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most compact three-CCD DVCAM camcorder shoots in full resolution 16:9
mode and is ready for action with XLR microphone inputs and fine control
of audio recording
The PDX10 is the
DVCAM version of Sony's TRV950 consumer camcorder and differs in having
a black-and-white viewfinder, an XLR mic and switch box, and full resolution
16:9 DVCAM recording. It records and plays DV and DVCAM tapes and replaces
the PD100 - itself the DVCAM version of the popular TRV900. In stepping
up from the TRV950 to the PDX10, the pop-up flashgun and LP recording
option have been lost.
For anybody used to Sony camcorders, the layout will be happily familiar.
A small, 37mm filter thread surrounds the front element, and the bayonet-on
lens hood (two sizes are supplied) can be fitted and removed with filters
in place - a big improvement on the PD100. A constant rotation ring
controls manual focus, and built-in microphones lie directly underneath
the front element. At the rear of the microphones, under a rubber door,
lie the in/out analogue and digital sockets. There's also a 3.5mm stereo
socket for an external microphone.
This is a camcorder with some very good features, and some very poor
ones, too. It has a wonderfully sharp and flare-free lens that is usable
at all available focal lengths and apertures. There's minimal distortion
and images are extraordinarily good, as long as the lighting isn't low
or of high contrast. The on-board microphones are good, tape handling
is fine and the big touch-screen with all its tricks is a party piece.
The menu, though deep, is intuitive and offers a huge amount of control
and customisation. The compact XLR adapter is very quick to set up,
and offers many audio options. The crowning glory is the 16:9 shooting
mode, and this gives breathtaking results on large widescreen TV sets.
MPEG-1 to Memory Stick is fun, and 1152 x 864 stills are impressive.
The poor low-light performance is perhaps not unexpected with such tiny
CCDs, likewise the difficulty in obtaining differential focus with the
very short focal length lenses associated with these tiny chips. However,
Sony needs to sort out the CCD flare problem - it drags down what is
otherwise a fine camcorder. And, a camcorder aimed at professionals
should keep users accurately informed, not feed them misleading information.
Perhaps worryingly for Sony Professional, every one of these negatives
is cured by spending £50 more on a VX2000E. That makes buying
a PDX10P a decision not to be undertaken lightly, if at all, and doubly
so with the impending arrival of an upgraded VX2000 replacement, the
Read the full review
in February 2004's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in this issue:
Primera Bravo DVD Publisher
Siren DVD Duplication Station
Avid Xpress Pro
Canopus Edius 1.5
In February's news:
DVD Workshop goes pro
Adobe editing suite on the cheap
Toshiba portable Media Center
Forging ahead in sound
Edit-ready Apple PowerMac
LaCie Toast 6 burner bundle
ADS Tech USB2 boxes
Budget Canopus ProCoder
Canopus three-way converter
Discreet 3ds max 6
Premiere Pro music-making