Review of the Sony DVDirect (VRD-MC3)rn

Manufacturer: Sony
Model: DVDirect (VRD-MC3)
Price: £249

Since WDC first mentioned Sony’s rather attractive looking DVDirect we’ve been inundated with reader enquiries, and why not? The ‘multi-functional’ DVD recorder certainly looks interesting, allowing you to record videos and photos to DVD, direct from the source, whether it’s a memory card, video camera or indeed a video player. Not only that, but it will also create photo slideshows that can be viewed on a domestic DVD player and TV – all at the touch of a button, and without attaching it to a PC. As I quickly found out, though, it doesn’t deliver on its promise when it comes to the demands of the photographer. While the DVDirect can read photographic images from CompactFlash, xD, SD and MemoryStick (including MS Duo) using built-in card slots, it’s a JPEG-only unit and unlike most standalone DVD recorders it simply won’t recognise files of any other format, let alone copy them. So, even if you only want to back up your Raw files, without viewing them on the 2.5in LCD you’re going to be out of luck.

However, creating DVD slideshows is incredibly straightforward and you can set the DVDirect to automatically create a show when it copies your images. This means all you have to do is insert a blank disk, insert your media card, choose your images and hit ‘record’. Once the files have been copied (at a rate of roughly 1Gb per 15 minutes) the DVDirect will create the slideshow (taking about twice as long again) and you can remove your disk, pop it in your DVD player, sit back and enjoy the show…

Or at least you could if the picture quality wasn’t so poor. Even at its ‘best’ quality setting and viewed on a modest 17in screen, the shows created with the DVDirect display horrendous compression artefacts and pixellated ‘jaggies’ that simply ruin the pictures. Furthermore, ‘upright’ images aren’t rotated, so all your portraits will be shown on their side and – for reasons known only to Sony – there’s no rotate option to be found. Why?

What Digital Camera Score:68 %