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Digital 8 Camcorders - Review of Sony’s Digital8 Camcorder

video shots analog tapes

Sony’s Digital8 camcorder allows consumers to keep their old analog recordings. It is even possible to convert analog recordings to a digital format with the A/D conversion option of the Digital8. That’s part of the good news about the relatively inexpensive camcorder.

Another plus for the Sony camera is the name brand. Sony is synonymous with reliability and quality. For those with the need, the Digital8 camcorder is also compatible with 8mm/Hi8 formats. With the exception of the European market, Digital8 camcorders feature analog video in/video out connections. That means analog videos can be converted to digital if the source has S-video or RCA output. Another plus is the cheap price tag making the Digital8 camcorder a good choice for beginners or those with some experience in shooting video. Along with the 20x optical zoom, the time-lapse and stop-motion modes on the Sony camcorder are also excellent features.

Other reasons to purchase the Digital8 camcorder include the uber-cheap ticket price for a solid camcorder, a powerful zoom lens, USB streaming and a USB webcam setting. It also has a reliable battery allowing for 10-12 hours of shooting without needing a charge. Another positive point is money saved on the less expensive tapes. For those who own a Hi8 or 8mm camcorder, the Digital8 might be a good choice. It is basically a hybrid camcorder with digital video recording features. But, it offers playback compatibility to older format tapes like 8mm. It is also compatible with several desktop video editing programs. The camcorder is fairly easy to use without wasting time reading through the instruction manual. Extra interesting features of the Digital8 camcorder include infrared modes called NightShot and Super NightShot. The settings produce cool greenish shots captured in complete darkness.

Some of the bad news includes the bulky size of the Digital8 Camcorder. The bottom loading tape is awkward and it’s also bigger than miniDV camcorder tapes. The camcorder uses a black and white viewfinder compared to most new models using color. For still shots, the Digital8 tends to produce mediocre quality photos. Outdoor still photos are satisfactory but indoor photos appear to be fuzzy on the edges. With some luck combined with using all the brightest lights possible, indoor shots are often usable. The chances for a decent photo are better for close-up shots. In other words, Digital8 doesn’t work the greatest doubling as a camera for still shots; it performs much better functioning as a video camera.

The bottom line on the Sony Digital8 camcorder is all about the individual needs of each consumer. For those who want to transfer analog recordings to digital format, the Digital8 is a good alternative to miniDV camcorders. It is also a good choice for 8mm fans or those with Hi8 tapes. The Digital8 camcorder is a great choice for consumers who need compatibility with the older formats. Sony’s offering of the Digital8 is the only camcorder of its kind on the market. For those interested in this unique camcorder, talk to others who own the camera, read comments on line and ask experts at an electronics store for advice.

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