The Sony TRV16 Handycam has a nifty status screen on the outside of the LCD screen module that lets you know how many minutes you've recorded or how far you've played a tape. It also tells you if there's a tape in the camcorder. The LCD screen swivels 210 degrees, which lets you record above your head, or put yourself in the picture. The optical viewfinder is black and white, which is not a real drawback since we ended up using the LCD screen for most of our shooting.
The Sony TRV16 Handycam lets you manually adjust focus and exposure; it also includes six programmed exposure modes, plus backlight compensation, to help optimize your video under different shooting conditions. It features a 180x digital zoom, great for getting closeups and recording faraway events.
We enjoyed Sony's full range of special effects, including the distinctive pastel, slim, and stretch picture modes. The TRV416 also provides widescreen, black-and-white, sepia, negative, and solarized modes. We liked the range of fade options, which included fade to black, mosaic, monotone, and a bounce-image effect.
The camcorder includes Sony's exclusive NightShot capability, which lets you shoot video in total darkness. The TRV16 emits an invisible infrared beam to light the scene. The resulting video is basically black and white, and usually lower quality than normal video, but being able to get decent images in complete darkness is nonetheless pretty amazing.
This camcorder uses the 8mm format, which means you can't play the tapes in your VCR; you have to connect the camcorder to your TV for playback.
- Ergonomic design
- NightShot capability
- Wide range of exposure settings
- Good selection of special effects
- Optical viewfinder is black and white