.

Another feature that I like is the ability to record video either using the mini DVDs or memory stick. I bought a 4Gb memory stick and I am able to record 59 minutes of video in HQ mode. I went on a trip to London and carried mini 3 DVDs which I didn't have to use. Every night I would transfer videos to the laptop in the hotel and start with 59 minutes of video the next day.

One thing I didn't like about the camera was the battery. It should last longer so I bought another with more capacity.
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51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Mac, nor anyone who wants to edit thier video, June 8, 2008
By 
newly preggo (Long Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sony DCR-DVD610 DVD Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I so wish I could have given this 5 stars. I recently lost my previous Sony Camcorder [Model DVD92--also mini dvd recordable] and I loved it. I never expected this 610 one to suck so hard.

In general, what's great about Sony's dvd camcorders is that they really are easy to use and take great family videos. I agree with all the reviews that praise the user friendly just pick-it-up and use it accolades. This review really has to do with what you do with that content and how IMHO the newer model is not an improvement over the older one.

The 610 Sucks because:
-Finalizing a mini dvd on my old one took 30 seconds, this one 7 min! [WTF?!?]
-On the mac, in order to edit the content you need to first rip the dvd with a program like handbrake and then hope imovie imports it with the chapters. A long and tedious process. I was told that the usb port could import the movie content on this 610 model directly-not true!-it shows up as a finalized disc, not a hard drive that you can drag/drop from.
-The screen on my old one was actually better, this one has a lot of glare.
-I could flip the screen so my toddler could see herself on the DVD92 while I looked thru the viewfinder. On this one it does not seem you can use the viewfinder and screen at the same time.

Hope this helps! I am returning this one and trying the Sanyo xacti 1000.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was looking for., March 23, 2008
This review is from: Sony DCR-DVD610 DVD Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I wanted a camcorder for my family and this one is exactly what I wanted. Its small, easy to hold. I have a 10 month old and I love the videos that we have made. These movies will bring back great meomories for us. The only thing I would change is the battery life. just need to buy a better battery. and the movie disks only record for 30 mins well a little over that but I would want a longer time. The picture quality is amazing and well worth the money. One thing I recommend is to wait a little while before you buy it. The price of the camera has lowered twice since I bought it a month ago. Also you need to buy a carring case for the camera. Its a great camcorder.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sony Handycam - Wonderful Choice, May 31, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony DCR-DVD610 DVD Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
Purchased the handycam for family videos as our current digital camera takes subpar videos (especially when you zoom-in during filming). The Sony handycam is easily used right out of the box. The external mechanical buttons/levers are limited and intuitive. The touch screen display drives disc and memory card formatting and other video/picture nuances that are on "auto" unless you change them. I've added a photo memory card which is a nice option at parties and trips. Filming is very easy and the compact disc can be popped out at anytime for viewing in a DVD player (easily mailed to grandparents for their review as well). I have not processed or printed from the picture card yet. The camera's zoom is very smooth and nice. At the max 40x optical zoom the video has a slight shake, even when your hand is not. The camera is very light and easily held in one hand. The viewing screen is more than adequate. I would recommend the camera bag and extra battery combo pack for around $60. Sony's discs are a good buy as well. Overall, nice piece of equipment, good quality videos, and intuitive to use. As other reviewers have noted, the manual is limited, but honestly is not needed.
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