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  • Sony DCR-HC38 MiniDV Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom
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Sony DCR-HC38 MiniDV Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom

by Sony
| 6 answered questions

Available from these sellers.
  • Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens; 40x optical/2000x digital zoom
  • 1/6-inch Advanced HAD CCD imager
  • 2.5-inch touch-panel SwivelScreen LCD display
  • NightShot Plus technology and Super SteadyShot picture stabilization system
  • USB streaming; i.LINK DV interface
2 new from $519.99 8 used from $117.00

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Technical Details

Product Description

Product Description

Sony DCR-HC38 MiniDV Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom

From the Manufacturer

Simple controls and crystal clear quality let you call the shots with the DCR-HC38. Features like Super Steady Shot image stabilization and NightShot Plus technology make sure your video looks stunning and clean as you record to a MiniDV cassette (sold separately).

DCR-HC38 Highlights

1/6-inch Advanced HAD CCD imager The 1/6-inch Advanced HAD (Hole Accumulation Diode) CCD with 340K effective pixels provides stunning detail and clarity with exceptional video (up to 500 lines of horizontal resolution) and still image performance.

MiniDV recording Offers up to 500 lines of horizontal resolution, 3x the color bandwidth and a significantly higher signal-to-noise ratio, to provide spectacular video performance.

40x optical/2000x digital zoom The optical zoom helps to bring the action close up from far away. In addition, the digital zoom interpolation means that extreme digital zooming is clearer, with less distortion than previous types of digital zooms.

Professional-quality Carl Zeiss Vario- Tessar lens Carl Zeiss lenses have an advanced optical multi-layer coating that offers less glare and flare with increased contrast. This results in vivid image brilliance, true-to-life color saturation, and perfect renditions of subtle tones.

Super SteadyShot picture stabilization system Picture stabilization system that uses motion sensors to detect and compensate for camera "shake" without compromising picture quality like some other digital stabilization systems.

2.5-inch touch-panel SwivelScreen LCD Display (123K Pixels) Provides excellent viewing clarity with improved resolution. The high-resolution 123K-pixel LCD screen rotates up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles and provides sharp, detailed images for monitoring or playback.

USB streaming Stay connected to family and friends by broadcasting live video with audio over the internet using the USB interface. You can even play back your favorite recorded scene on the camcorder's tape. It's like having your own video conferencing system .

i.LINK DV interface A digital, high-speed bi-directional interface which provides communication between two compatible A/V devices. This connection allows for pure digital transfer between devices equipped with an IEEE1394 interface, such as camcorders, digital VTRs, capture cards, and PCs.

InfoLithium battery with AccuPower meter system Charge the battery at any time because unlike NiCad (Nickel Cadmium) batteries, Sony's rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries are not subject to a life shortening "memory effect." Sony's exclusive AccuPower meter displays the battery time remaining in minutes, in either the viewfinder or on the LCD screen.

NightShot Plus infrared system With Sony's NightShot Plus infrared system, you can capture natural looking video, even when shooting in low light. Record subjects up to 10 feet away using the built-in infrared system, but without the overall monochrome color common with earlier low-light recording systems.

Manual focus Allows the user to manually adjust the focus of the camcorder using the touch panel. Manual focusing also allows the user to control the focus in difficult situations where either the environment or the subject does not allow the camcorder's auto focus to perform optimally, such as when shooting through a window or in a crowded environment.

On-screen zoom and record controls For additional control of the camcorder, the DCR-HC38 features zoom and record buttons on the frame of the LCD screen. This allows the user more flexibility when holding the camcorder, especially in overhead or low-angle shots.

Stamina battery power management system Using the optional NP-FH1000 InfoLithium battery, the DCR-HC38 can continuously record for up to 14 hours (viewfinder) or up to 12 hours (LCD) on a single full charge, providing extra-long battery life.

Scene Selection modes Scene Selection modes make recording easy even when filming in challenging situations. Choose from Beach, Candle, Fireworks, Landscape, Portrait, Sports Lesson, Spotlight, and Sunrise & Sunset.

Picture Effect modes Get creative when recording or playing back your videos with Sony's Picture Effect modes. Effects available in Camera mode: Mosaic and Pastel. Effects available in Playback mode: Monotone, Negative Art, Sepia and Solarize.

Easy Handycam button Using a camcorder can be intimidating for some people, so with a press of the Easy Handycam button, most of the advanced features of the camcorder are "locked out," leaving only the buttons essential for recording operational.

Product Details

  • Item Weight: 0.2 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.
  • ASIN: B000M3LUPO
  • Item model number: DCR-HC38
  • Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required.
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,512 in Camera & Photo (See Top 100 in Camera & Photo)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: January 1, 2007

Read about our customers' top-rated camcorders on our review page: Camcorders

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

It works great and provides good quality.
The mini dv "tape" got stuck in the camcorder and would not eject rendering it useless and too expensive to repair.
If possible find a sony approved local service tech.
Closeted Bookworm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Ian May on February 28, 2007
I have had a sony Hi-8 Camcorder for ten years now, and was genereally pleased with it. However, I wanted to go digital. I didn't want to spend too much money, certainly not on my first digital venture. I did a lot of online reading, and got the impression that HDD cameras didn't perform too well, and mini DVD limits your time, so went for miniDV.

I have had the camera just over a week at the time of writing.

Pros: Good clear image. Audio Quality. Nightshot Plus. Ilink. Small size. Ease of Use. 40x Optical zoom.

Cons: Sony Accessories, particularly batteries are far too expensive. I shall be looking for 3rd party sources. No headphone jack. No accessory shoe. Cannot control playback except via touch screen LCD. No firewire cable supplied. Cannot charge batteries off camera without purchasing a seperate charger.


It comes with some basic editing software on CD, but I cannot comment on this, as I have Adobe Premiere 1.5, and I am using this with no problem at all. If you want to transfer your video into your computer, you need a firewire cable. Usually for a PC you need a 4 pin to 6 pin one. You can buy them on Amazon MUCH cheaper than the local stores, so I recommend ordering one if you decide to buy the camcorder.

All in all, I am pleased with it so far in terms of video and audio quality. One annoyance. If you buy another battery, you also need to buy a charger, as the power supply you get with the camera will only charge the batteries whilst they are in the camera. This isn't much use if, for example, you want to charge a battery at home, while you use a fresh one outdoors. The extra chargers are around $40, as well as the cost of another battery of course. By the time you buy an extra battery, that off-cam charger, a case, a couple of filters, and a firewire cable, you can almost double the cost of the cam itself!
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Art Vandelay on April 14, 2007
I agree with the first review posted here for the most part. I will add that I have tried the software and was not impressed. First, upon installation I received an error message that said the software was not Windows certified, and that the installation could cause my system to become unstable. Well, it did. After installation, my system crashed on a daily basis. I have sensed uninstalled and contacted Sony. They basically said it doesn't matter that it is not Windows certified because it is Sony certified. Alrighty then. Once I uninstalled, the crashes stopped. Will be looking for 3rd party SW to use. It also worth noting that the camera is equipped with a USB port, which I was told at Best Buy could be used for downloading video to your PC. The cable is not included of course. When I did have the software installed, it did not recognize the camera when hooked up to USB port. In the PDF and hardcopy manuals included, the USB interface is poorly documented. In the chapters where it mentiods the IEEE interface, it says this must be used to download the video. Does not mention USB as an alternative. When I took it back to Best Buy for answers, it even stumped the Geek Squad. According to Sony, you have to select the USB Stream function on the on the cameras integrated menu. I still cannot get it to work after following Sony instructions. Usually, USB ports on a camcorder are reserved for downloading still shots on cameras that have a slot a for flash memory. The HC38 has no such slot. They should have left off the USB port and put in a mic/earphone jack. Plan on installing a firewire capable expansion card if you don't have one and forget any ideas of downloading via USB.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Eric Radman on January 1, 2008
I purchased this camcorder to replace my 8yr old Sony Hi-8 video recorder as the Sony was failing. I also wanted to "digitize" my videos
so I could download onto my computer and back them up via DVD. I read that mini-DV tapes were the best value for recording, so I opted for this unit.

This is a very average, easy to use camcorder. Controls are easy to understand. All play or record controls are on the LCD. Here's my assessment:

* Image quality is fair- no better or worse than my older Sony unit. Being a digital camera, I expected the image quality to be much improved.

* Image quality under low light is fair to poor. Very grainy and sometimes hard to see.

* Convenient "Backlight" button is very useful. If you are filming a subject with a bright background, the camera's aperture senses the bright light and gets smaller- causing the subject to appear dark. This backlight button will open up the aperture and allow more light in-- providing a more balanced light on the subject.

* There is no easy way to "date-stamp" your videos. On my older camera, I could push a button and it would show the date & time on the video. This is a very useful option. To put a date stamp on the HC38, you must go thru a menu of items on the LCD. This is inconvenient when filming.

* You can NOT download videos from the camcorder to a computer without a firewire port on your computer. This is a major limitation as other camcorder mfgrs don't have this restriction. The camcorder does not come with firewire cables. You have to purchase them separately.

* Image stabilization seems to work well.

* High level Zoom isn't very stable. Don't expect to get stable videos using the 40x zoom

If you want a very easy to use and very average camcorder, this is it.
Do your research. For the money, I think there are better camcorders on the market than this one.
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