Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sony DCR-VX2100 Camcorder Review

Sony DCR-VX2100 Camcorder Review

The Front (9.0)

The front of the DCR-VX2100 is laid out how a camcorder should be, with nothing but a lens and a microphone. At the front of the DCR-VX2100, towards the top, is the stereo microphone. It is placed quite well, attached to the upper handle, which is a good inch and a half from the camcorder body. It allows the on-camera microphone of the DCR-VX2100 to pick up decent sound - something that is rare in a consumer camcorder. Separating the left and right microphones is a recording tally light and the infrared receiver. Below the microphone is the lens which has a focal distance of 6.0 to 72 mm and a filter diameter of 58 mm.

The Right Side (8.5)

The most of the camcorder, the right side is very well laid out. At the top back of the right side of the camcorder, is the tape eject slider, which is on a round half moon that protrudes out about 1/4 in., for your hand to fall back onto when holding the camcorder in your right hand. Moving towards the front is the tape mechanism. In the top left of the tape mechanism, is a softer piece of grey plastic labeled push - it shows where you should push to put your tape into place. The tape mechanism is a little too sensitive for my tastes. The DCR-VX2100 is designed to be a 'working-shooter's camcorder' and should not be finicky. Unless you press exactly on the press button the tape mechanism won't close - I'm surprised that Sony's engineers haven't figured out a way to develop a tape mechanism where you apply pressure anywhere, and the tape will lock shut.

The Back (9.0)

At the top of the back of the DCR-VX2100 is the viewfinder. The viewfinder rotates up about 85 degrees. The eye cup on the DCR-VX2100 has been changed from the DCR-VX2000, and is now much bigger and really surrounds your eye socket. The viewable area of the viewfinder has been increased from .22 in. to .28 in. Below the viewfinder is the sony camcorder battery well, which is depressed inside the camcorder slightly, giving you room to put large sony np-f330 batteries and not have them protrude from the back of the camcorder, and getting in your way while shooting. To the left of the dcr-vx2100 battery well, is the memory stick slot. The left of the memory stick slot is a column of video picture element buttons. Going from top to bottom is the program Auto Exposure button, the Shutter Speed button, the White Balance Button, the Audio Level button and finally the jog dial button which controls them all. To the left of those buttons is another column of buttons. On the top is the silver shooting mode selector slider, which switches the camcorder from auto lock, to full manual, and manual hold. Below that is the menu button. The DCR-VX2100 has nice white guidelines on the back to illustrate the different buttons, and which other buttons they effect. To the right of the sony np-f330 battery compartment is the power dial, which switches from VCR, to Off to Camera to Memory modes.

I really like the layout of the buttons on the back of the DCR-VX2100, the fact that all these key picture elements, white balance, shutter speed and audio level are given real buttons instead of being forced into a menu is outstanding. Their placement in the back is great, it makes them accessible and easy to find.

The Left Side (8.0)

At the way back of the DCR-VX2100 is the 2.5 in. LCD screen which has an information window, which displays tape and battery information(7.4V(Compatible with 7.2V), 2300mAh, Li-ion .Dimensions: 71.50x38.00x20.50mm.Removable battery for Sony NP-F330 NP-F530 NP-F550). The LCD is locked into place with a small piece of silver looking plastic, which feels slightly flimsy to me. Opening up the LCD screen reveals a host of buttons mainly used for effects and memory card functions. There are effectively three rows. The first row has a display button, memory play button, memory index button and a round delete button. The second row has a data code button, minus and plus buttons, and a memory mix button. The third row has a title, digital effect, and picture effect button. Below the title button is a timed picture button for taking pictures with a delay. Centered at the bottom of the inside LCD area is a zebra pattern button which toggles the zebra pattern on or off. It can be set to off, 70 IRE or 100 IRE sensitivity. Towards the left of the inside LCD area is a half moon speaker.

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