Friday, January 12, 2007
Buyer's Guide 2007: Digital Video Cameras
From DV tape to hard drives, today's cameras offer something for everyone
Digital Video Cameras
The Canon DC40 records to mini-DVD disks. The 10x zoom lens is paired with an electronic image-stabilization system to reduce the effects of camera shake. In wide-screen mode, it records video in a true 9x16 letterbox format. In addition to watching the DVDs from your camera or a DVD player, you can connect the camcorder to a computer via USB and download your footage for editing with the supplied Roxie MyDVD software. It also captures up to 4.3-megapixel still images to an SD card. List Price: $899.
The Hitachi DZ-GX3300A records video and 3-megapixel stills to four different mini-DVD disk formats, as well as an SD card. There's a 10x optical zoom, and the camcorder is ready for quick action with a 1-sec. startup time. The one-button finalize process makes it a snap to prepare the disks for playback on a DVD player. List Price: $799.
The Sony DCR-SR100 Handycam is a single-CCD camcorder that records to a 30 GB hard drive. It can hold more than seven hours of MPEG-2 video in high-quality mode or more than 20 hours at low-quality. It has a full range of manual options, but for those who don't want to bother, it can switch to the Easy Run mode and everything locks into automatic. It links to Windows PCs using USB 2.0. Still photos up to 3 MB in size are stored on a Memory Stick. List Price: $999.
The Canon GL2 is a 3-CCD professional-model camcorder with easy-to-reach manual focus and exposure controls, as well as fully automatic operation. A sharp 20x optical zoom has an optical image stabilizer to keep images smooth. It links to your computer via FireWire (IEEE 1394) or analog connections. You can record to miniDV tape in standard and wide-screen formats, and interval recording is available for time-lapse sequences. The microphone adapter allows for connection to professional XLR-type microphones. List Price: $2,799.
The Sony HDR-HC3 HDV 1080i Handycam is a single-CMOS-sensor, high-definition camcorder that records either 1080i HD video or standard NTSC video using standard miniDV cassettes. It also offers the choice of 24 fps cinema-mode recording, and the Slow Recording feature gives you super-smooth slow-motion playback. You can shoot 2.3-megapixel stills to a Memory Stick while recording video or 4-megapixel stills separately. The 10x optical zoom lens has Super SteadyShot and downloads to computers via FireWire (IEEE 1394). The flip-out screen is also a touch panel for many of the camera's controls. List Price: $1,499.
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