The camcorder can record still images to a Memory Stick Pro Duo card at a maximum resolution of 1152 by 864 which is about 1 mega pixel. The DCR-HC42 fits well in the hand and it is light enough to be carried around all day. The camcorder is 2 inches thick and 4.5 inches long, a size that should just squeeze into a large pocket. While the controls sit comfortably under the fingers.
The DCR-HC42 is the midrange camcorder in Sony's DCR-HC series. Like the rest of the DCR-HC line this model is fairly easy to use, with great automatic controls and the Easy Handy-cam mode. Easy Handy-cam leaves all image quality control decisions to the camcorder. The DCR-HC42 separates itself from its smaller sibling with a larger image as well as bigger 2.7" 16:9 LCD screen. It is the most affordable camcorder on the market to offer such a feature. As with the Sony DCR-DVD403, the zoom and record controls are duplicated around the 2.7-inch wide-aspect LCD, which looked great in all but direct sunlight. Most camcorders, when shooting in 16:9 mode, display the video with black bars at the top and bottom, resulting in a smaller image; but, its wide-aspect LCD lets the HC42 use the whole screen, which means you can see the image much better.
For recharging and linking to the PC, the camcorder docks in the included Handy-cam Station, which is also where the USB 2.0 and Fire-Wire ports are. To recharge the camera you need not connect it to the dock, instead you can charge the device directly from a power source. The device accepts Sony Memory Stick Duo media for the storage needs. The camcorder has also added two Burst modes and Exposure Bracketing. Burst takes several consecutive photographs with a single push of the photo button, while exposure bracketing takes three photographs at different exposures.
The DCR-HC42 tries to provide convenience and good ease of use to its users. The camcorder is fairly portable; it can be carried with relative comfort, slipping easily into a sizable purse. The camcorder provides great automatic controls, and adjustments are made fairly swiftly. The camcorder succeeds at being a great auto pilot with its Easy Handy-cam mode. This camcorder provides convenience for those who want the joy of recording without the decision making process. Sony"s DCR-HC42 is a good camcorder is suitable for point-and-shooters and beginners. It provides decent images in bright light conditions.