Sony DCR-PC330: test and review

The Sony Handycam DCR-PC330 is expensive, but its 3-megapixel CCD sensor allows it to produce excellent video and good digital photos. As a camcorder, the video quality and feature set allow it to par with the best models in Sony’s unique component. As a camera, it sometimes takes satisfactory enough shots to allow them to enlarge 20×30 cm format. The PC330 certainly suffers from some minor flaws, but it can sometimes substitute for your camcorder and digital camera when you can not take both with you.


With its vertical design, the Sony Handycam DCR-PC330 offers a good grip and gives a solid feel. Although quite compact, robust construction camcorder is light, displaying a weight of 640.7 grams, cassette and battery installed.

We appreciate the folding finger rest that lets you use his little finger and ring finger to stabilize the camcorder. The thumb is placed naturally on the START / STOP button and forefinger on the zoom button. The controls are arranged intelligently and clearly identified.

Compared with previous versions, the touch screen menu system of the PC330 includes additional animation and best looking graphics. You can customize the menus, the system is extremely simple to understand and use. However, the touch screen of the camcorder is still not unanimously. Some like the intuitive interface and others do not support opening the LCD to access menus.


The Sony Handycam DCR-PC330 stands out for its 3-megapixel CCD sensor that can take pictures at full resolution. Its video resolution of 2.1 megapixels is also sensational. Combine these features with excellent Carl Zeiss lens, integrated flash and features developed by holographic laser and night-framing (which displays an infrared glimpse for framing in low light), and you have the necessary enjoy a digital camera perfectly acceptable within your camcorder.

Measuring and setting the spot point functionality in Sony camcorders are two new useful applications of the touch screen. However, the manual exposure control is not suitable for use via the touch screen, we would prefer to have a physical control on the camcorder body. Some Sony models can not be used simultaneously progressive mode (non-interlaced) and the image stabilizer, but this is not the case of PC330. To record video intervals (the blossoming of a flower, for example), use the “Interval” mode.

The infrared mode “NightShot” allows shooting at night, even in total darkness, but the images will have a monochrome green tint (Paris Hilton style). Unfortunately, this model does not include zebra, which indicate overexposed areas outside the range. Another feature will default to fans: you can not manually control the sound level, as you can with the Canon Optura 300 and Optura Xi Canon.


With the DCR-PC330, Sony seems to have corrected the hypersensitivity of the previous models zoom controls. It is now possible to use the slow and controlled manner without zoom it stops or accelerates unintentionally. We would have liked the remote zoom control switch as it offers a variable zoom speed, especially at low speeds. Autofocus is relatively quick and decisive, as we have seen on all Sony camcorders. The drive mechanism of the cassette and zoom are quiet and well away from the microphone. This remarkably capture the voices in conventional situations and offer a satisfactory quality for group scenes.

The Hologram Autofocus Sony system works very well to make the development snapshots in low or no light. The “NightFraming” proves meanwhile extremely useful for taking photos in the same lighting conditions.

Image quality

The performance of the Sony Handycam DCR-PC330 in video image quality are very similar to those of previous mixed models (professional and consumer) the manufacturer, such as the DCR-TRV39 and the DCR-TRV80. Sharper, the PC330 images present very distinct outlines. As with all Sony camcorders, automatic color temperature of PC330 tends more towards the cold, the colors are more vivid than a neutral white balance under artificial lighting guy, but this defect is not pronounced at the point ‘to be disagreeable. The camcorder’s video performance in standard conditions of use under lower light are relatively good, the PC330 uses a net gain (you can not control manually) to increase the amount of available light. When the brightness decreases below the standard mode capabilities, the use of functions “NightShot” or “Color Slow Shutter” allows you to continue filming, despite the appearance of some special effects. (The infrared mode “NightShot” produces monochrome images at night, the “Color Slow Shutter” mode generates streaks and more or less artistic blurred).

Still photos we printed on photo paper in a local laboratory have proved excellent quality (using a process that created a negative from the file). They remained just fine even when enlarged to 20×30 cm format. In contrast, in low light conditions, the clich├ęs of PC330 were not as satisfactory as videos. Printed on an Epson Stylus Photo 2200, our pictures suffered from blurred and noise, we advise you to enlarge and print them. Overall, the cliches of PC330 are markedly better than those of a lambda camcorder. However, despite their lower resolution, the Canon Optura 300 and Optura Xi Canon produce a final picture of higher quality.