Handycam DCR-DVD403 DVD Digital Camcorder (3.31MP, 10x Opt, 120x Dig, 2.7" LCD) - Security Camera User Rating
Manufacturer: Sony
Model: DCRDVD403
Digital Zoom: 120 X
Optical Zoom: 10 X
LCD Screen Size: 2.7 in
Recording Media: DVD+RW|DVD-R|DVD-RW
Audio Support: 5.1 Surround Sound
Additional Features: Built-in Speaker|PC Connection|Touch Panel LCD|Viewfinder
Image Stabilization: Digital
Average User RatingAverage User Rating: Number of User Reviews: 6

Reviewed by: tuule from TX on May 16, 2005

Experience: 3 Days

Strengths: best camcorder

Weaknesses: n/a

Summary: This is the best camcorder I have, it is very small and has big performance. The quality of pictures are great. The battery is longer than other batteries of other brand name.

Reviewed by: dbaranda from CA on Apr 4, 2005

Experience: 10 Days

Strengths: User Friendly, ergonomics, and excellent low light capability.

Weaknesses: NO MEMORY STICK option which is very convenient for still photography. Price of the DVD media is still very high. I just found that the DVD is very difficult to remove from the camera.

Summary: (Edited April 15th by dbaranda) Overall, the DCR-DVD403 is an excellent camcorder for the price. The only part of the design which I really don't like was the power switch which is very hard to operate when hodling the camera on shooting position. Furthermore, it doesnt look like it would last long. I only had the camera for a couple of days and the power switch seem to be mechanically unstable now and it might break soon. Also, very difficult to remove the disk from the camera.

Reviewed by: Just1Poet from CA on Apr 19, 2005

Experience: 1 Week

Strengths: Very ergonomic and stylish design. Good low-light picture. Ease of use. Even doubles as a DVD recorder when used with a TV.

Weaknesses: On/Off/Mode toggle is a little flimsy. Certain controls are only available on the LCD touch-screen. 20 min recording capacity in high quality mode is a slightly limiting.

Summary: This is my first camcorder and I couldn't be more pleased. I had always been waiting for the DVD-R medium to develop and from what I've read and heard Sony has more or less perfected the technology with this 3rd gen offering. The DVD403 utilizes very well Sony's famous steadyshot and nightshot technologies. The 16:9 aspect ratio is perfect for those with widescreen TVs. The 3MP still shot feature allows the DVD403 to easily replace the average digital camera. My only real gripe is that I wish the DVD-Rs had a higher capacity but hopefully that will come with time (and only be a function of changing the DVD-Rs and not the whole camera).

Reviewed by: ptsiakk from AZ on Apr 27, 2005

Experience: 15 Days

Strengths: Excellent in low light situations, easy-to-navigate, excellent quality, still image quality superb. IT'S SONY

Weaknesses: media is limiting to 30 minutes / software needs improvement /optical zoom is only 10x

Summary: After an extensive research i got this camcorder, which is my first dvd camcorder and I am very impressed. The quality of the video it's fantastic. It is very easy to use. The playback is a piece of cake . You don't have to rewind and forward all the time. You just select the play mode and all the videos and pictures which you have taken are already there!! The software needs kind of improvement but that's not an issue for me.
This camera is a value for money. I 'd recommend it to everybody! You can't go wrong on this one!!!

Reviewed by: mukunth_raj on Apr 19, 2005


Strengths: 3CCD, excellent low light videos, easy play back of recorded video, touch screen, line in recording, wide screen

Weaknesses: Bundled s/w Picture Package needs a lot of improvement, the View finder is not tiltable like other models

Summary: I upgraded from my Sony Hi8 to the Sony DCR-DVD403 on 01 April '05 for $750 + s&h. I have been doing a lot of research on the different DVD models available in the market. 403 is the latest of all. Here are some Pros.
1. Has 3 CCD which means true-to-life color.
2. The 3 MP picture mode also delivers good pictures. (Though I have a 5 MP digicam, its still handy to know that 403 can take good quality digi pics)
3. The best of all that I like is the way you navigate through the recorded scenes. No more REW and FF's and no more accidental over writing.
4. Each recording session is stored as individual tracks. What this means is that you have smaller files to edit and manipulate. Which means less time consuming while editing.
5. The touch screen is another feature that I like. No messy buttons on the body like other models.
6. Watching video in wide screen looks good. Its compatible with normal TVs as well.
7. The line-in recording is super. I can convert any movie to a DVD.
8. It operates good in low light.

Now lets come to some cons.
1. The view finder, is always straight. I would have appreciated if it can be tilted up and down like other Sony Camcorders.
2. Mini DVD media is expensive. I work around this by having a few DVD-RWs.
3. The provided software, Picture Package, is a YUK. I never like it. You can use PP to only burn a MiniDVD on your camcorder. It cannot burn on my external DVD burner. Why would you wan to burn a MiniDVD? But one good thing about that is that the sound can be converted from 5.1 CH dolby to the normal 2 layer stereo. If you ask me why you want to do that, the answer is, if you want to use the MPEG with 5.1 CH Dolby on your other video editing s/w's like Photo Studio etc., you will not hear the sound. You need to convert the audio before using other s/w. I currently use PIXELA Image Mixer (This is provided for other older Sony DVD models) and its able to recognize the 5.1 CH sound. DVD encoding is also excellent in that software. If you can get a copy of that, then you need not use Picture Package at all.

Overall, The best DVD camcorder in market.

Reviewed by: NMR on May 14, 2005

Experience: 20 Days

Strengths: Excellent Video & Audio quality, 5.1 ch dolby digital audio recording using built-in 4 ch microphone, Good lowlight performance, ease of use, DVD media ease in playback, auto focus, stabilization

Weaknesses: Normal mode setting of micro-phone recieves wind-noise in breezy atmosphere as mic is very sensitive and powerful. Needs setting "LOW" mic ref level as provided. No other drawbacks found.

Summary: I have got PAL version (DCR-DVD803E) of this model few weeks ago. It has got the stunningly good performance with ease and convenience.

Briefly the Pros & Cons:

1. Convenience in playing back the recorded miniDVD in computer or set-top DVD players immediately after finalization.
2. 3M-pixel CCD Resolution (3.05M still and 2M video effective pixels)
(1/3 inch size CCD means better video quality)
3. Very good low light performance
4. No need of rewinding, forwarding for blank space search with miniDV.
5. No possibility of accidentally video getting overwritten as with miniDV (in case of overlook)
6. 16:9 recording (Wide)
7. 5.1 Channel Dolby digital surround sound recording and in-built 5.1 ch enabled mic.
8. Excellent still quality equal to digital camera of 3M
9. Can edit MPEG2 after downloading clips from miniDVD and finally record into bigger DVD.
10. Provided software does the conversion of audio from 5.1 ch to stereo for compatilbility with many softwares. Till 5.1 ch enabled encoding softwares are available, the miniDVD could be copied directly to 12cm DVD without loosing such audio performance for home theatres.
11. Did not get wind noise when recorder with Mic ref level as LOW in breezy or auditorium atmosphere.

1. DVD (MPEG2) format is not recommended over DV for extensive editing.
2. May need to change miniDVD's (30min SP) for recording more often than a miniDV tapes (1 Hr. SP). But, this is not an issue for most of us as we may take a logical break (Standby during unimportant scene) well with-in leass than 30 min to change the mini DVD.

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