I compiled a list of Digital8 camcorders with the analog passthrough feature when I was looking for one. There may be a few more; if you know of one let me know. The key words in the manuals seem to be "signal convert" while in their marketing they use terms like "analog-to-digital pass-through".
This is for NTSC. The PAL variants with "E" on the end of the model name may or may not be the same.
DCR-TRV320 (same manual for both)
DCR-TRV820 (same manual for both)
DCR-TRV530 (same manual for these three)
DCR-TRV830 (same manual for both and the 828, which doesn't seem to exist in NTSC form)
DCR-TRV480 (no S-Video)
No pass-through but sometimes claimed to (non-exhaustive)
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Last edited by Brad; 11th Jan 2020 at 12:18. Reason: Added "List of" to start of thread title to make it more obvious
I think PAL camcorders with passthrough are pretty rare, if they exist at all. There is a reason why but I can't remember. I know there's PAL DV walkmans, namely GV-D200E and GV-D800E which can be used for this purpose, and also include TBC and DNR (don't know how effective).
For NTSC, isn't there an issue with black level when using this method though?
It's only the high end PAL ones that have passthrough, most of the consumer level camcorders don't. The reason is down to the import tax applied to them. The tax applied to a video recorder is higher than that applied to a camcorder. As a camcorder with passthrough has a video input, it can be used as a video recorder as well as a camcorder. Very few consumers that buy a camcorder will ever use the feature so Sony had it disabled on the PAL models to keep the import tax and hence the retail price down. No point in selling something at a higher price than an equivalent from their competitors with a feature that 99% of customers are never going to use.
@Richard_G Thanks for the detailed explanation, that's exactly what I recall reading about. Do you know if those high-end models provide any stabilization features on analog input?
No idea. I've got a VX2000E which has passthrough as standard and a DCR-TR8000E with passthrough enabled with an external widget (something you used to be able to buy to enable it on PAL versions that didn't have it as standard). There is no mention of TBC in the manual for either. I've also got a pair of VX1000E camcorders but even they didn't have passthrough.