The Sony DCR-HC62 doesn't look like anything special upon first glance. It's a MiniDV standard-definition camcorder; not exactly the kind of gadget that gets people excited these days. For the most part, yes, the HC62 is a regular old MiniDV camcorder, like every other one you've ever seen—with one exception.
Sony has seen fit to outfit the DCR-HC62 with a touch screen LCD, taking all the features and settings and buttons off the camcorder itself and replacing them with touch-sensitive icons that can be interacted with on the screen itself. It's a nice little perk, and though it's not entirely without its quirks, it's nice to see something of interest in these low-end budget camcorders.
If you've seen a MiniDV camcorder before, the Sony HC62 won't look unfamiliar. It's got a thin, lightweight body that conforms nicely to the palm of the hand. Even with the MiniDV cassette, it's not at all taxing to hold or carry. This lightness can be something of a downside, however, as it makes the camera a little more susceptible to shakes and hand movements than it would be if it had some heft.
As mentioned previously, most of the camcorders functions have been moved to the LCD screen, so the body of the camera itself is sparsely populated. In an unusual choice, Sony has duplicated several functions on both the body of the camera and the articulated LCD panel (these buttons sit just below the screen, and are not part of the touch screen itself).
Zooming in and out and staring or stopping recording can be done with the buttons in either location, though the left-hand controls on the LCD panel are not nearly as responsive or speedy. It's a strangely redundant layout that is more of a curiosity than a real problem.
The LCD touch screen interface operates quite well. The menus are clear and concise and the screen itself is very responsive. The only possible flaw is that the top-level menu buttons that allow you to access the camcorder's settings are thin, rectangular icons that sit very close to the edge of the LCD screen. These can be difficult to properly press, at times, and it's easy to get hung up on the beveled ledge when trying to tap the screen.
Not surprisingly, the quality of the Sony HC62's video was above average, and provided excellent results with vibrant color. It's not high-definition, but the HC62's video would be more than satisfying for those looking to record family memories, vacations, or special events like graduations and sporting events. The HC62 can be toggled between the regular square aspect ratio and a 16:9 widescreen mode, so even if you have an HDTV, you can enjoy widescreen (non HD) video without those annoying black pillar bars on either side.
For a camcorder of this class and price, the optical zoom seems somewhat underpowered at 25x. Comparable models from manufacturers like Canon and JVC can reach zooms of 35x or 40x. It's not clear why Sony's camcorder held back in this regard; perhaps it was necessary to fit in the technology for the touch screen LCD. Even so, the 25x zoom can be difficult to work with, as the camera is quite unstable at full extension, resulting in jittery video.
Conclusion: Cutting Edge Perks on a Budget
The Sony HC62 is a very good camcorder, and should you purchase it, you would not be disappointed with its performance. However, the price tag seems a little inflated when compared to the competition, most likely because of the touch screen LCD. If you really want that LCD bonus, maybe that doesn't matter to you, but if you're shopping for a cheap, affordable camcorder (which the HC62 is supposed to be), it might be hard to justify the extra cost.