Home » Camcorders » Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station)

Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station)

Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station)
Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station)


Product Added : March 27th, 2013
Category : Camcorders

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Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station)


Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station)

Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station)

  • 1/3-inch CCD imager with with 3.3-megapixel resolution
  • MiniDV recording format offers up to 530 lines of horizontal resolution
  • 10x optical zoom with Super SteadyShot picture-stabilization system
  • 2.7-inch high-resolution touch-panel SwivelScreen LCD display rotates up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles
  • Super NightShot Plus Infrared System captures natural-looking video in low light

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What customers say about Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station)?

  1. 413 of 419 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Arguably the best choice in early 2006, April 8, 2006
    By 
    Macauley86 (California, United States) –
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station) (Electronics)

    I have been doing research for months and really wanted to buy a Panasonic PV-GS400. Its video quality, four-way ring, 3.5″ LCD, 16:9 cinema mode, and overall prosumer features made it a camcorder legend (read review on www.camcorderinfo.com). I missed the boat, though, since it has been replaced by the PV-GS500, which is not the same camcorder. So I opted for this Sony. This camcorder takes excellent video, make no mistake; just check the reviews on CNET and especially Camcorderinfo for more technical information on this. After all my research, I feel that this is the best overall family camcorder because it is very user-friendly for all the technophobes out there, but it also allows some manual control for the user that wants to explore more advanced (read: manual) features. Word of caution: these more advanced features are accessed via LCD menu, and do not have one-push buttons or rings like the PV-GS400 or other higher end prosumer cameras, but rearranging the LCD menu and putting controls like spot focus, spot meter, focus, exposure, and white balance in the first screen of the p-menu makes this little (literally) camera far more usable. The review on camcorderinfo made it sound like rearranging the LCD menu was a job for the gods of technology. It is not. I read the manual in a half hour, and after another half hour all the menu items had been sorted based on my preferences: it’s just a matter of pressing p-menu on the LCD, scrolling all the way down, selecting the p-menu options, pressing the Sort button, and then moving the buttons around according to your preference. Now, it is really important to move all the buttons I mentioned above (spot focus and meter, focus, exposure, and especially white balance) to the first screen if you want to keep your sanity. The reason is simple: you will be using some of these features a lot. White balance, for example, offers four options: auto, outdoor, indoor, and one-push. If you want faithful reproduction of color, take my advice: use one-push. I noticed that the indoor option takes an orangey video, but if you get a white/grey card (you should, it’s about $18 for a Kodak one here on Amazon) or use any white surface (the back of a notebook for example) under the same light as your subject, frame it with your LCD and press one-push under the white balance menu option, your video will have a perfect color reproduction. Do you see why you want to have white balance in the first p-menu screen?
    Other things you should do: enable 16:9 and also 30p (if you have an HD TV or watch your movies on a computer screen) so that you do not have the flickering of 60i interlaced mode; enable the zebra pattern feature (at 100) to see what parts of your frame are over-exposed; enable 16bit audio (default is 12bit) for higher audio quality; enable guideframe (the criss-cross-like option to help you shot video according to the rule of thirds. If you do not know what the rule of thirds is, google it. It is a very important composition guideline unless you are Steven Spielberg. Then again, if you were Steven Spielberg, you would not be reading reviews on this kind of camera, would you?). Once all this is done, there are a few other things you need to do if you want to convince your friends to watch your home videos and actually enjoy them:
    - Get a microphone; the on-camera mic is bad. Get the HCM-HST1 with its funny windscreen (you will see and laugh) or the new $199 bluetooth lavalier ECM-HW1 if you have the dough; with the former you have to be close to your subject to get good sound; with the latter, your subject can be up to 30 meters (I think, check the specs) away and still get very good sound. An external mic is, along with extra battery and tripod, a must. You will thank me later;
    - Get the NP-FP71 battery. It lasts a couple of hours with the LCD open; this way you will not run out of juice while your kid is giving the performance of a lifetime; I was considering the FP90 battery for extra juice, but it is very, very big. Not worth it unless you are planning on shooting the next Sundance indie masterpiece;
    - Don’t forget the Sony BCTRP battery charger since you are at it;
    - Get the Sony ND filter package (and maybe the Polarizing package if shooot at water, metals, windows…) to shoot outside;
    - Get a firewire cable to connect your camcorder to your Mac or PC; it is better than the USB cable that comes with the camera;
    - Get a tripod. People get sea-sick when watching shaky, hand-held home videos. Disable the camcorder’s Steadyshot feature when you use a tripod. It is not necessary and reduces overall resolution. Remember to re-enable it if you are forced to shoot hand-held. The Sony $127 VCT870RM is an excellent choice for this camcorder. It is light, yet sturdy and with a pro look and feel. It offers smooth (very important) panning and tilting, and you can control your camcorder directly from the tripod’s handle (record/stop, zoom,…

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  2. 168 of 169 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Why you may want (or wouldn’t want) the HC96:, March 13, 2006
    By 
    C. Emch
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station) (Electronics)

    My HC96 is about 3 weeks old and I thought others might be able to benefit from more online feedback.

    Why you may want to buy it:

    Low Light Ability: The ability to take home movies both indoors and out, in all sorts of lighting, was among the most important criteria for me…and this is where the HC96 tremendously outshines others in this price range.

    Ease of Use: Not much is easier than pressing the “easy” button, and the results are still great. Simple for the whole family to use without having to read a manual. Again, best in this price range.

    Video Quality: Great results, with a picture that seems as good as the 3CCD camcorders out there. Competitive with best in this price range.

    Size: I personally like the size, able to be held and operated comfortably with one hand, small but not too small, and buttons are in logical positions (I didn’t like the button placement on the last version of this camcorder, the HC90..again personal preference…my suggestion is to go to a store and try them out before buying).

    DV Tape: I realize that this is “old camcorder technology”, but it takes great quality footage…and can be edited easily on PC or Mac… which is why I stayed away from DVD camcorders.

    Why you may not:

    Manual Control: It has some, but most is imbedded in touchscreen menus. If you are a manual video control freak, this is not the best option compared to others I tested in this price range.

    Size: The camcorder actually got a little bigger from the HC90 I tried (nothing significant). While I consider it small and portable for what it does, others may want a smaller “matchbook style” camcorder that increases portability further. I couldn’t hold the matchbook style options with any comfort.

    Media type: Some people may not want to tinker with their recorded footage. If this is the case, I’d just go with a DVD camcorder in this price range with a similar 1/3 size CCD (larger is better for low light ability). As for the hard disk options I looked it.. personally, the video quality was not in the same league as Mini DV and DVD footage.

    Handycam station: It’s an addition to last year’s model, and I don’t like it. To me, it’s another extra component to carry, store, and keep track of. I’d rather have the connections directly on the camcorder. Some, though, may prefer the station approach (hook it up once, then just set the camcorder into it to connect to PC or Mac…P.S. it works seemlessly with Mac OSX 10.3 and IMovie HD)

    Conclusion:

    This camcorder is for point and shooters who want to computer edit great quality footage. If you are willing to spend the extra for a larger CCD to get the low light and video quality, this is the camcorder of choice. Serious hobby shooters and artists may want to stay away…they should opt for something else for the controls they’ll need.

    4 1/2 Stars for family movie point and shooters. 3 Stars for Hobby and Film Artists.

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  3. 80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Great First Camcorder, April 20, 2006
    By 
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV 3.3MP Digital Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Includes Handycam Station) (Electronics)

    Francesco has done a great take on maximizing use of the DCR-HC96 and on its good features. I am a first-time camcorder buyer and want to provide a non-geeky take on this purchase. (I’m a geek in other parts of my life, but I’m missing the camera gene–I just don’t care: I want the pictures. Please.)

    First: I nearly had a stomachache over this purchase (DVD or DV? Sony or Panasonic? Etc.), but now that I’ve had the camcorder for a couple of weeks, I love it. It feels nice, it’s fine for small hands, and the buttons are all different enough so they’re hard to confuse. The menu on the LCD is very easy to toggle through, and the lightest of touches will work. The manual was clear, though I understood what to do almost without reading it.

    Even more to the point, in Easy mode, this camcorder does great, at least for my needs. Yes, you can get more out of the camera if you venture into the menu. But I took some short clips around the house, at night and during the day, and then Ifilmed a church service, with great results–all on Easy mode. The colors were pop-out bright and clear, the pictures had lots of definition, and there were no odd tones. Yes, it’s true: this camera performs well in low light, and by “low light” camcorder manufacturers mean anywhere indoors under normal indoor lighting conditions. It even performs ok when the conditions are worse than that, and I have the “cute cat moment” tapes to prove it.

    You may wonder why I didn’t go for the DVD camcorder. First, I wanted more editorial control over the files than the current generation of DVD camcorders allows. I’ve been very satisfied with editing files with the OEM version of Nero that came with my Memorex DVD burner (again, very easy to use). Second, I bought this camcorder primarily for indoor taping of church services. DV lasts an hour or so; DVD, 20 minutes, plus you have to finalize the DVD in the camera before changing it out. There’s nothing difficult about popping in a DV tape, and the transfer proved (almost) easy, though see my discussion of Firewire, below. Nevertheless, I can see where the DVD counterpart to the DCR-HC96 would have its appeal. In three years we’ll be using something different, anyway!

    As for the case, after contemplating several cases that have STEAL ME I’M A CAMCORDER written all over them, and also seem huge, I’m going to do what I did for my laptop, and sew a custom case made from quilted fabric lined with foam, and then it’s going into a backpack or a purse, depending on the trip. This thing is SMALL; I took it to church in a large ziplock bag tucked in my purse–not recommended for general transport, but that gives you the idea! You might not want to buy a case until you’ve seen the camcorder, in any event.

    I have not purchased an external microphone, and probably won’t for a while. Indoors, with the camera a few feet from a family member, it wasn’t needed. The voices were remarkably clear, and I did not hear the camcorder’s own sound. At church, the voices were clear (I was taping three pews back; note that everyone in the pulpit was miked). Is it professional-quality sound? Of course not, but it’s decent enough for most of us (the Easy button crowd). I may move up to a microphone, but I don’t feel I have to, anyway.

    The docking station is a dumb idea, because if you’re using an external tripod you’ve just lost the benefit of a quick-release shoe, which you have to remove to dock the camera. Sony, what were you thinking? The camcorder gains almost nothing from putting those ports on a second dock. Other than that, the dock doesn’t bother me. You don’t need the dock to charge the camcorder (but thank you, Francesco, for anticipating the “which battery” question I was just researching).

    On the other hand, the automatic lens cap is wonderful. Sony, you understand me!

    The Sony software, included, does a fine job transferring the files to my computer. It couldn’t be easier.

    I bought a tripod, and yes, that’s a good purchase. Amazon has a number of tripods under $20. You don’t need the most expensive as long as you aren’t going to wander away from the tripod with the camera on it. I compared filming I did with and without the tripod, and even with the camcorder braced against my face (using the viewfinder), there’s a tiny bit of a “Blair Witch Project” wiggly feel to the non-tripod films. Still, if Baby gets up and starts taking her first steps, don’t feel you need to set up tripod, reflector, external mike, etc.–just pick up this camcorder and let ‘er roll! You are almost certain to be very pleased with the results (and again, I found closing the LCD and using the viewfinder resulted in much less wiggle).

    The first purchases you should make (aside from several DV tapes) are a Firewire card and cable. Save yourself frustration: do not believe the Sony manual that you can successfully burn DVDs from film…

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