Sony DCR HC42 ?

Discussion in 'Sony' started by John Russell, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. John Russell

    John Russell Guest

    The widescreen/normal switch is one of the few dedicated switch's on the
    John Russell, Jun 6, 2005
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  2. John Russell

    Craig Lister Guest

    Could anyone tell me if this is a good camera to get for family use? I'd
    like to be able to edit videos using firewire and then write to DVD. Don't
    think that has a baring on the camera though..

    Does the camera perform well in indoor night lighting as would be used in a
    lounge. Not pitch dark.

    And finally .. best price you know of in the UK ?



    Craig Lister, Jun 6, 2005
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  3. The HC39 - effectively the same model but without firewire/analogue in -
    seems reasonable. The indoor performance is nothing wonderful to write
    home about, but is pretty much par for a small (and relatively
    inexpensive) camera (a bit of noise etc). Certainly in "indoor meeting
    room" conditions I was happy with the performance. I'd only add that
    its strength is if you're filming widescreen format - where the wide LCD
    works well. For ordinary 4:3 format there may well be cheaper (similar,
    older?) models available still.
    David Pearson, Jun 6, 2005
  4. John Russell

    Craig Lister Guest

    Thanks for that.

    We're expecting a baby in September, so it's main use will be recording it's
    first few years. Widescreen is good, as I'd prefer that. I do do video
    editing so hence the HC42 is my best option right now, as I need the
    firewire in/out stuff....

    Can you recommend competition to this. Same functions, different model?

    Craig Lister, Jun 7, 2005
  5. Not really. I reviewed the small Canon models (830, 850 kind of thing)
    but preferred the feel, build quality (ie it feels quite solid, less
    plasticky) and handling of the Sony. I bought one for an organisation I
    work with so I don't actually have it so can't do you any demo material!
    David Pearson, Jun 7, 2005
  6. John Russell

    Craig Lister Guest

    Sounds good!
    On your words, I shall purchase! :)
    Found it for just under £400...
    Craig Lister, Jun 7, 2005
  7. John Russell

    Rod Bean Guest


    I have also been considering the HC42, but have recently been looking at
    the similar HC39, because Amazon have it on offer at £369.88, compared
    to £414.50 for the HC42 at Dixons on line. See:

    The main disadvantage as I see it of the HC39 is that the viewfinder,
    which you might want to use instead of the ‘large, bright’ LCD in order
    to conserve battery life, is only black and white. Would be very
    interested to hear from David (Pearson) about battery life when using
    the LCD and occasional zoom: I would be quite happy with say 1 hour. I
    would prefer not to use the viewfinder as I find the B/w viewfinder on
    my ancient current camera a real pain. I am also forever worrying
    whether the batteries will run flat: spare batteries represent extra
    bulk to carry around and are expensive.

    Can’t really advise re other makes, except that you might want to have a
    look at this month’s ‘Which’ (local library?) as it contains a report on
    camcorders. Their 5 year reliability survey (14,000 replies), found
    that Sony were best, Canon, Panasonic, Samsung middling, and JVC worst.
    They didn’t test the Sony ‘39’ or ‘42’, but the DCR PC109E was the
    best buy (‘£600’. Great video picture and sound quality’), with the
    cheaper DCR HC40ES (‘£480’) as a close runner up. Both models were
    rated 4/5 for image and sound. Typically for a new Which report, both
    these models have been discontinued. However, where available, they are
    still expensive. Other models tested were from Panasonic, Samsung, and

    So, decisions, decisions. I don’t really trust Dixons: read too many
    bad reports on the internet, but have always found Amazon a brilliant
    firm to deal with – fast, no quibbles about returning goods, and they
    refund any postage if there is any problem! So I suppose it will be the
    39 for me. Would be very interested to hear what you get and what you
    think of it!

    Best wishes with the baby - get some sleep while you still can !!!!


    Rod Bean, Jun 7, 2005
  8. John Russell

    Rod Bean Guest


    For some reason only just got your posting (below) , so the message I
    posted a few minutes ago is a bit superfluous. Where did you find the
    42 at sub £400? The cheapest I came across was Dixons.

    Rod Bean, Jun 7, 2005
  9. John Russell

    Charlie Guest

    I've been considering the HC42 too and have a question about the
    widescreen format. Does it mean that you can only record in widescreen
    or you can still record in 4:3 as well? I'm only interested in 4:3 at
    the moment - any recommendations for a sony that would do for only 4:3
    that's similar to the HC42 in features?

    I also noted from a website that the HC42 has a non standard cradle and
    it also has a proprietary mic/headphone slot so you can only use sony
    stuff with it.

    Any advice on the widescreen issue appreciated.

    cheers, Charlie
    Charlie, Jun 7, 2005
  10. John Russell

    Grumps Guest

    Grumps, Jun 7, 2005
  11. John Russell

    Tony Morgan Guest

    The reliability survey is, to a degree, meaningless, since no camcorder
    stays in production for more than 3 years (at best). The HC40 only hit
    the streets about a year ago and AFAIR the PC109E a little over a year
    ago. Sony seem to have a track record of replacing each model within
    about a year.

    Having said all that, my TRV30 is performing as well as on the day I
    bought it more than 3 years ago, in spite of relatively heavy use.
    Tony Morgan, Jun 7, 2005
  12. Two thoughts. First, one of our sports organisers managed to get a full
    hour's tape out of it in an evening on a football event, and the battery
    was still alive - and that was using the LCD full-time I'd guess. So
    about par - adequate but not a big battery. Second, the black and white
    viewfinder on the HC39 is a fair point. I too the view that (a) casual
    users such as my target user mainly use the LCD, and (b) arguably, a B&W
    viewfinder is better - sharper, better contrast - than a colour one.
    Look at pro camcorders and see how many have a colour viewfinder (he
    guesses - just in case one of the residents shoots me down). Certainly
    in my testing I didn't find the viewfinder a drawback.
    David Pearson, Jun 7, 2005
  13. John Russell

    Rod Bean Guest

    Thanks very much David. I see AJ Electronics have the HC39 at £354.99,
    compared to £449 in John Lewis, so am sorely tempted. All I need now is
    some tips on persuading the wife that it is an essential purchase !


    Rod Bean, Jun 7, 2005
  14. Naturally (and for the avoidance of doubt) I accept no responsibility
    for my comments - which I would strenuously allege were made under the
    influence of substances and circumstances various! But I have at least
    used the thing and critically reviewed an hour's footage shot by an
    inexperienced user (and it wasn't that bad). I'm waiting to see what
    they brought back from a trip to Epsom last Friday at the mo'... Me -
    I'll stick with another camera with more knobs - but I've been quite
    impressed by this little thing.
    David Pearson, Jun 7, 2005
  15. John Russell

    Craig Lister Guest

    Yup, that's he one...
    Can't find reviews, but if you buy on a credit card, you should be insured..
    Craig Lister, Jun 7, 2005
  16. John Russell

    Craig Lister Guest

    I think the 42 is quite a bit better, because of the LCD, the better
    battery, and the DV In AND out..

    I saw the 39 too, but seen too many people say the 42 is better.
    Craig Lister, Jun 7, 2005
  17. John Russell

    Rod Bean Guest

    Thanks for the comments guys. Sounds as if I should perhaps be going
    for the HC42. Off to (?) sunny Kent for a break shortly so will make a
    decision next week.


    Rod Bean, Jun 8, 2005
  18. John Russell

    Rod Bean Guest

    One last posting - have just come across this interesting and detailed
    US review of the HC42:

    Not sure how the HC42 differs from the HC42E, but I notice that the
    cheap deals in the UK seem to be for the HC42, indicating that they are
    not UK models. Will have to enquire further.

    Rod Bean, Jun 8, 2005
  19. John Russell

    Tony Morgan Guest

    The 'E' suffix indicates "European", aka PAL. No 'E' suffix indicates
    NTSC. Also those models with the 'E' suffix are covered by the
    European-wide Sony warranty. Non-'E' are not (the have to be returned to
    the US for warranty repairs.
    You should check that you are buying (in the UK) the 'E' version.
    Some retailers (especially Internet retailers) omit the 'E' - though on
    enquiry will confirm that they are indeed of the 'E' variant.
    Tony Morgan, Jun 8, 2005
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