With the stability of its shoulder mount design, light weight, and long list of innovative and convenience features, it is no wonder the Sony DSR-250 Camcorder has become the prototypical event-video production camera for shooters big and small. The DSR-250 can record in the professional DVCAM format or the consumer DV format, and it accepts both large and small cassettes for a maximum recording time greater than 3 hours.
Sony's equipped the DSR-250 with three 1/3" 380,000-pixel CCD sensors, which give it great bright and low light quality. They're also somewhat adjustable by the user for camera-to-camera repeatability and better control. The DSR-250's 12x zoom lens has Sony's Super SteadyShot that accepts 58mm filters, and there's many adapters on the market to mount directly to it for wider angle or telephoto work.
The DSR-250 accepts analog composite (RCA) and S-Video for input and output, allowing operators to use standard home-type VCRs for source material, but also uses the digital Firewire (IEEE-1394, I-Link) for the modern age. The professional-quality DXF-801 viewfinder has 600 lines of horizontal resolution, and a 200,000-pixel LCD monitor to allows you to compose shots without your eye upon the viewfinder.
Other great functions of the DSR-250 include time/date stamp, built-in transition modes, still image capture, 2 channels of built-in balanced audio, and a PowerTap DC output for on-camera lighting.
- CCDs and DSP
Sony has equipped the DSR-250 with 3 1/3 inch CCDs containing 380,000 pixels each. The chips' high technology result in low smear levels giving the camera great bright scene image quality. And a high signal to noise ratio means that the camera will operate effectively in low light conditions also.
The DSR-250 allows you to set custom picture looks by adjusting the different parameters within the Digital Signal Processor. Now you can match multiple cameras for various color requirements. The custom settings may be recalled at a later time.
- 12 x Optical Zoom Lens with Super SteadyShot
The DSR-250 has a dedicated, non-detachable zoom lens that has a 6mm wide angle. Conveniently, the lens accepts 58 mm screw on filters and accessories. There are a number of lens adapters that will mount directly onto the lens.
With the stability of shoulder mounting the camera, all but the most accomplished camera operator will generate a certain amount of subtle hand-shake. Image stabilization comes from the optical system Super SteadyShot. The SteadyShot system checks for horizontal and vertical movements and corrects them with a small motor hundreds of times per second. All this is accomplished without digitally degrading the image.
- DVCAM Professional Recording Format
- Using a steeper track pitch, the DVCAM format lays down more information onto the tape frame for frame than the DV consumer format. And DVCAM locks audio to video for drift-free long duration recording. The technical numbers speak volumes: 8-bit component recording, 5:1 intra-frame compression and 4:1:1 color sampling. The DVCAM format offers realistic color and contrast quality, multi-generation dubbing capacity, and worldwide compatibility. The DSR-250 accepts large and small cassettes and will even record in the consumer format DV. Maximum tape length is over 3 hours.
- SMPTE Standard Time-Code
- The DSR-250's professional features include striping SMPTE time-code. Set hours, minutes, seconds and frames to best identify individual tapes. You also chose from FREE-RUN and REC-RUN and DF (drop-frame) and NDF (non-drop-frame) for consistency throughout your production. User-bits, alphanumeric coding, can be set to give additional information to the editor or producer.
- Analog and Digital Ins and Outs
- The DSR-250 will accept both analog Composite (RCA) and S-Video for input and output. This allows the operator to use standard home-type VCRs for source material and most standard televisions to playback the video. The digital Firewire (IEEE-1394, I-Link) interface is both input and output (as always).
- Sophisticated Titling Functions
- Using the more expensive IC chip cassettes gives you some interesting features including saving titles to the cassette's memory. These titles are not super-imposed on top of the video, but are displayed during playback. Use this function as an indexing function. In addition, the DSR-250 also has a tape title function that displays a title on the tape during the first 5 seconds of the recording.
- Professional Quality Viewfinder
- A DXF-801 viewfinder with 600 lines of horizontal resolution is standard with the DSR-250. The CRT is a 1.5 inch B/W, very similar to the DXC-D35 standard viewfinder. The viewfinder has a lens light to illuminate the rear of the lens in conditions with poor ambient light.
- LCD Monitor
- With 200,000 pixels and great picture quality, the LCD screen allows you to compose the shots while your eye is off the eyepiece. It also allows the producer to see what the operator sees in the viewfinder. The LCD monitor makes setting menu selections easier also. Now carrying a heavy field monitor from location to location is probably not required.
- Time and Date Stamp
- As required by legal deposition videographers, the DSR-250 has a time/date stamp. This feature gives you the ability to insert (super-impose) time and date onto the lower third of the frame.
- Built-in Transition Selections
Five fader modes are built into the DSR-250 for professional looking in-camera effects.
- Black Fade- In and Out
- Monotone Fade- From black and white to color
- Overlap- Last image becomes still and overlaps into new scene
- Wipe-From left to right or right to left
- Dot- Picture breaks into dots and dissipates
- Capture Still Images in JPEG
- In a pinch, the DSR-250 will record still images in 640 x 480 (VGA) resolution on a Memory Stick media card. The 4mb card will hold a approximately 60 images. Once the images are stored, you can download the data to a computer and manipulate the images with software. Furthermore, you have the ability to e-mail these images for review at another location or at another time.
- Audio Section
- The DSR-250 records onto 2 channels of balanced audio built right into the camera. XLR connectors on the front and rear of the camera allow you to connect almost any professional microphone, wired or wireless. In addition, you may chose to record line-level audio (the type that comes from a CD player, audio cassette deck, or from cable or broadcast TV). You may also choose to supply 48-volt power (Phantom power) to special microphones that require such power.
- PowerTap DC Output for On-Camera Lights
- No longer do you have to wear a heavy battery belt to power an on-camera sun-gun. The DSR-250 has a special 2-pin DC PowerTap output specifically for powering camera-mounted lights. PowerTap was first available only on Anton Bauer lights but now a good selection of companies produce units that will plug directly into the camera.