Although the consumer electronics market is shifting into high definition, there's still room for standard definition in the camcorder space. In fact, standard-definition miniDVD is still the most popular format with most consumers. As I found with last year's top Sony DVD camcorder, the DCR-DVD508 easily rises to the top of the miniDVD camcorder market by offering excellent quality performance, and ease of use, clearly earning itself an Editor's Choice. This 1OX optical Handycam should definitely be on your short list if you're looking for a standard-definition camcorder that doesn't skimp on quality.
Sony has improved many features here on the DVD508. For example, the camcorder can shoot 6.1-megapixel stills. I also like that the company has overhauled the menu system, adding an easy-to-navigate tabbed interface. Even better, its list price is $200 lower than that of last year's model. The DVD508 also sports a 2.7-inch LCD and accepts dual-sided miniDVD discs.
Like the DVD505, this camcorder comes equipped with an "Easy" mode, which simplifies things by limiting the Menus to just a few options. You'll also find the familiar night-shot mode present on other Sony camcorder, which outperforms almost all other non-Sony devices.
The DVD508 won't disappoint in terms of image quality. In my portrait test shot, the dynamic range, resolution, and clarity were all quite good. Skin tones looked spot-on. The color was accurate, too, with very little color shifting. In general, I also found the audio to be excellent-quite clear, and with no swirling or excessive hissing. In my action clip test, I noticed that the nimble auto focus adjusted very well. It also kept up with a variety of details in moving objects without any streaking. On my EIA Resolution Chart, the DVD508 scored 475, which is very good for a DVD format camcorder.
Of course. The Sony Handycam DCR-DVD508 isn't perfect. One flaw is its sluggish boat-up and recycles times; I think Sony could do better. Nevertheless, if you're not converting your system over to HD any time soon, then this easy-to-use camcorder might be your next mlniDVD camcorder.
Sony Handycam DCR-DVD508: $899.99