142 of 144 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This camcorder does everything it should. For a palm-sized camera, 60x optical zoom is impressive. It comes with 4 GB of internal memory, and it takes Memory Sticks and SD Cards up to 32 GB. This makes its memory sources more versatile than any other palm-sized cam that I've seen.
This year's model, the DCR-SX44, comes with an LED Light on the front of the camera for added lighting in low-light situations. One of the biggest complains about last year's model, the DCR-SX40, was that it had nothing to assist with low lighting. Clearly, Sony addressed the customers' concerns, and I like that.
Other nice features: a switch-on lens cover (button on the side), zoom-in microphone (audio zooms with video), and nice color selection (red, blue, and silver).
It comes with everything you need in the box: battery, power cable, A/V cable, USB cable, and some optional software (which I have not touched).
Uploading videos online straight off the camera is easy. If you want to edit with Windows Movie Maker, you will need to convert video files from MPG format to WMV format. Simple solution: download WinFF file converter for free, and it converts movie files in a matter of seconds. Then you're good to go.
To those who criticized the video quality: Don't buy a standard definition palm-sized camera and expect high definition video. If you did that, then it's your own fault that you're disappointed. For a SD camera, the picture quality is FINE.
82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Our 1995 Sony camcorder finally bit the dust so it was time for a new one. We only use the camcorder for personal use so we were looking for another basic, easy-to-use camcorder in the $250 range. After spending some time researching camcorders the Sony DCR-SX44 camcorder seemed like a perfect fit.
Ease of use
Extremely lightweight and small
Internal memory with optional memory slot
60x optical zoom
Built in lens cover
The menu and controls are pretty intuitive so you will be shooting video in no time. This unit is so small that it's almost too small for large hands to comfortably operate. Fortunately the somewhat small grip is offset by the light weight, which makes extended filming less shaky and fatigue free. I like the onboard memory as well as the option to use SD/SDHC cards. The zoom was very well done, it's amazing how close you can get. I appreciate the variable zoom that makes it easy to control whether you zoom slow or fast. The one knock on the zoom is that you will need a tripod if you expect to zoom in alot, there is no way a living breathing human can hold this still when zoomed all the way. That's more a compliment to the 60x than lack of stabilization though. When not zoomed in the stabilization is fine, not great but adequate enough for a budget camcorder.
Light for low light conditions looks cool but is basically useless
The first thing I did was set the camera to auto and put it on the highest video quality. After recording a video indoors I played it back on the TV. Not good. Very grainy, out of focus, and dark. I knew low light indoors video would be a problem, so I went outside in full sunlight and played around. Back to the TV and again, not good. All the images in the video were soft with no sharp lines and appeared to be slightly out of focus. At this point I knew I had to be doing something wrong so I started over.
I recorded a multi-situation video (including full sunlight, shade, indoors lit, and indoors low light conditions) using each and every camcorder setting available. I then played these directly to the TV, burned them to a DVD, and downloaded them directly to my computer to view. All versions were soft and fuzzy. I then compared the video quality to DVD's I burned from videos made by our 15 year old Sony tape camcorder. The Sony DCR-SX44 overall video quality (indoor and outdoor) was no better (and sometimes worse) than our old middle of the road camcorder.
(Please note, I have an HD capable TV but do not have HD service, so I do not watch, am not spoiled by, and am not expecting HD quality video)
I wanted to like this camcorder as the brand, style, options, cost, and ease of use matched everything I was looking for. However a camcorder with poor video quality is fatally flawed in my book. It is possible I got a defective unit, but reading other reviews it appears I'm not the only one. I returned this camcorder and got my money back. After doing some more research it appears that for another $50-$100 or so I can make the monumental jump to HD and skip the dying technology that is standard definition.
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I have owned this camera for but a few days, certainly haven't become familiar with EVERY feature. I still own a Sony DCR-TRV840 (a digital 8mm tape based camera) and this DCR-SX44 will eventually replace the TRV840.
As a technical consumer, I always review any default settings for devices I purchase; I immediately set the recording mode to highest quality.
Pros: Small size (barely larger than 2 of the old TRV840s 8MM tapes in their storage cases), touch screen menuing system (minimal buttons on the camera), 60x zoom is optical (much more zoom is available if digital zoom is enabled - at the expense of image resolution), several optional battery capacities, a lot of features to suit novice videographers (spot metering options, face detection, slow shutter for low light recording, white balance, telephoto or Macro modes, guideframes (1/3rd rules), 'Zoom microphone' enable, 16:9 or 4:3 recording mode, self timer, media format, view/delete/protect images, more). One added feature: a Reset button, in case you go too far using those menus!
Cons: Cannot take a snapshot WHILE recording (my old TRV840 could do that), small still photo size (640x480, = VGA, VGA sized digital photos were a breakthrough back in the late 1990s), any USB connection requires LCD display to be opened (cannot use USB with the LCD closed), user option buttons are flush with surface of the case and are impossible to determine by feel (for turning on the recording light, playback, backlight, disc burn), small size camcorder forces a small sized LCD display, cannot add a carrying strap - no loops for straps, support for cards larger than 32 GB is not guaranteed (32 GB SDHC support is guaranteed (I'm quoting the manual - the Sony user manual uses the term GB, not GiB)), unusual connector on the camera for A/V outputs (lose the supplied A/V cable and you need to contact Sony for replacement - try doing that in 5 years), pricey batteries if going for larger capacity than stock battery.
All in all, for under $250, this is a good family camera, offering room for experimentation, with direct to flash recording capability.
70 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Ruben Rascon III
- Published on Amazon.com
Since its purchase on Monday, April 6, 2009 at my local Best Buy, I've been very satisfied with this wonderful, portable camcorder.
Before I purchased this camcorder, I used to produce videos with both my Hitachi VM-E635LA 8mm and RCA CC6262 VHS-C camcorders, and while videotaping was simple, capturing and editing on a computer became both troublesome and a hassle, but thanks to my Sony HandyCam DCR-SX41, computer-based video editing has never been any easier for me.
For those who are expecting High Definition video, this camcorder is NOT for you as it records in 720x480 Standard Definition on the highest recording setting [HQ].
Keep in mind, if you are looking into purchasing this camcorder, I highly recommend setting the recording setting to HQ for the best picture quality, as some who've reviewed this camcorder have mentioned poorness in picture quality.
Pros: At a first glance, the camcorder is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and is lightweight and portable enough to take anywhere. The battery life is excellent and gives you up to two hours [if your camcorder's recording mode is set to HQ] when fully charged and to make this camcorder an even sweeter deal, it comes with 8 Gigabytes of internal, solid-state flash memory, [much like USB flash drives] which means no internal moving mechanisms, adding longevity to the camcorder's life. The Sony HandyCam DCR-SX41 also has a Pro-Duo Memory Stick slot for memory expansion, adding extra hours to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments. This camcorder also has a responsive LCD touch screen for easy access to changing various camcorder settings, including recording modes, picture settings and white balance. The Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens delivers excellent picture quality [again on the HQ setting] for such a tiny camcorder. Finally, this camcorder is quite durable for its size. I've dropped mine at least three times in a year's time and it still works like the day I've unboxed it.
Cons: While this camcorder is great, there are some things that it lacks. Being since this is an entry-level camcorder for the consumer, it is not expandable for external audio, such as adding a shotgun, handheld or lavalier microphone. It also lacks a headphone jack for previewing audio, and while the Sony HandyCam DCR-SX41 has a built-in speaker, it is not the best for previewing audio from your videos directly from the camcorder itself, and while the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens delivers great picture quality [again on the HQ setting] auto focus can be troublesome at times during low-light conditions [especially when your camcorder's picture setting is set to auto (I highly recommend using the Twilight setting, which reduces focusing issues in lower-lit places)].
Despite the camcorder's down-sides, the Sony HandyCam DCR-SX41 is overall a very good camcorder for what it's worth and is great for entry-level, amateur film-makers and freelance videographers.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I wanted a simple little camcorder, so of course I first got a JVC HA camcorder. I tried it and found it difficult to deal with the big files, and if you are not a super model they leave you looking a little unflattering. Seriously, do I need anyone seeing that mole?
So.. When I looked for a standard def cam, I decided on this one after playing around with several other makes. I liked the simple controls and size. The batteries last a long long time, and with an 8gb SD card, I can take videos FOREVER it seems, even in HQ mode (Recommended). AND THANK YOU FOR SD SUPPORT SONY! Finally Sony is joining the rest of western civilization in this regard. I can not comment on Sony's software because I use something else.
Optics: Best I have found in this size range.
Video quality: Exactly what you can expect for SD (which I perfer).
Battery live: Great.
Size/Weight: Great (not much bigger then a Flip)
After Playing with several different makes/models (8 in all) I found the DCR-SX44 to be the best for my needs. This DOES come with a USB cable and everything else you need.
Hope this helps.
P.S. I am generally a Cannon guy, but they really do not do as well with their camcorders.