Price (RRP): $1,399
The DCRDVD653’s major claim to fame is that it is one of the very first camcorders on the market of any type to allow the recording of 5.1 surround sound audio (but bear in mind that true 5.1 as heard in a cinema is not ‘natural’ – it is used for effects). To get the full effect however, you do need an optional 4 channel microphone.
On a standard DVD you can record 60 minutes in standard mode and 120 minutes in long play mode. Supplied software lets you edit stills and video into a final movie, although we think you’d be better off upgrading to Sony’s own Vegas package if you are a serious filmmaker.
Imagery from the 1/6th CCD is adequate and the 20x optical zoom should be more than enough for most. This model has a colour viewfinder.