Any experience with the Sony DCR-PC330?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Ted, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. Ted

    Ted Guest

    I am thinking of buying the Sony DCR-PC330E, and I wondered
    if anyone can tell me whether the matchbox style of this camcorder
    is well balanced and is able to produce good steady video when
    hand held for long periods. Does the flip down handle bar help
    to get a good steady grip with this camcorder? What are your
    views on handling the DCRPC330?

    The placement of the microphone made me wonder whether it
    would pick up quite a bit of operator handling noise. Have you
    found this to be the case?

    One other question, I wondered how the Sony DCRPC330
    performs in low light conditions? It is a 7 LUX camcorder
    and I am interested to hear whether owners are satisfied
    with the low light results they have had from the PC330.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Ted, Feb 23, 2004
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  2. Ted

    Ted Guest

    I am not sure whether I posted this enquiry to the correct newsgroups.
    Is there a separate newsgroup for enquiries about camcorders?

    I have found 2 major reviews of the Sony PC330. The first is at:

    The second review is at:

    In the dvspot review, Jeff Keller found that there was no motor
    noise issue on this camcorder. This is reassuring, is this the
    experience of other users of the PC330?

    In the camcorderinfo review, Robin Liss said that the microphone
    on the DCR-PC330 is located in possibly the worst location.
    (It is located on the top of the camera, more towards the back
    of the camcorder than the front.) She said that you shouldn't
    expect to get any good audio out of it. I wondered if any user
    of the Sony PC330E could give their experiences on this point.
    Is operator handling noise a major issue when a microphone
    is placed on the top of a camcorder, rather than in the front?

    Robin Liss also said that the major problem with vertical style
    camcorders is that they are awkward to hold with two hands,
    making it hard to hold your camcorder steady. She concluded
    that you could hold the DCRPC330 in one hand for a good
    10-20 minutes (because it's very well balanced) though
    eventually the weight would get to you. I wondered if anyone
    could tell me whether it is possible to hold the DCR-PC330
    with two hands for longer periods of time?

    The low light performance capability of the DCR-PC330E is
    not regarded highly by Robin Liss who scored it as 11 out
    of 20 in her ratings, but she did say that the low light
    performance is "pretty good". Jeff Keller said that the low
    light performance was poor and that it was "worse than
    average". The Sony PC330 has a 7 lux rating, so would
    the low light performance be much worse than a camcorder
    with a 5 LUX rating?

    Strangely, Robin Liss preferred the Panasonic PV-DV953
    over the DCR-PC330 even though she conceded that the
    PC330 offered better stills and low light performance
    than the PV-DV953. It seems that the Sony's 3 megapixel
    stills are the best available on any camcorder.

    Ted, Feb 24, 2004
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  3. [...]
    I have not used this one, but with several other Sony models of this
    "upright" body-format, the sound has been very good, and with
    minimal pick-up of camcorder noises...
    I often wonder if RL actually uses the gear she reviews...;-)
    With careful placement of the two hands, I never found
    handling noise with this style Sony camera a problem - but
    it can be with the "horizontal" style, with the mic under the
    lens where a finger often wants to go...;-)
    I prefer two-handed use of these cameras - one hand in
    the comfortable place on the right, the other with fingers
    extended to just touch the body top and bottom (without
    the useless LCD panel extended, at least for daylight shooting).
    Not much worse, but certainly worse. These megapixel
    cameras tend to look very good to just short of their
    low-light limit; ones that go lower look worse as they
    approach their slightly lower limit (has to do mostly with
    pixel-count and chip size...).
    But "still" not very good - forget video cameras for taking
    stills, except for web-work (the stills tend to be noisy in
    resolutions above 640x480).
    David Ruether, Feb 25, 2004
  4. Ted

    Ted Guest

    Thanks David for your very useful responses to my questions.

    Yes, I think that Robin Liss could have said whether she actually
    experienced a lot of operator handling noise with her test videos
    or not. However, I guess she put us on alert that placing
    your fingers too near the microphone, which would not be hard to do,
    could give rise to unwanted sound. I think it is perhaps an exaggeration
    when she said that "in fact, you will LIKELY get more operator
    sound than you will subject sound" if she did not actually experience
    this for herself! This is why I was asking any owners of this camera
    whether they had experienced a large amount of operating noise
    because I was not sure whether RL had really found this in practice
    or not! I haven't so far found any owners of the DCRPC330
    complaining of this problem on internet.
    Yes, this is what I would prefer, but the design makes this
    approach not nearly as comfortable as handling the horizontal
    Sony TRV-80 for example. As mentioned above, you would
    also have to watch that your fingers did not get too close to
    the microphone. But one sales person said that the microphone
    was a long way down inside the camera, and it would not be
    that likely to pick up noise from the surface of the camera.
    But they wouldn't let me run a test tape through to try these
    things out for myself, and there is no return of the camera
    once you have bought it!
    The PC330 also has a colour slow shutter feature which slows
    down the shutter speed for use in low light, but keeps the colours
    normal, instead of providing green video, which is the case with
    the nightshot function. If the camera is placed on a tripod, I
    guess this would be a valuable feature to have, but I haven't
    found anyone who has tried this. Does anyone know whether
    the colour slow shutter feature works well in practice if the
    camcorder is on a tripod?
    I did take some test stills in the shop, and the ones taken outside
    were quite acceptable, but the ones taken inside seemed to lack
    the clarity I am used to from a dedicated digital still camera.

    Regards, Ted
    Ted, Feb 25, 2004
  5. [...]

    I find the "upright" form more comfortable to hold - the other
    "crinks" your right hand uncomfortably...

    It does not work well. If necessary, you can select a shutter speed
    manually that is slower than 1/60th, but not as uselessly slow as
    1/4 second. !/30th and 1/15th are usable, though both will
    reduce resolution some and increase "stairstepping" (alternate
    scan lines are removed). BTW, for infrared, select B&W mode
    to remove the icky color...

    Yes - but if you look at smooth-tone areas in even good light,
    the noise level is high at resolutions above 640x480 (NTSC).
    ANY still camera will do better...
    David Ruether, Feb 25, 2004
  6. Ted

    Ted Guest

    Under the slow shutter digital effect the Sony DCRPC330E has
    speeds of 1/25, 1/12, 1/6, and 1/3. From what I have now seen
    of some low light video taken with the DCR-PC330E, it produces
    good results even when I would regard the light as low. A 5 lux
    camcorder comparison showed that it was only when there was
    virtually no light at all, that the 5 lux camera just registered an
    image when the 330 (7 lux) could not "see" the image at all.
    But as soon as the 330 was set to "colour slow shutter", it
    produced a colour image of a painting on the wall that was far
    better than the 5 lux camera could do without reducing
    its normal shutter speed. So I think that, as long as there is
    any daylight at all, or some inside lighting, even a very low
    watt light bulb for example, then the 330 will produce a
    reasonable result with its normal shutter speed. After reading
    the reviews of the 330, I thought it would produce terrible
    video in low light situations, but this is not really the case
    in my limited experience so far! It seems that reviewers define
    "low light" as either candle power, or virtually no light at all!
    I still find it hard to tell much difference between the 330's
    3 megapixel stills and those taken on a dedicated 3 megapixel
    still camera. If I get time, I will put some comparisons on
    internet to get some comments from people who are more
    experienced than I am!

    Regards, Ted
    Ted, Feb 28, 2004
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