When it comes to product designs, there are few that can go head to head with Sony. For instance the previously reviewed HDR-CX150 said a lot about the company’s ability to build small and compact camcorder. The DCR-SR68E on the other hand might not be as compact as the CX150 but includes a decent amount of recording space and zoom to justify its size.
In terms of build quality the Sony DCR-SR68E leaves very little to complain about. The camcorder measures in at 56 x 65 x 115 mm making it compact enough to be cusped within your palm. The video capture button is placed towards the rear while the still image capture button is placed just behind the zoom rocker. However, it is the placement of the image capture button that feels a little out of place. In other words the shutter release button is placed at such an awkward position that it actually makes you stretch the index finger. Another aspect that most of us would not like is the placement of the selection mode. With the mode placed towards the extreme left it is actually impossible to switch between picture and video mode using one hand. Moreover the camcorder doesn’t allow you to take pictures when in video mode or vice versa without changing modes.
The plus point however is the camcorders massive 60x optical zoom along with 80 GB of recording space. That apart, the DCR-SR68E also features an SD card slot that supports an additional 32 GB of flash memory. This is not something unique as most camcorders these days come built with this option. Moreover being a mid-range camcorder the Sony SR68E does not support recording in HD, however records in three other modes which include High Quality (20 hours), Standard Quality (29 hours) and Low Quality (61 hours).
The overall interface remains the same as the HDR-CX150 with almost no changes. However, just for your knowledge, the Sony SR68E has a total of eight different scene modes such as Twilight, Fireworks, Sunrise and Sunset, Landscape, Portrait, Spotlight, Beach and Snow. There is also the Auto mode that the camcorder can be set to if in case you are not too comfortable with choosing the various modes. Having said that, the camcorder features an integrated LED that allows you to capture video even in pitch darkness.
The DCR-SR68E comes with a fully functional 2.7-inch touch screen that’s quite vibrant and crisp. But the overall crispness of the screen only holds true when viewed under a shade. Take it into a brightly lit area and the screen almost turns into a mirror. All you get to see is your reflection when recording or viewing your video. The screen is so reflective that it makes it near impossible to view the video. However what remains at its best is the responsive and precise touch panel that works pretty darn well. The only complaint that I have is the press and scroll feature as it wasn’t quite what I had expected. A considerable amount of pressure had to be applied to make it work.
When it comes to picture quality there isn’t much you can complain about. The Sony DCR-SR68E performs quite well and delivers a decent blend of color and contrast that is commendable. Unlike other camcorders that we have tested, the DCR-SR68E does a very good job at maintaining the overall saturation of blues and reds. Skin tones were also close to exceptional as the results produced were quite sharp and detailed. There isn’t much noticeable fringing unless the video is shot under direct sunlight. However the overall fringing does multiply when you zoom into the subject. Even though the camcorder features 60x of optical zoom, it cannot be considered as one of the best. Reason being, the camcorders Image Stabilization really struggles to maintain a steady frame when shooting. So shooting beyond 80 percent of its zoom will require you to either use a tripod or you will need to place the camcorder on a steady surface.
The DCR-SR68E performs decently well under low light but then there were focusing issues. The camcorder literally struggles to focus when a quick zoom is performed. Forcing you to zoom out and then zoom in slowly and patiently. This doesn’t only seem to be the problem with the DCR-SR68E but also with their higher end model, such as the previously reviewed Sony HDR-CX150.
Apart from the few minor issues mentioned the camcorder does a good job at recording videos. Apart from that what you get is a camcorder that allows you to record 20 hours of video without spending a penny on an external card. All in all, the Sony DCR-SR26E is a decent camcorder that’s reasonably priced at Rs. 19,990.
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