Sony Digital 8 Handycam DCR-TRV520 Hi8 8mm Camcorder

  • $399.99
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The Sony DCR-TRV520 is a Digital8 camcorder made by Sony in 2000. It has a 3.5" diagonal (8.9cm) LCD with the volume and brightness buttons on its side. It also has a black-and-white CRT viewfinder that tilts but does not telescope. It is slightly larger and heavier than the MiniDV Handycams of its time.

The DCR-TRV520 is one of Sony's Digital8 camcorders that has the capability of playing back analog Video8 and Hi8 tapes, and it can digitize them in real time. This versatility makes it an ideal model for tape digitization services.


Camera, Straps, Lens Cap, New Batterie, Manual, AC Power Adapter / Charger, AV Cable

  • 20x Optical Zoom and 450x Digital Zoom
  • MemoryStick Slot for Still Photos
  • Backlit timecode/battery display on back of LCD that also displays the format that is being played (with a blue backlight)
  • Automatic and manual focus
  • S-Video, A/V, and IEEE-1394 jacks that can be used as inputs or outputs
  • Review Button
  • NightShot with Super NightShot and Super Laser Link
  • Fader, Picture Effects (Negative Art, Sepia, Black & White, Solarize, Slim, Stretch, Pastel, Mosaic), Digital Effects (Still, Flash, Lumikey, Trail, Slow Shutter, Old Movie)
  • Can record in 16:9 or 4:3
  • SteadyShot video stabilizer that only works when recording in 4:3
  • Sony Intelligent Accessory Shoe
  • Tape is inserted from top
  • LANC Jack (requires updated RM-95 unit)
  • 3.5" LCD
  • Black and white viewfinder, tilts
  • Can play back (but not record) analog Hi8 and Video8 recordings.

Distinctive Features

  • Blue-backlit auxiliary LCD: Distinguishes the unit as a Digital8 camcorder.
  • Blue trim that wraps around auxiliary LCD: Distinguishes the unit as a Digital8 camcorder. See also the DCR-TRV720 and TRV820.
  • The button panel on top flips open to reveal the eject button and tape compartment. 
  • The power switch is a knob that rotates around the record/pause button, with a green button to lock it in place.
  • There is an actual focus ring around the lens.
  • The volume and brightness buttons are located on the LCD panel, but they are to the side of the screen as opposed to on the edge.
  • A lot of Sony's Digital8 camcorders shared a chassis with a series of analog 8mm camcorders. This is not the case with the DCR-TRV520 or any members of the unofficial DCR-TRVx20 series.

Other Features

  • CC Pass-Through: Most Sony DV units have the ability to pass Line 21 closed captioning data (EIA-608-A) from DV to A/V and vice versa, and this one is no exception.
  • PAL Compatibility: The NTSC-based DCR-TRV520 has the ability to play back PAL Digital8 tapes. It will output a PAL DV signal through FireWire, but the A/V output will be NTSC-50 (so it would play on a PAL TV in black-and-white without proper conversion). The image in the viewfinder will jump, however, due to the different frame rate.
  • The DCR-TRV520 can also record in PAL from a FireWire stream. To record from a computer, the streaming software must recognize the unit as a PAL camcorder, or the stream will either be converted to NTSC or will not display (or record) correctly. Similarly, the PAL model (DCR-TRV520E) can play (and presumably record) NTSC tapes. 
  • The TRV520 is not capable of playing PAL analog 8mm tapes. According to a Sony note, 
  • none of their Digital8 units are. The PAL units (including the TRV520E) can play both analog and digital NTSC 8mm with no limiations.