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ChrisCDSMedia 03-11-2021 08:23 PM

Best Digital8 camcorder for capture?
I am currently working with lordsmurf on a system (2 s-vhs decks, TBC-4000) and need to find a Digital 8 (Video8/Hi8) camcorder.

After reviewing the list from I am still wondering if it matters which model is actually used.

Is there one better than the other? I have found several of these available and wondering if say DCR-TRV740 is any better than a DCR-TRV340? Or if they are all equivalent for playback...

Any advisement is helpful or even a rank of preferred models....


Digital8 with Video8/Hi8 playback and s-video:

BW37 03-12-2021 10:32 AM


Sorry for the lack of responses. I think part of the reason is that there do not seem to be strong "favorites" amongst the choices. What probably matters most is that the one you get is in good shape and performs to it's capabilities. From a pure playback performance standpoint, there don't seem to be big differences. However, there are differences in features and ease of use. Check out the spreadsheet in post 44 of the recommended list here for this information. You also may want to check the user manuals (Sony has most of them online) of the ones you are seriously considering just to confirm its features and capabilities.

For me, how the tape is loaded and where and what type of connections can make "handling" the camcorder easier for use as a capture playback device.

Lastly, if you are only capturing Hi8 and Video8 tapes (no Digital8) you might want to look for one of the later Sony Hi8 camcorders rather than a D8 camcorder. They have the same TBC and DNR so the playback "quality" is the same. Their advantage is that they don't have to "shift" gears from digital to analog to play an analog tape. In order to play back an analog tape the D8 camcorder has to identify it as analog and then adjust its playback settings to suit (including drum and tape speed). This actually takes a few frames to do and sometimes it simply fails and the particular D8 unit simply can't play that analog tape (or segment of tape). This potential failure to play some analog tapes is clearly stated in most of the Sony manuals.

I ended up with one of each (D8 and Hi8) and the Hi8 camcorder can capture a few more initial frames at the start of each scene. With home videos, there can be lots of separate scenes so potentially many initial frames to lose since most home videographers didn't pre-roll their videos and say "action" before they got that special smile on tape.

Hope this helps,

NJRoadfan 03-12-2021 12:21 PM

The camcorders are all identical in terms of tape playback. The difference in the models is mainly camcorder features like the image sensor.

bookemdano 03-12-2021 06:29 PM


Originally Posted by NJRoadfan (Post 75872)
The camcorders are all identical in terms of tape playback. The difference in the models is mainly camcorder features like the image sensor.

Well there are a couple of desirable upgrade features on the playback side--namely S-Video and stereo audio outputs. Obviously the latter doesn't matter if none of the original tapes are stereo, but there's no way to know if a tape is stereo without playing it on a stereo cam/deck, so IMHO it's better to look for a stereo model to cover your bases.

The advantages of S-Video are well documented. I think most of Sony's Hi8 lineup has it but worth double checking.

Not sure if every model had a line TBC but that's another key feature to look for.

What I would do is look at the spreadsheet that BW37 linked and compile a list of models that have those features. Then go to ebay and look and see what's available. I ended up with a TR615 but was looking at half a dozen models that all would have been equivalent (in terms of capture).

hodgey 03-12-2021 07:08 PM

The Hi8-capable Digital8 camcorders are pretty much the same for playback as far as I know, other than the DCR-TRVx10 models which I may lack TBC/DNR (it's not in the menu at least, so either it's missing or always on) and the DCR-TRV480 that lacks S-Video. One minor annoyance with the x30 and later models is that they changed the tape to eject downwards so you have to turn the camera around when ejecting. On the older ones the tape ejects upwards so you can eject/insert tapes while it is standing normally on the desk/table/whatever.

ChrisCDSMedia 03-15-2021 10:36 PM

@BW37 - Good point regarding D8 vs just the HI8 cameras -- I think I'll do the same as you...getting one of both.

For now I just have HI8 tapes I am looking at a CCD-TRV65/TRV615 or CCD-TRV93 camera. Both of these are available and at a reasonable price. They both have s-video out and TBC/DNR options.

Thanks to other for your feedback and suggestions.


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