The Good Great interlaced video quality; outstanding low-light performance; impressive battery life; smart lens cap.
The Bad No 24P or HD video; no professional audio connections or controls; no focus marks.
The Bottom Line This three-chip camera offers excellent video quality to amateurs, but it's not ready for professional prime time.
Sony's Handycam DCR-VX2100 is both successor to the DCR-VX2000 and grandchild of the groundbreaking DCR-VX1000, the first prosumer DV camera widely adopted by professionals. As the name indicates, the DCR-VX2100 is just a slightly improved DCR-VX2000, with slightly better low-light performance, slightly cleaner audio, and slightly more convenient controls. In other words, if you're looking for a three-chip camera, this one is a strong candidate, but if you already own the DCR-VX2000, it probably isn't worth the expense of upgrading.
What the DCR-VX2100 does--capture crisp, vibrant interlaced video on MiniDV cassettes--it does as well as or better than its competition. The catch is that the competition now offers features that this camcorder simply doesn't have, including professional audio connections, 24P and HD video, sophisticated image-parameter controls, and interchangeable lenses, to name a few. If you're after these cutting-edge features, look elsewhere. If you're familiar with Sony's DCR-VX1000 or DCR-VX2000, you'll be right at home with the Handycam DCR-VX2100. In fact, only close inspection will reveal that the DCR-VX2100 isn't a DCR-VX2000. Like the earlier models, this camera follows the classic Handycam design: a viewfinder centered on the back with the battery mounted below, a tape compartment and a zoom rocker on the right, a flip-out LCD monitor on the left, and a lens with zoom and focus rings protruding from the front, capped with a rectangular lens hood.