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Sony DCR-DVD850 Handycam®

DVD/16GB flash memory/Memory Stick® camcorder

Item # 158DDVD850

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Our take on the Sony DCR-DVD850 Handycam®

Sony's DCR-DVD850 camcorder gives you flexible options for capturing and sharing your home videos. Record straight to mini DVDs for instant playback on most DVD players and computers. Or if you don't have a blank disc handy, the built-in 16-gigabyte flash memory will let you store up to 11 hours of footage. In-camera dubbing lets you copy footage from the internal memory or optional Memory Stick® Pro Duo™ cards to DVD disc — without a PC or separate disc burner.

Sony's DCR-DVD850 camcorder gives you flexible options for capturing and sharing your home videos. Record straight to mini DVDs for instant playback on most DVD players and computers. Or if you don't have a blank disc handy, the built-in 16-gigabyte flash memory will let you store up to 11 hours of footage. In-camera dubbing lets you copy footage from the internal memory or optional Memory Stick® Pro Duo™ cards to DVD disc — without a PC or separate disc burner.

Sharp footage and wraparound sound
This cam's Carl-Zeiss® lens delivers accurate colors and boasts an impressive 60X optical zoom for detailed close-ups. Built-in image stabilization keeps your footage steady. Use the color viewfinder to frame your shots, or switch to the widescreen touchpanel LCD to see your movies as they'll appear on the disc. The zoom mic records Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel audio — play back your home movie discs on your home theater system and experience them in lifelike surround sound.

Easy features for your convenience
Sony's Easy Handycam® button gives you fully automatic, worry-free recording. When you're ready to review your footage, use the "film roll" button to preview thumbnails of multiple scenes on the LCD screen for an easy-to-search index. Or use Sony's "face index" to locate scenes that have a certain subject in them, like your child or spouse. This cool feature sorts your videos by which face appears in them — a truly easy way to find the footage of your loved ones.

Product Highlights:

    Storage and Formats:
    • holds at least 3 hours of video at maximum quality
    • holds up to 11 hours of standard quality video
    • records MPEG-2 video to built-in 16GB flash memory, mini DVD-Rs, DVD-RWs, DVD+RWs, and DVD+R DLs (Dual Layer), or optional Memory Stick® Pro Duo™ cards
    • 680,000-pixel CCD (410K effective pixels in 16:9 mode)
    • digital photo mode
    • variable-speed 60X Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar® optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 2000X)
    • Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel surround sound from built-in zoom microphone
    • color viewfinder
    • widescreen 2-11/16" touchpanel LCD
    • Film Roll creates an easy-to-search index that shows you previews of your scenes
    • Face Index organizes your footage by which face(s) appears in each scene for easy searching
    • SteadyShot® image stabilization
    • 10 Program AE (Auto Exposure) settings, including Beach, Candle, Snow, Sports, Spotlight, Sunrise & Sunset, and Twilight
    • playback zoom up to 5X
    Connections and Dimensions:
    • high-speed USB interface
    • audio/video output
    • 2-3/16"W x 3-9/16"H x 5-1/8"D
    • weight: 15 oz. with battery
    • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
    Supplied Accessories:
    • AC adapter/charger
    • rechargeable InfoLithium® battery (NP-FH30)
    • audio/video and USB cables
    • Picture Motion Browser software for transferring and copying videos (Windows only)

    What's in the Box:

    • DVD camcorder with handstrap
    • NP-FH30 InfoLithium battery pack (7.2V/3.6Wh)
    • AC-L200C AC Power adapter with attached 5.5' output cord (8.4V/1.7A)
    • 5' AC power cord
    • 57" A/V connecting cable (has left and right RCA audio connectors and an RCA composite video connector on one end and a proprietary connector on the other end)
    • 61" USB cable (has a USB Type A connector on one end and a Mini USB Version 2.0 connector on the other end)
    • Handycam Application Software CD-ROM for Windows
    • Operating Guide
    • Warranty sheet
    • Online product registration information
    • Sony Handycam Accessories brochure
    • Note on handling Mini DVD discs and using a computer

    Hands-on research

    Product Research

    General Features
    Mini-DVD Features
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Battery Information
    Inputs and Outputs Notes
    Software and Computer Information

    General Features

    2.7" Wide Touch Panel SwivelScreen LCD Screen: The 2.7" Wide (16:9) LCD screen provides excellent viewing clarity with improved resolution. The high resolution 123,200 pixel LCD screen rotates up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles providing sharp, detailed images for monitoring or playback, and the widescreen format makes shooting in 16:9 mode and composing shots even easier. In addition, the LCD doubles as an "on-screen" touch panel, allowing you to navigate through the menu system by touching the LCD screen. You can adjust the brightness of the LCD screen, the brightness of the LCD screen's backlight and the color intensity of the LCD screen. You can even rotate the LCD screen around 180-degrees until it faces your subject and a mirror-image of the subject appears on the LCD screen, but the image you shoot will be normal when recorded. When recording in mirror mode, the image is not displayed in the viewfinder.

    Viewfinder: The Sony DCR-DVD850 also features an electronic color 123,000 pixel viewfinder that allows to view and record images while using less battery power compared to viewing images on the LCD screen. The viewfinder has an adjustment lever to help you see through the viewfinder more clearly. The viewfinder pulls out about an 1" to access the viewfinder adjustment lever. You can also adjust the brightness of the viewfinder from Normal to Bright.

    Hybrid Plus Recording: Hybrid Plus recording technology delivers a new level of flexibility for transferring your video footage and digital photos from the camcorder to compatible viewing devices. Hybrid Plus allows you to record to your choice of DVD media, an internal 16GB flash memory drive, or removable Memory Stick Duo media or Memory Stick PRO Duo media (sold separately). You can even select from various dubbing functions to easily copy video or still images from Memory Stick media or built in flash memory media to DVD without using a PC. Images recorded or transferred to DVD media can then be played directly in most DVD Players, computers, Blu-ray Disc players, and even PlayStation 3 video game consoles.

    Advanced HAD CCD: The DCR-DVD850 features a 2.25mm (1/8") Advanced HAD (Hole Accumulation Diode) CCD imager with 680,000 gross pixels. The enhanced CCD design allows more light to reach the imager which reduce video noise to improve signal-to-noise ratio by up to 6dB (2x better than a standard CCD). This really helps when shooting in dark places. The number of effective pixels changes, depending on the mode:

    • Movie (16:9): 410,000
    • Movie (4:3): 340,000
    • Still (4:3): 340,000
    • Still (16:9): 250,000

    Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar Lens:  This camcorder features a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with an advanced multi-layer coating system, resulting in less glare and lens flare with increased contrast compared to other systems. The result is vivid image brilliance, true-to-life color saturation and perfect renditions of subtle tones.

    SteadyShot Picture Stabilization: SteadyShot picture stabilization system uses motion sensors to remove unwanted picture shake without compromising picture quality like some other digital stabilization systems.

    Zoom: The camcorder has a 60x Optical Zoom for bringing your subject up close. It also features a selectable 120x or 2,000x digital zoom. Because the picture is processed digitally, the picture quality deteriorates the more you zoom in. The power zoom lever can be moved slightly for a slow zoom, or moved further for a faster zoom. The LCD Screen also has zoom buttons on the frame.

    Focus Modes: The Sony Handycam DCR-DVD850 features a Manual and Auto Focus modes.

    • Manual Focus: With manual focus, you can manually adjust the focus of the camcorder using the touch panel. Manual focusing also allows you to control the focus in difficult situations where either the environment or the subject does not allow the camcorder's auto focus to perform optimally, such as when shooting through a window or in a crowded environment.
    • Auto Focus: You can also select automatic focusing. When using autofocus, you can choose to focus on a subject in the center of the screen or with Spot Focus, focus on an off-centered object.
    • Spot Focus: You can select and adjust the focal point to aim it at a subject not located at the center of the screen.
    • Tele Macro: This feature is useful when shooting small subjects, such as flowers or insects. You can blur out backgrounds and the subject stands out clearer. You can recorded subjects as close as 19-3/4 inches in Tele-Macro mode.

    Exposure Modes: The Sony Handycam DCR-DVD850 features the following Auto, Manual and Scene Select Exposure Modes.

    • Manual Exposure: Manual Exposure allows you to fix the brightness of your picture manually. You can adjust the brightness when the subject is much brighter or darker than the background
    • Auto: Select this mode to automatically record pictures effectively without the preset scene select modes
    • Scene Select Modes: The following Scene Select modes are available to suit your specific shooting requirements -
      • Twilight Mode: maintains the darkening atmosphere of the distant surroundings in twilight scenes
      • Candle Mode: maintains the dim atmosphere of a candlelit scene
      • Sunrise/Sunset Mode: maintains the atmosphere of situations such as sunset and sunrises
      • Landscape Mode: allows you to shot distant subject clearly
      • Fireworks Mode: select to record all the splendor of fireworks
      • Portrait Mode: brings out the subject such as people or flowers while creating a soft background
      • Spotlight Mode: prevents people's faces from appearing excessively white when subjects are lit by strong light
      • Sport Mode: minimizes shake when shooting fast moving pictures
      • Snow Mode: help with shooting in very bright white conditions
      • Beach Mode: prevents people's faces from appearing dark in strong light or reflected light.

    Spot Meter: This feature allows you to adjust and fix the exposure to the subject, so that it is recorded in suitable brightness even when there is a strong contrast between the subject and the background.

    White Balance: You can adjust the color balance to the brightness of the recording environment. You can choose from the following.

    • Auto: the white balance is adjusted automatically
    • Outdoor: the white balance is adjusted to be appropriate for the following recording conditions - outdoors, night views, sunrise, sunsets and fluorescent lamps
    • Indoor: the white balance is adjusted to be appropriate for the following recording conditions - indoors, at parties or studios where the lighting conditions change quickly and under video lamps in a studio, or under sodium lamps or incandescent-like color lamps
    • One Push: the white balance will be adjusted according to the ambient light

    Auto Slow Shutter: When this feature is activated the shutter speed of the camcorder is automatically reduce to 1/30 second when recording in dark conditions.

    Backlight: When you shoot a subject with the light source behind the subject or a subject with a light background, you can use the backlight function.

    Visual Index Screen: The Visual Index Screen shows thumbnail images of movies and still images when playing back on your camcorder or DVD player, making scene selection simple. You can choose from 6 or 12 images at a time.

    Guideframe: The Guideframe displays a frame around the recorded images and allows you to check the subject's horizontal and vertical position.

    Data Code Function: The camcorder automatically records time codes along with the images you shoot, so you can display the date and time during playback or editing.

    Playback Zoom (PB ZOOM): This feature lets you enlarge images during playback. The magnification can be adjusted from 1.1x to 5x.

    Easy Handycam: When the Easy Handycam mode is activated, most of the camera settings are set to the automatic mode, only basic functions become available, and the screen font size increases for easy viewing. This mode makes recording and playing back recordings less intimidating, even for first time users.

    Multi-Language Menu: The camcorder allows you to select between English, Simple English, French, Spanish and Portuguese for the unit's menu language.

    Built-In Lens Cover: The mini-DVD camcorder features an integrated lens cover that opens and closes with the slide of one simple switch to protect the camcorders lens from damage when not in use.

    Mini-DVD Features

    DVD Format Video Recording: This innovative camcorder records movies to mini DVD-Rs, DVD-RWs, DVD+RWs and DVD+R Dual Layer discs. The DVD recording format delivers digital video and sound quality comparable to that of Mini DV. Playback of the DVD media is simple and convenient. After finalizing the disc in the camcorder, the DVD disc will playback in most DVD Players and computers. The camcorder records in high-quality DVD-Video and DVD-VR formats (DVD-Video is MPEG-2; DVD-VR is a modification that works only with DVD-RWs and permits functions like playlists and editing). You can also choose to record video onto the unit's built-in 16GB flash memory or a Memory Stick Pro Duo card (sold separately).  Video can be recorded in a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio.

    Recording  Mode: You can select one of the following recording modes: HQ (High Quality), SP (Standard Play), or LP (Long Play). Using a single-sided mini DVD-R, DVD-RW, or DVD+RW, you can record approximately 20 minutes of video in HQ mode, 30 minutes of video in SP mode, and 60 minutes of video in LP mode. When using a Dual Layer mini DVD+R disc, you can record approximately 35 minutes in HQ mode, 55 minutes in SP mode and 110 minutes in LP mode. The DCR-DVD850 is capable of supporting 720 x 480 lines of resolution. The following chart lists the approximate recording time (in minutes) when you to choose to record video onto a Memory Stick Pro Duo card or the unit's built-in flash memory.

    Memory Card Size Recording Mode
    9M (HQ) 6M (SP) 3M (LP)
    512MB 6 9 15
    1GB 10 20 35
    2GB 25 40 80
    4GB 55 80 160
    8GB 115 170 325
    (built-in flash memory)
    230 340 655

    Movie Dubbing: You can even dub movies from the camcorder's internal Flash memory or an inserted Memory Stick Pro Duo card to a mini-DVD within the camcorder.

    Disc Select Guide: The camcorder features a Disc Select Guide that helps you choose the appropriate mini-DVD for your application.

    Fader Modes: You can select from "Black Fader" or "White Fader." You can add these modes to currently recorded pictures for fading in or out.

    Dolby Digital 5.1ch Recording: The DCR-DVD850 will record in Dolby Digital 5.1ch surround sound with the built-in microphone. By recording in 5.1 channel surround sound, you can experience your home movies with active sounds coming from all directions. The camcorder's microphone level can be set to Low or Normal.

    Built-In Zoom Mic: The Built-in Zoom Mic feature allows you to record sound with directivity as you move the power zoom lever.

    Finalizing: In order to play back your recordings on DVD players or computers with DVD-ROM drives, you need to finalize the disc. Once a mini DVD-R, DVD-RW or DVD+R DL is finalized, you cannot record on the disc again. You can however "unfinalize" a mini DVD-RW, allowing you to use it again for recording. You can also record additional material onto a mini DVD+RW. A DVD+RW does not require finalization to be played back on other DVD devices.

    Face Index: Detected face images during recording are displayed on the camcorder's Index Screen. You can ply back the movie from the selected face image.

    Playlist: Playlists can be created on DVD-RW discs recorded by the camcorder in DVD-VR mode. By creating a Playlist, you can rearrange your recorded scenes, cut and divide scenes, and create the playback order that tells your story in the most effective way.

    Note: Performing these functions within a playlist does not affect the actual data recorded on the disc.

    Divide Movie: The camcorder allows you to divide a recorded video into specific scenes. Movies cannot be restored once they are divided.

    Auto Remaining: This feature displays the remaining disc indicator for about 8 seconds on the LCD screen and Viewfinder in certain operating situations. You can also set the disc indicator to always stay on. When the remaining recordable time for movies is less than 5 minutes, the indicator stays on the screen regardless if this function is set to Auto or On.

    Digital Still Camera Features

    Digital Still Memory Mode: Digital Still Memory mode captures high quality still images directly to Memory Stick Pro Duo media. You can choose one of the following resolutions: 640 x 480 for 4:3 aspect ratio or 640 x 360 for 16:9 aspect ratio. Images are stored in the JPEG format providing easy transfer to PCs for e-mailing, printing, or sharing with family and friends.

    Note: Still images cannot be captured onto mini-DVD.

    Approximate number of still images that you can record on a Memory Stick Pro Duo or Camcorder Internal Memory:

    Image Size Memory Stick Duo Capacity Internal Memory
    512MB 1GB 2GB 4GB 8GB 16GB
    640 x 480 (4:3)
    2800 5800 11500 23000 4700 9400

    Photo Capture:  You can capture still images onto the camcorder's flash memory or a Memory Stick Pro Duo card from video during playback of mini-DVD within the DCR-DVD850.

    Self-Timer: If you want to take a picture of  yourself, the self-timer feature will automatically fire 10 seconds after being activated.

    Flash Modes: When using an optional external compatible Flash, you can choose one of three flash levels: High, Normal, or Low. You can also set the camcorder for one of the following flash modes:

    • On: flashes every time
    • Auto: flashes automatically when needed
    • Redeye Reduction: prevents redeye by activating the flash before recording

    Slide Show: This function allows you to play back all the still images on a Memory Stick in sequence.

    PictBridge: You can print directly from the camcorder to a PictBridge-compliant printer via USB cable, even if you don't have a computer. PictBridge is an industry standard established by the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA). Through the camcorder, you can select the number of copies to be printed, up to 20, and choose to print the date and time on each picture.

    Battery Information

    InfoLithium Battery With AccuPower Meter System: You can charge the battery at any time because unlike NiCad (Nickel Cadmium) batteries, Sony's rechargeable lithium ion batteries are not subject to a life shortening "memory effect." The AccuPower meter system displays the battery time remaining in minutes, in either the viewfinder or on the LCD screen. The battery is charged while on the camcorder.

    Battery Life: The approximate recording, charging and playback times using the supplied and optional batteries are: (in minutes)

    • Charging and Playback Times:
    Battery Pack Charging Times (in minutes) Mini-DVD Playback Internal Memory or Memory Stick Playback
    Viewfinder LCD Screen Viewfinder  LCD screen
    115 120 105 145 125
    NP-FH50 135 195 170 235 205
    NP-FH70 170 415 370 505 435
    NP-FH100 390 925 830 1120 980
    • Recording Times:
    Battery Pack Mini-DVD Recording Internal Memory or Memory Stick Playback
    Viewfinder: Continuous (Typical) LCD: Continuous (Typical) Viewfinder: Continuous (Typical) LCD: Continuous (Typical)
    90 (45) 80 (40) 105 (50) 95 (45)
    NP-FH50 145 (70) 135 (65) 170 (85) 155 (75)
    NP-FH70 315(155) 290 (145) 370 (185) 330 (165)
    NP-FH100 710 (355) 650 (325) 830 (415) 745 (370)

    Note: Typical recording includes approximate number of minutes elapsed while repeating record start/stop, zooming, and turning the power on/off. The actual battery life may be shorter.

    Auto Shut Off: The camcorder will automatically tune itself off when you do not operate the camcorder for more than approximately 5 minutes.

    Inputs and Outputs Notes

    Analog Outputs: This camcorder features a proprietary Audio/Video output connection for use with the supplied A/V connecting cable. The cable has a proprietary plug on one end and male stereo RCA audio and RCA composite video connections on the other end. You can also use an optional proprietary S-video cable with this jack. You can convert the signal output of the camcorder depending on the TV connected when playing back your video or images. You can choose from a 16:9 or 4:3 video output. You can also choose to display the camcorder's recorded information on the your TV along with your image or video.

    High-speed USB 2.0 Interface: The camcorders USB 2.0 interface provides an easy way to connect the mini-DVD Handycam camcorder to your PC for fast transfer of video and still images to your computer for editing using the supplied software. The camcorder can also be used as an external DVD burner, convenient for making copies of your DVDs or burning edited movies.

    DC In: The camcorder DC input is for use with the supplied AC power adapter/battery charger.

    Software and Computer Information

    Included Software: The included software allows you to transfer images and video from the camcorder to a computer hard drive and view and store transferred images/videos. The supplied CD-ROM includes:

    • Picture Motion Browser ver. 4.2.00
    • Product Registration

    Picture Motion Browser Software: You can enjoy the following functions after installing the supplied Picture Motion Browser Software to your PC.

    • importing and viewing movies and still images taken with your camcorder on your PC
    • editing movies and still images imported to a computer
    • creating an original DVD - you can create an original DVD from image data imported from you camcorder
    • you can copy all the images on a disc taken with your camcorder

    Computer Requirements: Picture Motion Browser (Windows)

    • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP SP3/Windows Vista SP1 (64-bit editions and Starter editions are not supported)
    • CPU: Intel Pentium III 1 GHz or faster
    • Memory: 256 MB or more
    • Hard Disk: Available free hard disk space for installation is required: approximately 500 MB (for creating a DVD, 5 GB or more may be required)
    • Display/Graphics: Minimum of 1024 x 768
    • Applications: DirectX 9.0c or later (This product is based on Direct X technology. It is necessary to have DirectX installed)
    • Others: Pre-installed USB 2.0 Hi-Speed port, DVD writeable disc drive, CD-ROM drive

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