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Sony Handycam DCR-SR47 review: Sony Handycam DCR-SR47

Sony Handycam DCR-SR47

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
4 min read

The Handycam DCR-SR47 is Sony's entry-level hard-drive-based standard-definition camcorder. The main attractions are its small size, large storage capacity, and megazoom lens. It's also fairly easy to use partly because of the touch-screen-based menu navigation and partly because of its dearth of shooting options. However, as with most camcorders in its class, the video results are mediocre--especially if you're watching them full screen on a large HDTV or are used to the detail of high-definition content.


Sony Handycam DCR-SR47

The Good

Simple operation; 60x zoom lens; 60GB hard drive; small.

The Bad

Soft video; noticeable purple fringing on subjects.

The Bottom Line

If storage amount, zoom range, and easy operation are on your list of needs before video quality, check out the Sony Handycam DCR-SR47.

If you're not terribly concerned with video quality and want a reasonably priced camcorder that's easy to use, has a megazoom lens, and can fit in a large coat pocket, this Sony is worth checking out.

Key specs Sony Handycam DCR-SR47
Price (MSRP) $399.99
Dimensions 2.4x2.8x4.5 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 11 ounces
Storage capacity, type 60GB; Memory Stick Pro Duo
Resolution, sensor size, type 680K pixels, 1/8-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution 2.7-inch LCD, 123K pixels (touch screen)
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 60x, f1.8-6.0, 39-2,340mm (16:9), 44-2,640mm (4:3) (35mm equivalent)
Minimum illumination 6 lux
File format (video, audio) MPEG-2, Dolby Digital 2-channel stereo
Resolution (video/photo) 720x480/640x480
Recording time at highest quality 15 hours, 10 minutes
Image stabilization type Mechanical and electronic
Inputs/Outputs None/Mini-USB, AV terminal
Battery type, rated life Li ion rechargeable, 90 minutes

Available in blue, black, or red versions, the SR47 is a cute little camcorder. Its physical controls are textbook camcorder design with a start/stop button at the back and zoom rocker up top in front of a shutter release for snapshots in Photo mode. The whole package is roughly the size of soda can. The hand strap is comfortable if a little low and because hard drives have become so small and light, there's barely a bump encasing it making the body mostly lens.

The battery juts from the back; below it is the Memory Stick Pro Duo card slot and power input. Up front below the lens is a small door hiding an AV output. Flip open the touch-screen display (there is no viewfinder), and you'll find a row of buttons in the body cavity for power; turning off and on display information; direct-to-DVD recording using Sony's $149 VRD-P1 DVDirect DVD burner; an Easy button that locks down the camcorder's few advanced features; and changing over to Playback mode. There's also a button that instantly adjusts exposure for backlit subjects. The last of the I/O ports are in this cavity, too: an uncovered Mini-USB port.

The touch-screen menu system is good for those who don't make a lot of changes. In other words, it's responsive, but can get a little confusing for those unfamiliar with Sony's Menu and Home buttons. Pressing Menu gives you access to context-sensitive shooting options, and Home gets you access to everything else. The main problem with this is remembering what functions rest where. (Fortunately, Sony put the menu tree in print in the manual that comes with the SR47.) With little practice, though, the system makes sense and even full operation--not just point and record--becomes simple.

Features Sony Handycam DCR-SR47
White balance Auto, Outdoor, Indoor, Manual
Scene modes Auto, Twilight, Candle, Sunrise & Sunset, Fireworks, Landscape, Portrait, Spotlight, Sports, Beach, Snow
Focus Auto, Manual, Spot AF, Tele Macro
Color effects None
Lens cover (auto or manual) Manual
Accessory shoe No
Video light/Flash No/No

This camcorder was designed for hassle-free recording and as such doesn't have a lot of extra shooting options. A majority of my field testing was done with the SR47 set to Auto for white balance, scene selection, and focus and it performed satisfactorily. There are more scene options if you chose to get specific and the same goes for white balance. Also, should you want to be more hands-on with focus and exposure, you can control both by touching the spot onscreen you'd like the camcorder to draw its information from.

For its low-end status, the SR47 performs reasonably well. It has an instant-on option that gets the camcorder powered up and ready to record very fast simply by opening the LCD (not an uncommon feature, but nice nonetheless). The autofocus is responsive, but when zoomed out it does hunt trying to focus, particularly in low-light conditions. The rated battery life for the included pack is 90 minutes of continuous shooting; expect less if you're frequently turning it on and off and reviewing clips. Extended life batteries are available, one of which Sony claims has a life of up to 11 hours of continuous shooting.

Video quality overall is very soft; the only time a somewhat sharp picture was obtained was in Tele Macro mode. Clips also display quite a bit of noise and digital artifacts until you scale down to YouTube-size dimensions. This includes noticeable purple fringing around subjects. If you still live completely in a low-resolution world, recordings are destined for video-sharing Web sites, or simply want to capture the moment no matter how it looks, the SR47 will suffice. Colors look good and white balance is respectable, too. Though low-light video had its share of noise, the results were actually decent. Lastly, while the camcorder does take still shots, you'll likely get better photos out of a camera phone.

It's true you can get much better video from an HD camcorder that costs $100 to $200 more. However, standard-definition video is less demanding to play and edit on an average desktop or laptop, and SD camcorders are less expensive. With the Sony Handycam DCR-SR47 you're trading off video quality for a lot of storage and a 60x zoom lens. Of course, it's small, lightweight, and easy to use, too. Just don't expect HD when you're paying for SD.

Find out more about how we test camcorders.


Sony Handycam DCR-SR47

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 6Image quality 6