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Sony DCR-TRV11

Mini DV digital camcorder with Memory Stick ( )

Item # 158DCRTV11

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Our take on the Sony DCR-TRV11

Combining super-sharp movies and stills, editing ease, and PC compatibility, Sony's DCR-TRV11 beats any analog camcorder you've ever used. Once you've tried it, you'll know why digital video has become so popular.

Combining super-sharp movies and stills, editing ease, and PC compatibility, Sony's DCR-TRV11 beats any analog camcorder you've ever used. Once you've tried it, you'll know why digital video has become so popular.

This Digital Handycam® uses removable Memory Stick™ modules to store and transport digital still images. Smaller than a stick of gum, each Memory Stick can store dozens of crystal-clear digital stills! It's an easy way to get images into a compatible Sony VAIO computer for touching up, printing or e-mailing. (The supplied stereo minijack-to-9-pin serial cable connects to any PC serial port, for easy image transfer.)


  • 4MB Memory Stick
  • 680,000-pixel CCD
  • 3-1/2" color viewscreen
  • color viewfinder
  • Super NightShot with 2-stage Slow Shutter
  • Super SteadyShot
  • variable-speed 10X Carl Zeiss optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 120X)
  • PCM stereo digital audio (12-bit or 16-bit)
  • Super LaserLink-compatible (requires LaserLink receiver)
  • iLINK™ digital A/V jack (IEEE 1394 compatible)
  • S-video output
  • LANC jack (doubles as digital in/out)
  • 2-3/4"W x 3-5/8"H x 6-7/16"D
  • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor

Supplied Accessories:

  • wireless remote
  • AC adapter/recharger
  • rechargeable InfoLithium battery (uses Sony NP-FM50, NP-FM70 or NP-FM90)
  • serial cable & viewing software (CD-ROM) for PC

What's in the Box:

  • Mini DV Digital camcorder - Memory stick still camera
  • plastic lens cap
  • hand strap
  • AC-L10A AC adapter/charger wirh attached 70" cord
  • 6.5' AC cord (attaches to AC adapter)
  • RMT-811 wireless remote
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 1 NP-FM50 InfoLithium battery pack (7.2V/8.5Wh)
  • 5' RCA stereo audio/video to minijack patch cord
  • Cloth shoulder strap
  • 4.8' minijack to 9-pin RS-232 cable
  • PictureGear version 4.1 Lite CD-ROM software for Windows 98/95/NT; PictureGear Manual
  • Survey/Registration
  • 4MB Memory Stick in a plastic sleeve with a self-adhesive label; Imagestation promo
  • Owner's manual
  • Safeguards sheet
  • Registration/Survey sheet
  • Warranty sheet
  • Sony Customer Support information sheet
  • Video Accessories Leaflet
  • Sony Extras Direct advertisement card.

Hands-on research

Product Research

Remote Control Functions
Inputs and Outputs


Format: DV Format (SD mode)
Data compression rate: 25 Mbps
Digital compression technology: DCT (Discrete Cosine Transform) &VLC (Variable Length Coding)
Cassette: MINI DV Cassette
Maximum recording time: SP: 60 min using DVM-60 cassette, LP: 90 min using DVM-60 cassette

Note: This camcorder can record and play back in SP or LP mode. LP records at 2/3 the speed of SP, so you get longer recording times; HOWEVER, you can NOT use audio dubbing at LP speed.  Picture quality is about the same at the lower speed; it is likely, however, that a tape recorded in LP mode will not play back as well on any other MiniDV camcorder.

LCD Pixel Count: 3.5" color LCD with 184,800 pixels (840 x 220)

Fast-Forward/Rewind time: Approximately 2 minutes, 30 seconds with a  DVM-60 cassette

Zoom: 10X Optical, 120X Digital Zoom. Note that digital zoom degrades picture quality, but it can be turned off.

Resolution: Over 500 lines of horizontal resolution

Audio Modes: This unit can record and play audio in 12 and 16 bit modes. In 12 bit mode, there are two stereo audio tracks (stereo 1 and stereo 2) which enable audio dubbing and audio mixing. Tapes recorded in 16 bit mode are of higher audio quality; however, audio inserts cannot be made on a tape recorded in the 16-bit mode or LP mode.

Battery: This unit comes with a NP-FM50 InfoLithium battery, and the optional NP-FM70, NP-FM90 and NP-FM91 batteries are compatible with this camcorder. Note that because of its shape it is NOT compatible with other Sony Lithium batteries! The InfoLithium system exchanges data about its actual power consumption with the camcorder for a more accurate estimate of recording time available. Cold temperatures will increase battery consumption.

Battery life (with supplied NP-FM50):

 Without LCDUsing LCD
Continuous recording time195 min140 min
Typical recording time105 min75 min
Playing time 195 min140 min

Battery Charge: Charging time for supplied battery is 90 minutes. 150 minutes is required for a "full" charge.


Digital Still Mode and PictureGear Software:

  • Memory Stick:This camcorder has a memory slot which accepts Sony Memory Sticks (a 4 MB stick is supplied) which can record still images, exchange still images (not audio) with tapes, and play back and delete the still images.  Note that these images can be downloaded to a compatible computer using the supplied connector.
  • Format: Still images are recorded in JPEG format, in either Standard (compressed to about 1/10) or Fine (compressed to about 1/6) quality.   Note that regardless of the quality mode used, the number of pixels is always 640 x 480 pixels. You can record about 40 pictures in Fine mode and about 60 pictures in Standard mode with a 4MB Memory Stick, and up to 659 in fine mode and 988 in standard mode using an optional 64MB Memory Stick.
  • Multi screen mode: You can select a multi screen mode which will record 9 small still images at about a 0.3 second interval on a single page.
  • Memory Photo Recording: Allows you to record still images onto the Memory Stick using this unit's 10 second self timer.
  • Memory Mix: Allows you to superimpose a still image you have recorded on Memory Stick on top of a moving image you are recording.  You can select from one of the following effects; M.Chrom, M.Lumi, C.Chrom, or  M.Overlap
  • Memory PB Zoom: You can enlarge a Memory Stick Image while viewing it by one step (2X).  Note that the enlarged image is not passed through the iLink jack.
  • Tape Transfer: This piece can read moving picture data recorded on a tape and record it as a still image to the Memory Stick. Images from an outside source, such as a camcorder or VCR, can also be transferred to the Memory Stick; the outside video source must be run through the video input of this unit.
  • Photo playback: The pictures in the built-in memory can be played back one at a time using  memory + and - buttons. They may be displayed in an index mode, which displays six small images simultaneously for easy selection.
  • Slide Show: You can automatically play back images from the built-in memory in sequence (although you can not copy the slide show to a tape in the camcorder).
  • Image locking: You can protect images by locking an individual image to prevent accidental erasure.
  • Image delete: Images may be deleted one at a time or all at once.
  • Image transfer: Images recorded in the built-in memory can be transferred to a tape in the camcorder.
  • Image Transfer from external equipment: You can transfer a still image from external video sources (such as a VCR, TV with video output, etc.) by connecting the external equipment's video output to this unit's video input.
  • Images on supplied Memory Stick: The supplied Memory Stick has 20 pre-recorded images (frames which can be used with Memory Mix, etc.).  If the Memory Stick is formatted or if these images are deleted they can not be replaced.

Viewing or transferring images to a computer:

By using the supplied adapter (stereo minijack to 9-PIN RS232C female serial), you can transfer the still digital images stored on the Memory Stick of this unit to a computer.  The computer must have these minimum requirements:

  • IBM compatible with a minimum of 90 MHz Pentium
  • Minimum of 32 MB memory
  • Minimum 30 MB available hard disk space
  • Minimum 640 x 480 HiColor display driver
  • Use Windows 95/98 or NT4

The included software PictureGear Version 4.1 Lite allows you to do the following:

  • Transfer images from the camcorders memory stick to the hard drive
  • View and store transferred images on the computer

Flip out 3.5" LCD color monitor:

  • Has an LCD brightness control
  • Opens up to 270 degree angle from side of camcorder
  • Once opened, rotates forward or back 90 degrees

Color Viewfinder

Carl Zeiss lens: Most photographers will appreciate the value and uniqueness of a Carl Zeiss lens in a camcorder; it gives you a much better picture.

End Search function: After you record and play back the tape, you can press END SEARCH and the tape will fast forward or rewind and plays the last 5 seconds of what has been recorded. This makes it easy to start recording again.

Fader Modes: You can select from "fader" (black), "m.fader" (mosaic), "bounce" (makes the image bounce up and down), "overlap" (overlaps the image), "wipe", "random dot" and monotone (gradually changes from black and white to color) fader modes.

Exposure: Exposure may be controlled automatically or manually. You can manually adjust the exposure when backlighting is needed, or you can use the back light function. 

White Balance: Besides auto white balance, you can select Hold mode, Outdoor mode, or Indoor Mode.

Self timer: It allows you to start recording after after a 10 second delay.

Super Laser LinkFunction: When used with an optional infrared receiver (item 158IFTR20), this will transmit video and stereo audio, via infrared signal, to the optional receiver. This allows you transmit a signal  from the camcorder to a TV or VCR without wires from a distance of about 16 feet. For more info please see or ask about item # 158IFTR20.

Digital Program Editing: This function allows you to select a sequence of up to 20 scenes and have the camcorder control dubbing (assemble editing) when connected to a VCR using either the iLink jack or the analog output.  The camcorder is precoded for multibrand VCR control thus many brands of VCRs can be controlled.

Super NightShot: This unit is equipped with NightShot and Super NightShot modes. The NightShot feature allows you to shoot a subject in complete darkness (0 lux) using infra-red technology. Note that pictures taken in this mode are not in color, they are monotone. The Super NightShot function makes subjects more than 16 times brighter than those recorded in the NightShot mode. The Super NightShot mode improves the the overall picture quality by automatically selecting from 2 shutter speeds. There is a built-in NightShot Light that can be turned on to obtain a clearer picture; maximum range of the NightShot Light is about 10 feet. 

LCD Indicator Display Window: There is a small LCD on the left side of the unit which shows a remaining battery time indicator, tape counter and time code.

Photo recording: You can record up to 510 still pictures in SP mode on a 60 minute tape or about 765 pictures in LP mode.

Still Mode: It allows you to record a still picture that is superimposed on a moving picture.

Flash motion function: This function allows you to record still pictures successively at constant intervals, while the audio remains normal. Note that you can adjust the interval between the shots.

Luminancekey function: This allows you to swap a brighter area in a still picture with a moving picture.

Slow shutter function: If you want to record a dark picture more brightly, the shutter speed of this unit can be set to 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, or 1/4.

Old movie function: The unit simulates an "old movie" by automatically setting the wide mode to ON, picture effect to sepia, and choosing a slow shutter speed.

Trail effect: This effect allows you to record images which leave an incidental image such as a trail.  The audio is recorded normally.

Program AE modes: Sports lesson mode (for high speed action), Sunset & Moon Mode (for sunsets, fireworks, etc), Landscape Mode, Beach & Ski Mode, Spotlight Mode (recording subject spotlighted on a stage), Soft Portrait Mode, and Low Lux Mode (subject becomes bright in a low light situation)

Picture Effect Feature: This feature allows you to digitally process images to obtain special effects. You may choose from the following effects: Negative Art (the color of the picture is reversed), Sepia, Black and White, Solarize, Slim, Stretch, Pastel (makes picture look like an animated cartoon) and Mosaic.

Wide mode function: You can record in 16:9 FULL mode which is a true wide aspect and will play back on a wide-screen 16:9 aspect ratio TV.

Superimposing A Title: If you use a tape with cassette memory you can superimpose a title while recording or after recording. You can choose from 2 custom titles (20 character maximum for each title) and the following eight preset titles: Hello, Happy Birthday, Happy Holidays, Congratulations, Our sweet baby, Wedding, Vacation, The End.  The title can be changed from LARGE (with 8 positions) or SMALL (with 9 positions). You can select the following title colors: White, Green, Yellow, Cyan, Violet, Red, or Blue. Note that the total number of characters your title can have and the number of titles you can superimpose on one cassette are limited by the amount of memory on the cassette. You can normally superimpose up to 26 titles in one cassette if a title consists of about 5 characters. Titles may be deleted.

Focus: This camcorder has both manual and automatic focus.

Data Code function: Even without recording the date or time when recording, you can display the date and time during playback or editing since the unit records time codes.

Zero Memory Marking: You can return to a previously marked section of the tape using zero memory.

Back up memory: This unit uses a built in vanadium-lithium battery to retain date and time. This battery is charged whenever the camcorder is used, but will discharge if the unit is not used for about four months. If discharged, it can be recharged by connecting the unit to the AC adapter or battery.

VCR controls: The VCR controls are a flat membrane panel on the top and right hand side of the unit.

Insert editing: This piece allows you to insert a new video scene onto the tape by specifying starting and ending points. Audio dubbing allows you to add insert a new stereo sound track; the old sound will still be available and can be mixed as desired with the new sound. Note that audio dubbing requires a tape recorded in 12 bit audio mode.

Adding Effects: You can add picture effects and digital effects to a previously recorded image during playback.

PB ZOOM: Still and moving playback pictures may be enlarged. Enlarged pictures can be dubbed to tape in a VCR or camcorder that you connect to the A/V output of this unit; pictures in the PB Zoom mode are not output through the DV IN/OUT jack.

Signal Convert Function with pass-through: When analog images and sound from an external source are input to the analog A/V input of this unit, the signal may be passed through this unit to a PC with an i.Link input. Analog signals sent through the analog A/V input are converted, on the fly, to digital signals that can be sent from the i.Link digital output to PC equipped with an i.Link input.  

MiniDV cassettes: Although this unit can use any MiniDV cassette, some functions are only available with cassette that have memory (a built-in micro-chip):

If you use a cassette with memory, you will be able to use the following functions:

  • Title search: Allows you to start playback from the point where a title was superimposed
  • Superimposing a title: Allows you to add one of 8 preset titles or one of two custom titles at any time
  • Making a custom title: Allows you to create two custom titles (max 20 characters)
  • Label a cassette: Allows you to label a cassette with a title of up to 10 characters

The following functions will work with either type of cassette, but there are some differences:

  • End search: This goes to last recorded point. Without cassette memory, you cannot use this function after a cassette has been ejected.
  • Date search: Allows you to use recorded date to find a location on the tape.
  • Photo search: Allows you to search for still photos. With cassette memory, you can search by date recorded or scan through the photos, but without cassette memory, you can only scan through the photos.

Remote Control Functions

  • Photo button
  • Display button
  • Memory Control buttons (Play/Index/+/-)
  • Search mode button
  • Transport buttons
  • Pause button
  • Slow button
  • X2 button
  • Record button
  • Mark button
  • Audio dub button
  • Start/Stop button
  • Power zoom rocker button
  • Data Code button
  • Zero Set Memory button

Inputs and Outputs

  • S-Video output/input: requires standard S-video cord (not included)
  • Audio/Video output/input: using a minijack, you can connect supplied cord for composite video, stereo RCA output
  • Headphone out: stereo minijack
  • DV in/out jack: this jack accepts a 4-pin i.Link cable (cable not included) which allows you to digitally record picture, sound, and system data. There are two optional cables available: 158VMC4415 and 158VMC4615. This is the preferred way to transmit information when using another product with a D/V input since it will transmit a digital signal with no quality loss. This is also called a "firewire/IEEE1394" connector; Sony's name for this type of connection is "i.Link".
  • LANC jack/Digital input/output: This one jack serves both as a LANC jack or can be used with the supplied adaptor to transfer digital stills to or from Memory Stick
  • Mic (Plug in Power): connector for use with external microphone (stereo minijack)
  • DC Input: accepts connector from AC adaptor cable
  • Intelligent Accessory Shoe: there is an an accessory shoe on the top of the camcorder; Sony makes various lighting and microphone accessories for use with the Intelligent Accessory Shoe

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