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[October 2022] I recently acquired a Sony DCR-PC5E Camcorder for a reasonable price. Such a good price in fact that I wondered if it might actually be faulty as the seller had only stated it was in good condition but lacking batteries. This sort of implied it was untested but I could see from the pictures of the bundle that the power lead adapter was included.

Sure enough, when I received the camcorder and connected it up, all seemed to be working. The only noticeable thing was that when switched on the camera would emit a "buzzing" noise; unfamiliar with these cameras I considered this was normal, or simply coming from the tape drive's motor spinning - the concern will be that when recording video the microphone will pick up the buzzing noise [indeed this is the case].

Included:
I was surprised to receive the camera in a large and sturdy carry case (not the original, more compact one, although the original 'Operating instructions' for that were found within!) - large enough to hold the camera and all the accessories.

The original RMT-812 remote was also found within (not mentioned in the listing, but actually necessary for some operations according to the manual, also included), along with Sony-branded AA batteries, and if these are original it is surprising they hadn't leaked; they're pretty flat. These cameras included either an RMT-812 or RMT-809 remote (I see the RMT-811 has a dedicated Record button, but I can only assume that remote will not work with this camera). The RMT-809 lacks some features, namely (from what I can tell) Indexing options.

Original PictureGear (version 4.1) software and User Guide for managing image files from a Memory Stick or computer's hard drive. The Guide states it is compatible with Windows 95/98/98 Second Edition or NT, which reveals the age of this gear. The manuals are copyrighted 2000. Version 5.1 is available here.

I ordered a replacement battery that is rated at 1440mAh. Higher capacity batteries are available but these are larger and thus add extra bulk to the camera. For the included cassette capacity I thought the battery I ordered should be well matched for the time being, at least until I decide what I might want to use the camera for, and upon fully charging and inserting the camera reported up to 90 minutes of charge, but of course that didn't mean 90 minutes of recording, since switching on and off and reviewing settings, and playing back occasionally, all use the battery.

It took me a moment to locate the Firewire socket on the camera (it's referred to as DV out). Along with other input/output sockets, including Mic, it's hidden under a cover alongside the batter area. I've never actually used a Firewire device before, although I already have the necessary cable and PCI-card.

The lens features 10x optical zoom (I avoid using digital zoom which can increase it to 30x). There is also night mode with infrared light.

The camera included its original 4MB Memory Stick and what follows are some 640x480 (0.3MP) captured photographs (click for full size):

 

[October 2022] My first round of photographs...




During this month I have also recorded some video segments from these walks.
Part the way through one walk the camera displayed a "Cleaning Cassette" message.
This eventually went away and allowed me to continue recording but in referring to the
manual it does indeed instruct to use a cleaning cassette. Looking into these, they are priced
at around 15 so I consulted Youtube for some other options. The advice is to avoid using a
cleaning cassette since these are abrasive, and instead use a CCD cleaning swab (right)
(not a cotton swab) with isopropyl alcohol. This video [link] provides a helpful review of the
procedure on a similar camera and I have ordered some swabs.

 

Originals: It was amusing to find that the memory stick still contained three pictures taken on an unknown date
(perhaps the camera's date/time hadn't been set):

 

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