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The Sony HDR-HC7 is a handheld camcorder that records high-definition video (1920x1080i) onto miniDV tapes.

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Pros

Good battery life (2 hours)

2 agree

Great video quality

2 agree

Good form factor

1 agrees

Configurable manual focus ring is useful

1 agrees
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Cons

Have to use Sony Memory Stick cards

2 agree

USB1.1 interface is crazy

2 agree

Small control dial

2 agree

Difficult menu system

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Edit

 

The Sony HDR-HC7 is a handheld camcorder that records high-definition video (1920x1080i) onto miniDV tapes. Part of Sony's 2007 lineup of camcorders the HC7 comes near the top of the line for the miniDV offerings. The cylindrical form-factor accommodates the large Carl Zeiss lens with 10x optical zoom. Similar to many modern camcorders the HC7 acts as both a video camera, and still digital camera. Images are captured using the 3.2MP CMOS sensor, with still photos stored on memory stick duo cards up to a resolution of 6.1MP, though this is achieved through interpolation. Controlling the camera is achieved through the 2.7" LCD monitor that is also a touchscreen and is used to navigate through the menus.

Specs
  • 10x optical zoom Carl Zeiss lens
  • 3.2MP CMOS sensor
  • up to 1080i video recording
  • miniDV tapes for storage
  • 2.7" LCD touch screen monitor, 211K pixels
  • Internal lens cover mechanism
  • Records video with x.v.Color (need a compatible TV to view)
  • Data ports: USB1.1, Firewire
  • Video ports: Component, S-Video, HDMI

Transferring capture video to a computer is accomplished through the USB1.1, or Firewire interfaces. USB1.1 is significantly slower than USB2.0 so keep that in mind if you don't have a Firewire port on your computer. You can also playback recorded material directly from the camera onto your television with the built-in video output ports.

The HC7 has a "dual record mode" where you can be filming video to the DV tape and snap a still picture at the same time that saves to the memory stick. A built-in flash is also available that is triggered automatically in low-light situations. In near-pitch black conditions the camera has a night-vision mode that records video in a monochromatic green.

A hot-shoe is found on the camera that lets you connect a light or microphone and uses a Sony proprietary form factor. The shoe offers both power and two-way communication between the camera and accessory, but accessories are limited to Sony-specific parts.

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