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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

At First Blush

There will be more to come as I familiarize myself with my new toy.

At first blush, all I can say is that the dcr-pc109 is nice. First off, its extremely easy to use and quite intuitive, as long as you're using a Mac. There is a big selector switch on the back with which you can select the mode of operation. The top most position is off, switch it down once and it turns the camcorder on and selects Camera/Tape. From there the selector switch can be used to select the memory stick, for video recording or still photo's, or playback mode by moving the switch down.

Unfortunately, there really aren't any other positions other than the top most and one below it, its kind of a spring loaded mechanism. there are a set of LED's next to the switch that indicate the mode the camcorder is in and as I wrote earlier you move the switch down to select which one you'd like. The drawback is the completely non-intuitiveness of this switch. It's not what I expected right off the bat and I'd expect it wouldn't be what you'd expect either.

I've only used the camcorder with my Powerbook G4 so far and it was a breeze. I shot about 3 minutes of test footage and in the space of about 20 minutes I had imported the video to my powerbook, cut it into 4 clips, arranged the clips in a random order, added an audio track of music, and added an opening title. Let me reiterate, I did all of that in only 20 minutes!

There are a couple of major drawbacks however and at this point they are all hardware design based. One, the way in which you are required to hold the camcorder is awkward at first. The strap goes diagonally downward on the right side of the camcorder from about the middle rear down to the bottom front, which is just weird.

See the pictures on the Sony site for a better idea of what I am talking about. Second is the positioning of the Nightshot, lens cover, and zoom buttons. They're all on the right side front of the camcorder which is the same side as the strap and that requires using your pinky to operate these controls, that is, if you intend to use the strap; as is fixed on the right side of the camcorder. Which kind of sucks for me because I am much more comfortable holding it in my left hand. (Fortunately I'm ambidextrous.)

All in all, at this point I would definitely recommend this camcorder to any one who asked. Why? You might ask after giving the hardware an apparent thumbs down? Well simply because it has been completely straightforward to operate and unbelievably easy to incorporate into the rest of my digital lifestyle.

That being said, it would be prudent to mention that the majority of my life centers around the Apple platform. I cannot speak toward the compatibility of this camcorder and the windows way of doing things.

Besides, why would I want to do that!? If you aren't yet, do switch to the Apple Mac platform. If you are using a Mac then get this camcorder. Its so so sweet if you're an amateur on a budget.



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