Hello Birding-Ausers all,
(I tried to send this message a few days ago but without success.)
A short time ago I announced that I had acquired a digital video camera
recorder for the specific purpose of obtaining video and 'snap-shots' of the
birds I see.
I also said I would put some details of my video-ing experiences on my
web-site as soon as possible.
or go to my website (see below) and click on 'Bob's Camcorder' on the home
When viewing the stuff on my website please keep in mind that these are my
impressions and experiences only and may differ considerably from those of other
My intention is to provide a little more information about specific
items of equipment and some details that may not be immediately obvious.
Unfortunately, it is often the case that some aspects of devices such as
camcorders are not revealed until after the device has been used for some
So, I believe any extra bit of information acquired before purchase of
relatively expensive gear is worth having.
This is not intended to be a commercial for Sony products.
I make nothing personally out of describing my experiences with this
particular video camera recorder other than the feeling that I may be helping
someone else in their deliberations over the purchase of a similar device.
Briefly, I am reasonably happy with my choice of camcorder although I have
not been able to compare it 'in the field' with other digital camcorders.
The video produced is excellent and the 'snap-shots' are at least adequate
for my purpose.
Of course, if high quality images are required a 'film' camera would still
be the choice.
I would say that anyone seriously considering a digital camcorder for
recording their 'wildlife' experiences should be happy with one of the many
models amongst the various brands currently available.
However, choice of a particular model would probably come down to such
things as the size of the unit and the power of the lens.
The Sony D8 is by no means the smallest camcorder on the market but, then
again, it is not overly large either.
'My' Sony D8 has a 25x optical zoom whereas most other camcorders on the
market have 20x or less.
Note that these figures are not a good guide by themselves as the focal
length of the lens must be considered also.
For example, at 20x zoom (4/5 of the maximum zoom range) the Sony D8 lens
is equivalent to approx 950 mm in 35 mm camera terms whereas, I calculate a
current Panasonic NV-DS15 camcorder lens at the maximum zoom of 20x is
equivalent to approx 800 mm.
However, at the other end of the zoom scale the Panasonic has better
The Sony D8 camcorders are larger than some of the Mini-DV camcorders
partly as a consequence of the more powerful lens and the larger 8mm type tape
cartridge used. It is also basically designed in the fashion of the
'traditional' Sony Handycams.
Anyone wanting a smaller, more compact camcorder will have to make do with
a considerably less powerful lens.
But they will have a more 'modern'
Possibly the biggest point against the Sony D8 range is that all except the
'top-of-the-range' model, DCRTRV820, have a monochrome viewfinder.
The DCRTRV820 also has a 4" LCD and a built-in printer!
Anyone wanting more information or who wants to comment on what's on my
website or provide a correction is welcome to contact me directly by
I will attempt to respond but please do not expect too much from me as I am
still in learning mode.