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$729.95 list($999.99)
1. JVC GRDVL920U MiniDV Digital CyberCam
$424.95 list($598.00)
2. Canon ZR40 MiniDV Digital Camcorder
3. Sony DCRTRV27 MiniDV Digital Handycam
4. Canon Elura 40MC MiniDV Digital
5. Canon ZR45MC MiniDV Digital Camcorder
6. Sony CCDTRV608 Hi8 Camcorder with
7. Sony DCRTRV240 Digital8 Camcorder
8. Sony DCRTRV140 Digital8 Camcorder
9. Panasonic PVDV52 MiniDV Digital
10. JVC GR-DVL520U MiniDV Digital
11. Panasonic PVDV102 MiniDV Multicam
$309.98 list($599.99)
12. Sharp VLNZ100U MiniDV Compact
13. Canon ZR50MC MiniDV Digital Camcorder
14. Sony DCRTRV25 MiniDV Digital Handycam
15. Samsung SCD180 MiniDV Upright
16. Sony CCDTRV108 Hi8 Camcorder with
17. JVC GRDVL120U MiniDV Digital CyberCam
18. Sony DCRTRV840 Digital8 Camcorder

1. JVC GRDVL920U MiniDV Digital CyberCam Video Camera with 3.5" LCD, SD Memory Card Compatibility & Color Viewfinder
by JVC
list price: $999.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005YWDW
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: JVC
Sales Rank: 4133
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 700x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 3.5-inch color LCD; color EVF
  • Digital still mode records megapixel images onto included 16 MB MultiMediaCard
  • Analog inputs for digital archiving

Reviews (8)

1-0 out of 5 stars Serious problem with "digital noise"
I purchased the camera as a gift for my husband in July of 2002. As new parents, we expected that we would want a camcorder to record important moments in our children's infancy and toddlerhood. We have not been able to do so, as the camera has been out of commission or in the repair shop for most of the time we've owned it.

In September of 2003, after approximately 15 total hours of normal use, significant digital noise / pixel distortion and a "head cleaning required" message began to appear. We followed the prescribed procedure and cleaned the video heads with a MiniDV cleaning tape. The problem was not corrected, so we sought repair of the camcorder (to the tune of $240). A rebuild of the drum assembly, supply and takeup reels was performed by a JVC-authorized repair center.

Since then, we have recorded less than two hours of tape, and the digital noise problem has again reappeared. Some research suggests that we are not the only ones who have had this difficulty with our JVC camcorder. Since my difficulties, I have found hundreds of consumer comments that suggest that this and several other models of JVC digital camcorders and DV recorders are riddled with digital noise problems.

I have never been so dissatisfied with such a major purchase and am currently seeking a full refund from JVC. Wish me luck.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent camcorder
This is an excellent camcorder.

The 920U (this camcorder) is much better than the 720U/820U. The earlier versions had a constant buzz on the recorded audio that appeared to come from the DV tape motor. The 920U is very quiet and the audio is crystal clear.

Video quality was much better, too, with sharper colors probably due to the improved lens. (The colors on the 720U/820U were washed out and dull.) On the 920U, I couldn't tell much difference between real life and recorded video in well-lighted conditions. Also, the viewfinder is color whereas the 720U/820U have B&W viewfinders.

Zoom is smooth and well-positioned. The menu is easy to use. Overall the ergonomics of the camcorder are excellent.

The 3.5" LCD is VERY nice. I'm definitely hooked on that feature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Camcorder

I used it for the first time during my vacation with my family to Southern California last December and it satisfied me very much. The manual is really easy to follow. It felt good in my palm during action. I took some pictures because the 920 is also equipped with memory card. I really proud of this camcorder...

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent DV
I brought this DV for couple months. I have to admit this DV is much better than I expected. The quality of the video is excellent. The only bad thing is that the camera function is moderate. It only takes good picture in a well lighted place. Also, if you want to transfer your video to your PC, you need to have a firewire port. The usb only works with the SD, so don't expect that you can transfer the video from the usb port.

5-0 out of 5 stars What can I say?
This camcorder is AWESOME. I'm not so great at writing reviews, but here's what I have to say. The camcorder itself looks really cool. It's got a great design, and only weighs like 1 1/4 lbs, so it's really lightweight and doesn't hurt your arms. The picture and sound are perfect. When watching videos that I made, I sometimes felt like I was watching a DVD on a flat screen TV, the picture is THAT good. It has some nice features, and the only problem I have with it is there is no support for a microphone. But, the new features and everything else being so great really makes up for this. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a superior video camera. The retail price is high, but I bought mine for much less from a respectable site. And it was worth every penny (and just might be worth the full price too). Bottom line - if you are shopping for a camcorder, you WANT this one. ... Read more

2. Canon ZR40 MiniDV Digital Camcorder with 2.5" LCD, & Digital Still Mode
by Canon Video
list price: $598.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063W8Z
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Canon Video
Sales Rank: 2706
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Review

At just over a pound, the lightweight ZR40 from Canon makes an excellent camcorder for the beginning digital-video enthusiast. This compact and comfortable camcorder offers high-end features found on much more expensive cameras, yet is easy enough to use that a novice can begin filming right away.

The camera is sleekly designed, and pieces pop out of the ZR40 from all sides. On top, the adjustable lens viewer also slides in and out so you don't have to hold the camera too close when filming. You can also use the 2.5-inch LCD screen, which swings out of the left side of the ZR40. It also twists and can be flipped over, providing myriad filming angles.

While we were suitably impressed with the image of our capture video, the sound of the camera's motor could be heard during some of the playback. It's a minor annoyance, which can be overcome with an optional external microphone.

With an 18X optical zoom (as well as 360X digital) intuitively placed next to the right thumb, the ZR40 is able to get up close to the subjects you're filming. Canon's image stabilizer worked well at correcting the "shake" common to handheld cameras. And the camera functions as a digital camera as well, taking snapshots in addition to video.

The ZR40 offers a variety of connectivity options, including FireWire ports, composite AV, and S-video. You can input from an analog source such as a VCR, TV, or camcorder and convert the signal into digital video. It also ships with a handy remote control (with a range of 16 feet) that handles the record functions and can even zoom the lens in and out.

Various special effects modes are incorporated into the camera as well, in addition to a new low-light mode that allowed us to shoot footage in the evening. There are DV cameras out there that do more than this one, but for most users, the ZR40 does plenty and does it well. --J. Curtis


  • Compact and comfortable
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent zoom


  • Some motor noise
... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 18x optical, 360x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD and color EVF
  • Digital photo mode records onto MiniDV tapes
  • Analog pass-through ports for direct connection to computer

Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great with a couple of minor complaints
Expecting a baby, I did research for about three weeks before I ended up with this Canon ZR40. Couple of features that I wanted to have were external mic input, analog input, no still images since I already own a nice digital camera, and most of all, affordable price tag. Amazingly, ZR40 had this all! 18x zoom is nice and its compact size is pretty neat. Still, I have minor complaints after extensive tests.

1. As pointed out by many people previously, the picture is somewhat grainy specially indoors. Because this is my first digital camcorder, I don't know if this happens for other high-end models, but I suspect it may stand out somewhat more for ZR40 with only 480K CCD pixels.
2. What has also been noted was the motor noise, which is my primary concern for now. Maybe, I would not been able to tell if I had not read those reviews, but I could certainly hear the noise when recorded in a quiet environment. I tried to use an external microphone to remove the noise, in which case the noise is gone, but the external microphone does not match the internal microphone in sensitivity. (I used a low-end microphone for the test with the sensitivity of -75 dBm, though.)
3. This is a really minor point, but the camcorder automatically shuts down if I don't start recording within 5 minutes.

Overall, I think ZR40 has great features at such a price and is certainly worth owning if you are looking for one in the price range.

5-0 out of 5 stars lots of great features in a tiny, inexpensive package
I have had my ZR40 for a week now, and it has exceeded my high expectations.
The 18x optical zoom is phenominal. I can read the headlines on a newspaper two blocks away, or a number in a phone book 20 feet away.
I was impressed by the camera's ability to perform in low light conditions. In my poorly-lit living room, I exerienced no graininess or loss of quality.
I took the camera outside 30 minutes after sunset and was still able to record satisfactory video.
Hooking the camera up to my TV for playback was very simple. Recording off my VCR was also very straight forward.
The remote control (which wasn't mentioned in's review, BTW) is handy for recording our nephew who gets shy when he knows he's being filmed.
I recorded in some quiet settings, but was not able to hear the electric motor turning the tape or adjusting the lense when zooming. If that's a problem, it's easy enough to hook up an external microphone to the ZR40.
If you get this camcorder, don't forget to claim Canon's free ShowBiz video editing software (see their web site) with proof of purchase. (I haven't gotten it yet, so I can't rate it now.)

1-0 out of 5 stars Eats tapes
After about a year of use, ZR 40 started eating tapes. Do a google search on the topic, there are hundreds of people with the same problem. 'Remove Cassette' and 'Eject' (use those as keywords combined with 'Canon ZR' to view message boards postings) will appear on the screen, and that's the end of the toy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Camcorder
Excellent camcorder, does very well in all kinds of light. I have had no trouble with it indoors, and I find that it performs very well in low light. Flawlessly performs with Windows Movie Maker 2 through firewire. The sound is outstanding, considering the picture is it's strong point. I did not need the digital camera built in as I already have one. Effects are fun to play around with, especially with the handy scroll button. I have not heard the motor noise at all, so I can't see where that is coming from. My only complaint is that it shuts off too quickly if inactive, but it's really not that much of a problem. Image stablizer works really well, as I often have an unsteady hand but it is hardly noticeable with this camcorder. I just wish they made a VCR that could record the footage as well as it was taped!

4-0 out of 5 stars very, very solid!!!
I've had this camera for almost a year now. I'd say that all of the features that I would expect from a digital camcorder meet and exceed my expectations.

Things that I like the most:
1. Perfect companion for my iMac.
2. Great quality analog-to-digital conversion. A must if you want to play with analog videos in digital world.
3. Solid Canon design, made in Japan if anyone cares.
4. Price.
5. No useless features like in more popular brand.

Things I don't like as much:
1. I think indoors quality is reasonable but it's average with low light. I don't really know if any cameras in that price range do well in low light.
2. Some people complained about motor noise? It's possible, I haven't tried to make any silent movies yet. I add music to all my movies that don't already have some sound.
3. Battery life is short but recharges quickly.
4. Shuts off quickly if idle.
5. You probably wouldn't want to use low-resolution Photo feature espesially if you have a good digital camera but this is probably the only "useless feature".

If you are like me and just like to point/shoot/watch on tv/edit on your computer - it's great. ... Read more

3. Sony DCRTRV27 MiniDV Digital Handycam Camcorder w/ 3.5" LCD, MPEG EX, Memory Stick& Mega Pixel Video/ Still
by Sony
list price: $1,119.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006686Q
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 3032
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Product Description

The Sony DCR-TRV27 is a solid MiniDV camera with a load of functions, including that of a 1-megapixel digital still camera. Demanding video enthusiasts will find their needs satisfied with a 10x optical zoom, manual focus ring, a night-shooting function, and a large 3.5-inch LCD screen.

The lens is a famous, high-quality Carl Zeiss construction with a single 1/4.7-inch CCD capturing the image, enabling the camera to produce 520 lines of resolution. The SteadyShot function stabilizes the picture and reduces camera shake. Use the infrared NightShot for shooting at night or in dark settings. The TRV27 also sports a 10x optical zoom, which is enough for most purposes. Turn on the digital zoom, which electronically magnifies the optical image, and reach up to 120 times.

Digital Stills
Digital stills can be stored on a Memory Stick, which works independently from the DV tape system. The camera performs with 1-megapixel resolution, making it capable of sharp images that are up to 1,152 x 864 pixels in size. The camera can also shoot in MPEG movie mode, storing 320 x 240 videos onto the memory stick. MPEG movie lengths range from five seconds to the length allowed by the capacity of your Memory Stick.

Inputs and Outputs
The TRV27 is equipped with the standard DV IEEE 1394 port (also known as FireWire) for a super-fast, lossless connection to a PC or other DV machines. The USB connection is used to transfer digital photos and MPEG movies. The traditional S-video and RCA connections are also present for direct viewing on a television or VHS dubbing.

The DCR-TRV27 comes with one 8 MB Memory Stick. Memory Sticks are reusable, but if you tend to take a lot of digital images, then you'll want a bigger card.

MiniDV Format
MiniDV digital technology delivers clear, sharp video with over 500 lines of horizontal resolution--far superior to the 240 lines of resolution offered by 8mm camcorders. You'll also get minimal color noise interference for a more stable picture.

You'll also get excellent sound quality, recorded in either 12-bit or 16-bit audio recording modes.

  • 16-bit audio includes on set of stereo audio tracks to produce CD-quality sound.
  • 12-bit audio utilizes two sets of audio tracks so you can easily add background music or commentary into your videos while maintaining the existing soundtrack.

This is all delivered on a cassette that's 1/12th the size of a standard VHS tape. A MiniDV tape offers digital recording time of two full hours--20 times the capacity of a CD. ... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 120x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 3.5-inch color LCD monitor; color EVF
  • Records still photos onto tape or included Memory Stick media
  • Analog-to-digital conversion with pass-through analog inputs

Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars Little Giant
After reading many reviews and shoping at several stores, I took home my new Sony Handycam. ( DCR-TRV27 )
Don't let the compact size of this little giant fool you!
The power and fetures found in the TRV27 are many you might pay more money for in other cameras. The image quality was great!
I used it to record live music with very nice sound & video.
Low light video was brighter than stills in same light.
I found the controls laid out well and easy to use.
The manual that came with it was good for basic operation, but when geting onto some of the advanced operations it was some times confusing. My bigest dislike about the camera is loading tapes is done from the bottom of the camera. If you have it mouted on a tripod, you must remove it for tape loading. Overal I love the camera and would recomend it to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sony DCR TRV27
Excellent camcorder!

Was looking for TRV30 which went out of production and came across this one.

Pros: 1) clear and vibrant video picture (video 690K pixels and still 1 mega pixels CCD)
2) Fast focusing when using zoom in auto mode
3) simple to use knobs and buttons
4) Value for price
5) still photo fairly good with 1 megapixel rating
6) video looks great on TV (at least in Sony Wega TV) than the LCD screen (May be I have reduce the brightness of screen)

1) 10x optical and 120x digital zoom slightly less than the competion JVC, Panasonic, Canon
2) Battery life is short with LCD usage
3) No memory stick holder/case supplied
4) No flashlight/ video light (have to buy separately)

Will recommend for anyone who wants good decent video with high resolution and money to spend.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent value
I've used the DCR-TRV27 for almost a year and a half now. Excellent image quality, light weight, great battery life, data flows through FireWire to computer very well.

Down sides: Sony's web site doesn't even acknowledge they ever made this camera; searching on its model number will not produce any results. So if you lost the manual, the best source to get it in .pdf form is Amazon! Also, the zoom is a little over-sensitive.

These are minor quibbles though. For the money, this camera is a bargain.

5-0 out of 5 stars Versatile and High Quality
I bought this unit for Christmas 2003. After one year, the device is still flawless.

The features are more than enough to satisfy the recreational videographer. I usually use the automatic settings (auto focus, auto brightness, etc.) whenever I can, but I'm glad the device has so many options, if I find myself in a situation where I need them.

The 9-point auto focus is spectacular. While most camcorders use a single point to focus, this unit has a group of 9 points or boxes it uses to determine the optimum focus for the shot. It's really amazing, and almost instantaneous.

I love the small size, and the 3.5" LCD screen is much better than the 2.5". When taking video of people, especially kids, they love it when I flip the screen toward them, so they can see themselves. To them, it's like they are on TV. They tend to be more expressive. When I do this, I just look throught the viwfinder to keep the subject in frame.

It's rugged. My wife dropped it at Disney World 9 months ago. It scratched the case a bit, but otherwise the unit wasn't phased.

I've made a few CD-ROM-based videos on my computer. The Sony TRV27 easily transfers video to the computer through the Firewire connection. The USB connection also works, but the compressed image quality is far worse the the pure Firewire transfer.

It's nice to have the capabilities to shoot digital stils. However, the 640x480 1 megapixel image is too low-res for printing phoro-lab quality prints on a photo inkjet printer.

I think of the digital camera feature as a quite a bit above most cell phone cameras, and quite a bit below most 3+ megapixel cameras.

Battery life is great. I have not yet bought a spare, and haven't needed it. If I shot more video, I would probably get one of the larger batteries, which would, however, make the unit a little heavier.

All in all, this is an excellent product. I'm sure the newest models are even better. Sony costs a bit more than some of the other brands, but when it comes to camcorders, you can't beat 'em.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not satisfactory
I bought this camcorder 11 months ago. Used it 7-8 times. Now the tape is getting stuck. It is difficult to get through with Sony customer support and when I get in, they said parts are under warranty , but labour is not. It costs usd 220 to repair it. Picture under low light is not good. ... Read more

4. Canon Elura 40MC MiniDV Digital Camcorder w/ 2"LCD, MMC Card and Digital Still Mode
by Canon
list price: $1,199.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000068DB8
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Canon
Sales Rank: 3625
Average Customer Review: 3.17 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Review

Canon's Elura 40MC is one of the smallest, lightest digital video camcorders available. Weighing around 14 ounces, this vertically oriented camcorder fits snugly into the palm of your hand (not resting on your hand like most cameras, this one fits almost inside it).

Because of its compact frame, some of its features had to be trimmed. Its 2-inch LCD is smaller than most, but its bright screen can be viewed easily even in daylight. Unlike many other camcorders, the Elura's viewfinder displays in color, not black and white. It also offers only a 10x optical zoom, not as high as other cameras, but still adequate for most users.

Unlike many camcorders whose still image quality is subpar, the Elura 40MC captures 1024 x 768 pixel still pictures on a Secure Digital media card (an 8 MB SD card is included) rather than on the MiniDV media. And if coupled with a Canon CP-10 card photo printer, you can directly print images from the Elura without going through your PC.

But it's video quality that matters most in a DV camcorder. The Elura 40MC captured excellent video, even in poor lighting conditions. It doesn't have a built-in light, but its low-light mode still managed to record impressive video with realistic colors and limited graininess.

The Elura's autofocus worked quickly and accurately, and its zoom buttons were within easy reach during filming. The basic modes of the camera make it point-and-shoot easy for the novice user. Audio quality with the built-in mic wasn't the best (we noticed some noise during recording), but the Elura comes with a port that lets you connect an external microphone.

It's not the least expensive camcorder out there, but the extreme portability of the Elura 40MC paired with its excellent video quality make it an appealing choice. --J. Curtis


  • Light and compact
  • High quality video
  • Good still image capture


  • Average optical zoom
  • Some audio noise
... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 200x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2-inch color LCD, color EVF
  • Records 1024 x 768 digital stills onto included 8 MB MultiMediaCard
  • Very compact model; also includes audio and video inputs and outputs

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars An great camcorder and VERY easy to take with you.
Armed with lots of research and my wife's two criteria for selecting a camcorder (it had to be small and easy to use) we bought the Elura MC 40 for its list of features in a very small and very cool package -- plus the canon quality. This one has all the features of a full-sized DV cam, but fits into a small, padded waist pack with a couple of tapes, batteries, and the charger without a problem. This was key as we are expecting our first child and didn't want to add too much to the extra baggage we'll be carrying.

This one doesn't have megapixel stills at 1020x960, but it's still tons better than 640x480 on most compact cams, and we have a 35mm for the serious photography anyway. Lots of great on-camera editing and shooting features, and some basic photo and movie editing software included. If you're going to do some serious movie editing, I'd recommend purchasing a better software package or taking advantage of one of Canon's mail-in rebate deals.

Mac users, you'll love this one. We had a pre-USB Powerbook running OS 8.6 and bought USB and Firewire PCMCIA cards for it. It runs just great without spending the extra cash upgrading the OS like the card manufacturers say to. Also, I wouldn't spend the extra cash on the expensive firewire cards that a Mac specific. I picked up an inexpensive IBM card [$$] at the local computer store, plugged it in, downloaded the supporting drivers from Apple, and it fired right up.

You will have a lot of fun with this cam. We took it out for the first time on July 4th, and everyone was amazed by it. Plugged it into the S-video on the nearest TV, and we had a great time watching the day's events!

4-0 out of 5 stars A great camcorder...especially for the size
I bought this camcorder for a trip to Europe and I love it. I could store it in my jacket pocket when not using it and didn't have to drag around a huge bag with a bunch of useless equipment. This is my first camcorder (and first camera since an old Olympus 35mm), so I'm clearly an amateur. It's got more features than I'll use in 2 lifetimes, so there should be enough to satisfy almost everyone.

Video--is excellent, especially outdoors. Weather doesn't matter, as long as it's outside. It was cloudy all but one day and the video is awesome. Indoor is grainy if the light is too low, but reading reviews of other camcorders, I couldn't find one which said "great video quality indoors." All are grainy indoors. Live with it. You buy this for the size.

Still Pix--are not great. But are you buying a camcorder or camera? If all you care about are still pix, save yourself a few hundred bucks and buy a still-camera. No small camcorder offers a 4 or 5 megapixel resolution with stills. Even the Sony MicroDV only offers 2MP still resolution. With the exposure set to "super fine" I was pleased with the resolution, but I've seen pictures from a 4 MP still camera, and the images don't compare. The pix are not bad, but not excellent. But then, I care about video...not pictures--it's a camcorder afterall.

Sound--I think is great. Yea, there is the motor whine when it's quiet. But guess what, after a few seconds, you tune it out and forget about it. It is not very annoying at all. It does tend to amplify the voice of whomever is doing the recording. But what microphone doesn't amplify the sound closest to it?

SD/MMC card--is only tested by Canon to 64MB (per customer service) which is bad. They recommend not using anything higher than 64.

Battery--doesn't last too long, especially the smaller one. I forked over the money to buy the larger battery and it is well worth it. This way, when it runs down, you pop in the small one and you have another 30-50min of filming.

Ease of Use--I had filmed some items and was watching it on TV within 20 minutes of taking it out of the box. I had the still camera and fader/digital effects figured out within another 20 minutes or so. You must read the manual. It's real easy.

Buttons--are not small considering the size of the camcorder. If you need bigger buttons, buy a bigger camcorder. Remember, you buy this for the size.

Overall--it is great. Fantastic outdoor video and sound pickup with unbelievable portability and ease of use. This is not a "professional" camcorder. It should be used for "hobby" filming and as a great travel-size camcorder. If you need more bells and whistles (external mic mount, attached light) you need a bigger camera. As far as the "save yourself the trouble and buy a Sony" crowd, I've owned many Sony products and find they don't perform any better than anything else. But Sony always seems to want a few hundred more of your hard earned dollars to make you think their product is better. Ask someone about software compatability with their MicroDV camcorder...then watch 'em squirm.

1-0 out of 5 stars Tape eating problems
I bought my Elura 40MC 1.5 years ago. For the first year it worked fine. However, after the warranty ran out I began to have the notorious "tape eating problem" that everyone is talking about. I would steer clear of this product since Canon is reluctant to do anything about it.

1-0 out of 5 stars No Canon Camera anymore for me
After owning the Elura MC 40 for 10 months and taping not even 6 hours the infamous 'Remove the cassette' error started to apear and the data on the tape was garbled and completely unuseable.
After doing some research on the internet I found out, that many cameras of canon have this problem.
Unfortunatly the local Canon Customer Service refused to even look at the camera as it was purchased in the U.S. - "You don't expect us to order the spare parts for you?" was all they told me.
I really regret spending a lot of money for a camera that can now only be used for taking low quality pics.

2-0 out of 5 stars Malfunctions Malfunctions
The zooming feature on this camera I purchased went haywire. The camera would constantly zoom in on everything unless I held the W down, causing great annoyance. Other malfunctions such as on the LCD, the "no memory card inserted" symbol would light up even after its proper insertion and formatting. ... Read more

5. Canon ZR45MC MiniDV Digital Camcorder with 2.5" LCD, Digital Still Mode & MMC Card Slot
by Canon Video
list price: $698.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063W93
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Canon Video
Sales Rank: 2678
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Product Description

Improving on an original can be a daunting task. Canon has succeeded quite well, thank you. The ZR45MC is the successor to the ZR25MC. Canon increased the optical zoom to 18x--the digital now sits at 360x--and added an analog pass-through port. Although the ZR line featured analog-in for dubbing your movies to MiniDV, the new pass-through port allows you to go straight to the computer, eliminating a possibly cumbersome step.

The ZR45MC also has a lot of the same features that made the original a lot of fun. A 2.5-inch LCD is swivel-mounted, permitting the shooter to use the camera at odd angles. Various digital effects and autoexposure modes help ensure your footage turns out well. The digital still mode makes a return, letting you capture 640 x 480 stills onto an included 8 MB MMC.

Finally, Canon threw in a low-light color-shooting mode that makes the ZR45MC that much more attractive. ... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 18x optical, 360x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5-inch color LCD and color EVF
  • Digital photo mode records onto included 8 MB MMC card
  • Analog pass-through ports for direct connection to computer

Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars The good, the bad, and the ugly
The good: Compact, easy to carry, lots of good features (too many to list; read the specifications), excellent playback picture, works great with my iMac, excellent sound reproduction, and straightforward instructions.

The bad (kind of): Yes, in an absolutely silent environment you can hear the motor running, but in our first two hours of taping there was only one time, and that was only for less than a minute, where you could hear the motor running. So, I wouldn't call that bad because there is usually enough ambient noise to cancel it out. The wide angle isn't very wide angle, but you do get a lot of great non-digital zoom. The digital zoom gets pixelated pretty quickly but would you expect otherwise? You can only access some of the features with the viewing screen open and in bright outside light the picture is washed out and you can't really see the menus very easily. The fade in and out features were fun but somewhat cumbersome to use.
The ugly: Do not buy this camera if you intend on using it to take still pictures to the MMC. There are two problems. Check out the specifications and you will see that the CCD chip has only about 250,000 or so effective pixels. But, the real killer is the 8-bit color. There are two resolution modes, fine and normal. The instruction manual says the fine mode can be used for taking pictures for printing out and the normal for sending over the Internet. In the fine mode, a perfectly blue sky comes out mottled shades of blue, pink, and purple. For other, less uniform colors, the effect is worse. With the low number of pixels and 8-bit color, this feature is pretty much useless if you are used to using a good film SLR camera or a high pixel digital camera.

Overall: I gave it four stars because it's a really good minicam with great Canon optics, many useful features, and ease of use, but I was really disappointed with the still picture feature. I can't believe Canon would even include such a poor quality feature. If you want both good digital video and pictures, you probably need to look at different brands with megapixel CCDs, which are available for a comparable price.

I love this camcorder. First of all, I am going to start this review by telling you about the biggest concern I had when I bought this camera. Many people say that there was a lot of motor hum, this may be the case when the room is TOTALLY silent, however an external mic fixes this. ALL MINIDV CAMERAS HAVE THIS PROBLEM!! People complain that the mic adds extra size, but if you want to spend the same amount of money on a digital 8, with less resolution, much bigger, and heavier, than get a Mic for your MiniDV, then you have some problems. However since I usually overlap music onto my videos, its not such a big probelm for me. The size is great (any bigger and it wouldn't be comfortable, and any smaller it would be difficult to hold). I had the Sony TRV-340 Digital 8 Camera and then returned for only one reason, it was heavy and big (it cut off circulation in my hand when I was filming, and would have to take it out every 5 minutes or it would become numb). The picture quality is pretty much the same as all other minidv's which are better than digital 8's but not enough to make a big difference. Pretty much, this is a good camera at a great price. If you want a MiniDV, go with this no doubt, however if you have hi 8 or 8mm tapes you should probably go with a digital 8. They are pretty good for the price, but big and bulky.

5-0 out of 5 stars Software Needed!
This is one great camcorder! I know because I have one, but have lost the software when traveling. Would anyone know how I can get the software? Called Canon, it's discontinued. Searched the Web, nothing! Help!

3-0 out of 5 stars All was well until the "safety mechanism" went berserk.
This is not a high-end camera, but was good enough for me. I have recorded 12 tapes on it. Beginning with tapes 11 and 12 a problem has developed with rewinding the cartridge. After about 1 minute (recording time) worth of rewinding, it stops and displays "Remove Cartridge" on the screen. I take out the tape, put it back and get another minute rewound before it happens again. These have all been brand new tapes. A visit to Canon's website only reveals that I have to take it to be serviced. Another review here says their estimate to fix the camera was $160. I hope that is wrong :(

1-0 out of 5 stars Nice camera, when it works
I love the features and optics of this camera. I love everything about it, except that it really doesn't work and their service is terrible. Many people posted about the humming sound -- I didn't have that problem. But the electrical system was intermittent from the time I got the camera. I've sent it to them three times, and each time they repair it, or claim to. Now it is out of warranty and the battery still doesn't work. So I'll have to buy a new camera and hope that you don't make the same mistake I did -- go with a different camera. ... Read more

6. Sony CCDTRV608 Hi8 Camcorder with 3.0" LCD, Video Light & USB Streaming
by Sony
list price: $449.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000630MM
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 2545
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Product Description

In a world increasingly dominated by digital, Hi8 offers a refreshingly good format for home video. Despite the big press that MiniDV, Digital8, and the new MicroMV have been getting, many people still prefer the tried and true Hi8. It offers the highest quality outside of digital and is a good choice for everyday shooting. As long as you just want to document your family's life, and send videos to grandma, you aren't really giving anything up.

The CCD-TRV608 is Sony's flagship Hi8 camcorder, and it offers an assortment of features that make it great for the average home videographer. Sporting a 3-inch color LCD and 20x optical zoom, there's really no situation that the TRV608 won't shoot well. Especially when you add in the NightShot mode, which switches the camera to an infrared shooting mode, and SteadyShot image stabilization, which helps eliminate those annoying shakes that accompany high zoom levels.

In addition to a few fader and picture effects, as well as some titling options, the CCD-TRV608 offers a unique USB streaming mode. Essentially, you connect your camcorder to a PC via USB, and with the addition of some provide software, you can stream live audio and video from the camcorder, capture stills, and playback recorded video scenes. ... Read more


  • Hi8 camcorder
  • 20x optical, 560x digital, zoom with SteadyShot image stabilization
  • 3 inch color LCD and black and white EVF
  • NightShot infrared mode for lowlight shooting
  • USB port for USB streaming when connected to a PC

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good camera
This is my first camcorder of any kind. i have used other types, VHS, VHS-C, 8mm, but this is probably the best that i have used. It's easy to learn the basics with and takes really great videos. The USB streaming capability is really easy to use and works great. Pixela seems to pixilate(spelling?) the movies, but it's nothing that really hurts and it's that severe. The NightShot is great, the lamp is really good, and the camera has a few little effects for the pictures. No big complaints except a remote would be nice for playback, and a colored viewfinder. But with a 3" color LCD screen, the chance that someone will use the viewfinder is small. i recomend this camera to anyone who doesn't want to spend a lot on a good quality camera.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for some, bad for others
This overall is a great camcorder. I used it for a year and had very little trouble with it. I've made a list of good and bad things about this camcorder that will hopefully help you in your decision.

First the good stuff

1.It has a nice big LCD screen for easy viewing when recording

2.There are plenty of different features for recording in different lights

3.It has OK sound and picture quality

4.It is good for families, groups, teachers or anyone else who just needs a good quality camera for a cheap price that they can use to to record family outings exc...

Now for the bad stuff.

1. The size of the camera is a little big. it is hard to hold for long periods of time and somewhat heavy (if you have a tripod and you use it this shouldn't be too much of a problem).

2. the battery life could be better (only about 50-60 minuets with the LCD screen).

3. the sound is a bit metallic, and the picture doesn't show reds or yellows well.

4.if you have the need to edit your recordings it will be very hard and somewhat expensive with this camera. If you want to edit, I would definitely recommend a digital camcorder instead because it will be much easier for you to edit your videos (this was my big mistake and I had to sell it for a Sony digital).

If this review has helped you or if you want to ask me any technical questions, e-mail me at

2-0 out of 5 stars Ignore the USB Streaming
While this is a decent Analog camcorder, don't expect much from the USB streaming feature. The maximum frame rate over USB is 320x240, which is half the minimum recommended for creating a DVD out of a home movie. If you want to get the video from your tapes onto a computer or DVD, expect to purchase a separate video capture device or card.

To make matters worse, the bundled software doesn't let you capture more than thirteen minutes of video at a time before it crashes and claims the drive is out of disk space. regardless of how much disk space you really have avaliable. This happens even when recording to NTFS volumes, which do not have the 4 gig file size limit of Fat32.

Most third party programs will also have issues using the camcorder's USB streaming features. The drivers create an eclectic audio device that many video capture programs can't see, so you'll have to use a separate audio cable unless you like the idea of not having any sound. Roxio's products are among the many that can't find use audio driver.

In short, it's a decent camcorder, assuming you compare it to other devices as though the USB streaming feature didn't exist, because for all practical purposes, they doesn't.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great camera, but missing important feature
This is a great camera. We use it a lot. I love the night shot, the steady shot works great and it has a lot of other nice features. Everything on it works great all the time. The light metering and auto focus work very well too.

There is only one problem that really frustrates me. It has a right and a left microphone and records in stereo, but there is no way to get stereo playback through the analog A/V output. That's certainly one of the cheapest things I've seen in products that I've bought. It's very disapointing from a name like Sony.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for the money
The picture on this camera is good and it needs very little light. However, the colors are not quite as accurate as I had hoped for Hi8. Perhaps digital would have been better, but the price was a factor. I shopped around and found Amazon had the best price available. ... Read more

7. Sony DCRTRV240 Digital8 Camcorder 2.5" LCD with USB Streaming
by Sony
list price: $699.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063LGI
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 3198
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Review

The Sony DCR-TRV240 Digital8 camcorder is a well-specified model with both DV in and out connections, making it ideal for those wishing to edit digital footage on a PC. Sony's new Digital8 cameras are more compact than previous models. The TRV240 sits neatly in the hand and is light enough to use without effort. Digital8 has the added advantage of being able to play your old analog Hi8 tapes. It's also a less expensive way into digital video than MiniDV camcorders, both in respect of the cameras themselves and tapes.

Digital video comes as a real surprise after analog systems, the image quality is superb and free of all the noise associated with analog systems. Digital8 offers a resolution of 500 lines, over twice that of VHS. The superb Super SteadyShot picture stabilization system means you can produce good, shake-free shots. Sound is also digital, and the built-in microphone is adequate--as long as you remember to keep quiet yourself--but an external one is an idea for more serious work.

There are a wealth of features, many controlled by a menu system on the LCD screen. This helps keep the number of buttons down, but can be tiresome to navigate. Getting started is easy, as everything comes set at automatic. Just pop in a tape and away you go.

The camera boasts a remarkable level of zoom: a healthy 25x optical backed by digital zoom that extends this to 700x. At higher levels, however, the picture degrades considerably and you are advised to keep the digital zoom within reasonable levels. Usefully, the display indicates when you've exhausted the power of the optical zoom and are about to move to digital zoom. The zoom control reacts to pressure, right down to a gentle creep.

There's little else to do for easy shooting. There's a manual backlight button and exposure control. It has 16:9 support, which simply cuts strips off the top and bottom of the image so that, when replayed on a wide-screen television, the image fills the screen. This does of course cut back the image resolution a little. It can also take stills, fitting over 500 on a tape, though the quality of these do not make it a sufficient replacement for a high-quality digital camera.

Battery life is enough for a day trip, but spare or better high-capacity batteries are a wise investment. A full charge takes an hour and a quarter and is good for about an hour's continuous use. If you can resist using the LCD, you might get an extra half an hour. High-capacity batteries that can provide up to 10 hours use are available separately.

Another interesting feature is the time-lapse function, enabling you to film flowers opening and so forth. The Super NightShot mode offers a green-hued recording in darkness thanks to an infrared lamp below the lens. The multitude of buttons can be daunting, but after a while you begin to wish the camera had more to offer direct access to some of these features.

The edit modes include the ability to select scenes, which is excellent if a little fiddly to use. It outputs and inputs analog video either in composite or S-VHS and comes supplied with a composite lead and SCART converter, but includes no S-VHS lead. Digital input and output is via iLink, also known as FireWire or DV-in/out. There's also the ability to output video directly to a PC using a USB cable, enabling you to view them on your PC screen. It can even act as an analog to digital converter, feeding the signal through the camera to another device.

The TRV240 is a sophisticated and capable camera with an impressive feature list that'll take considerable time to explore fully. Having tasted what can be done with a digital camcorder, you won't ever want to go back to analog. --Miles Berkeley


  • Sophisticated digital camcorder, yet easy to get started shooting
  • Impressive feature list: time-lapse function, digital still capability
  • 25x optical zoom lens


  • Will need to invest in extra batteries to shoot comfortably all day
... Read more


  • Digital8 camcorder
  • 25x optical, 700x digital, zoom with Super SteadyShot image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD monitor and black and white EVF
  • Records digital stills onto tape
  • Features pass-through analog inputs, and mic input

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing little camera!
This is an extremely versatile bit of technology, with a lot of very clever features. It's backward compatible with Hi-8, and has a useful digital pass-through capability that makes it invaluable in editing other video sources.

I simply don't understand the complaints regarding battery life, tape loading, or low light performance. At this price point, and considering the competition, Sony is way ahead of the game.

Two suggestion for all users:

1) Spring [$$$] for a UV or skylight filter to spare the lens.

2) Spend [$$$] for a Firewire card to take advantage of the i-Link port. You can edit video like a pro, record it back onto Digital 8, or even push it back out to any VCR.

If you want to be a professional, get a professional camera, for about [$$$]. If you want to have fun, get this camera and spend the rest on a vacation to try it out!

4-0 out of 5 stars USB streaming / Firewire
This camera works just fine; and despite having a few too many bells and whistles for my taste, the picture is as good as my trusty eight year old Sony camcorder that died last summer. BUT!!!... Be aware that the USB streaming capability that is touted as a selling point is absolutely useless. The USB's connection is slow enough that it's impossible to get anything other than jerky, dark, over-compressed video with tons of dropped frames and terrible sound.
The SOLUTION though, is simple if you have a reasonably new computer with plenty of muscle: ... I picked up an / FireWire card with a video rendering chipset built in that gives me the decent quality video for burning VCD's that I expected. USB bad. FireWire good, camera good. 'Nuf said.

5-0 out of 5 stars very nice!
I bought this camcorder about a year ago & have been very pleased with it. It's a good size, easy to use, & has lots of cool components, especially for the price. I wouldn't buy anything other than a Sony!

3-0 out of 5 stars USB connection total garbage
whoefully disapointed with the quality of the video coming from the usb connection. the analogue outs are much much better. so here we have a situation where the analogue is better than the digital out.

plan on buying a video capture card in order to get decent video to your pc.

4-0 out of 5 stars Indoor recording seems fine
The DCRTRV 240 seems fine in normal indoor lighting conditions, i.e. daylight or ceiling light. The image quality is comparable to what I get with an analog Sony CCDTRV608 (Hi8) camera. If the room is darker (early in the morning or if the blinds are pulled for example), the colors do look dull, and there seems to be a lighting threshold beyond which the image quality goes down sharply. But I don't see why most people would want to record in such low light anyway.

The reviews that say the camera records poorly indoors gave me pause before I bought the camera, but to me it looks fine indoors during the day or if the ceiling lights are on.

I give it four stars because of the short battery life--about 1 hour with the standard battery. Sony could do something about the battery. ... Read more

8. Sony DCRTRV140 Digital8 Camcorder with 2.5" LCD, Video Light & USB Streaming
by Sony
list price: $499.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000634T4
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 2298
Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Review

You can find digital camcorders for slightly less than the Sony DCR-TRV140, but you won't get Sony's quality and extensive feature list. Captured video proved to be of high quality, whether we viewed it on our TV or transferred it to our PC via the speedy FireWire connection or USB.

The USB connection can also be used for setting up the TRV140 as a Webcam via their USB streaming technology. It took some playing around with the Pixela Image Mixer software before we could get the device working properly. In general, a dedicated Webcam would be a better device for this purpose.

But as a digital camcorder, we were quite pleased with the TRV140. Its 20x optical zoom (and 560x digital zoom) allowed for extreme close-ups, while the Super NightShot infrared mode allowed us to record in complete darkness. The mode automatically adjusted the shutter speed during night recording, resulting in a brighter, sharper image than Sony's normal NightShot mode.

The TRV140 isn't without faults. It won't accept inputted video or play back old Hi-8 or 8mm tapes recorded in analog mode, and the battery lasted only about an hour during our tests. But you can purchase Sony's optional NP-FM91 battery pack, which extends battery life to over 10 hours.

The TRV140 has the typical boxiness of the Handycam, but it weighs only a little more than two pounds, with battery. It's comfortable to hold, and its button layout will prove quite familiar to previous Handycam users. It also comes with a remote control for handling the camera's functions from a distance.

Selling for under $500, the TRV140 is a great digital camcorder for users who intend to edit video on their PCs for distribution to the Web for or burning to CD or DVD. --J. Curtis


  • 20x optical zoom
  • Super NightShot mode
  • High-quality digital video


  • Somewhat short battery life
  • Can't play back analog Hi-8 or 8mm
... Read more


  • Digital8 camcorder
  • 20x optical, 560x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD and black and white EVF
  • Features a digital photo mode
  • Comes with NightShot mode and digital faders and effects

Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars High Quality Digital8 Recording
The DCR-TRV140 is Sony's lowest level digital camcorder, but it is not low-level at all. It records picture at a stunning 520 lines of resolution and sound in PCM digital stereo. You can truly see the difference in picture quality between Digital and Hi8 or VHS-C. The Digital8 system records digital pictures on inexpensive Hi8 tapes. It's got an incredibly large 20x optical zoom. Optical zoom is the most importaint type of zoom because there is no loss of picture quality. It also has a 560x digital zoom which is less importaint because, the farther you zoom, the worse the picture quality gets. One of the most amazing features of this camcorder is the Infared Super NightShot. What it does is project an infared light, invisible to the human eye, allowing you to see in no light at all. It comes with various special effects and fade options. The FM30 InfoLithium battery allows use for 3 hours (1 hour w/LCD). It includes an i.Link DV Interface (IEEE1394) for editing video on your computer. It also allows you to have streaming video via USB. This camcorder is a good, moderately priced introduction to digital video with features surpassing those of other brands.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Digital8 is all you need for hi-res digital videos!
WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF DIGITAL8 a 520 line video & hi-fi stereo!!

The DCR-TRV140 Digital8 Video camera recorder (Digital Only). This camcorder is awesome. This is Sony's introductory level Digital8 model. The DCR-TRV-140 is a low price, high value, versatile and sophisticated video cam. This is all you will ever need.

Bottomline - This is what you get; uses Hi8 or Digital8 video tape (the simple difference is a 120 minute Hi8 tape converts to a 60 minute Digital8), 20x Optical Zoom (Most important zoom which maintains hi-res feature), 560x digital zoom ( loses hi-res feature when magnified - I recommend staying with OPTICAL ZOOM ONLY!), 2.5 hi-res color LCD screen (opens 90 degrees & can be rotated 180 degrees with an auto mirror image), built-in light with 5 foot range, remote control & sensor, Steady shot (stabilizer), USB streaming, DVIn/Out - Sony iLink (BEST FEATURE - A 4 pin 2 way FireWire(IEEE-1394) for direct digital video & stereo transfer with no signal loss), digital effects, frame recording, hi-fi sound, interval (lapse) recording, SUPER NightShot ( shooting in a dark room without light), backlit feature ( allows to subdue rear light to increase foreground subjects lighting) and much, much more.

This camcorder comes with a 3 hour battery (its real life is about 75 minutes using the LCD screen. The actual battery time remaining is displayed on the LCD screen. The stabilizer eliminates the camera jitter and the hi-res digital pictures are awesome. The supplied video cables allow you to hook up to a tv or vcr. The video transfer via USB (with supplied PC software) or the awesome Sony iLink (FireWire)allows a 2 way direct digital link to a DVD recorder (ie Philips DVDR-985, DVD+RW (rewriteable) or DVD+R (one time) SEE MY DVDR-985 REVIEW).

In Summary - this is an OUTSTANDING DIGITAL8 Video Camcorder. Again this a DIGITAL ONLY unit. The DVR-TRV140 is a great economical way to move into the hi-res (520 line) digital world. Transferring to PC or DVD burner is so simple and digital pictures & hfi stereo sound is the only way to go. Enjoy.

1-0 out of 5 stars Eject tape broke and Sony won't fix it
We had been very happy with this camcorder - until we pulled it out to take Christmas pictures of our 15-month old son and the camcorder wouldn't record. It wouldn't eject the tape, and after repeated calls to customer service, we've been told that they'll pay for parts, but the labor to fix it is just over $200. Unfortunately even though we've only used the camcorder for under 15 hours, we're outside the 90 days for labor warranty (who'd have thought the camcorder would be unusable after under 15 hours of use?).

Still waiting on a callback from customer service, but having gone up 4 levels already, it's not looking like they'll fix the product.

Think our model will be headed for the trash - and we'll be looking at anything BUT Sony for future purchases. I would definitely steer clear of a Sony after this experience.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great starter digital camcorder
When I first started to look at camcorders I didn't know exactly what I wanted. The number of features was overwhelming and I wasn't sure which ones would prove valuable. I ended up decided on a set of core features: digital recording, reasonable size, good zoom and computer connectivity.

I finally ended up with the TRV-140 and it has been great. It is a standard handcam size, which means it fits comfortably in your hand but isn't tiny. The 20x optical zoom is very nice. I have yet to need the digital zoom and haven't even considered buying a telephoto lens.

To connect the camera to your computer all you need is a firewire card and the right cable (4 pin to 6 pin). Transferring video was as simple as connecting the cable. Windows XP immediately recognized the camera and I was able to capture and edit film using the MovieMaker software included with XP.

My only complaint is the battery life. The standard battery doesn't last very long, especially if you use the LCD. Consider picking up a second battery when you purchase the camcorder. Sony has a couple of offerings, but all are rather expensive. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, check out the compatible batteries made by Duracell or Ray-o-vac.

5-0 out of 5 stars I bought one too
Its a very good camera for the price and as my old camera was a hi-8 canon Ex1 I didnt have to go out and buy new tapes either as the 140e uses hi-8 tapes. I didnt use the pixelA software as it is rubbish, instead I use Pinnacles Studio8 which allows me to download and convert my video to burn to cd or dvd between different formats. Firewire works well and all functions are simple to use. Image quality is good.

The only blots on its copybook are for me the disabled control facilities from the higher models (you can re-enable them if you know what you are doing) and the lack of DV in (again this can be fixed) finally the lack of an external mic socket...which I'm looking into sorting out...

overall...very good buy.

Ray. ... Read more

9. Panasonic PVDV52 MiniDV Digital Camcorder w/ 2.5" Color LCD
by Panasonic
list price: $499.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005YTWY
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Sales Rank: 1729
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Review

Panasonic's low-end MiniDV camcorder, the PV-DV52, doesn't have all of the features of its pricier siblings--like a zoom mic or a larger LCD--but it does capture high-quality video in a light, tight package.

Although its 10x optical zoom is lower than other camcorders, it still provides a close-up image for average recording, and a hefty 700x digital zoom capability as well. The image stabilization feature of the PV-DV52 worked well, keeping our frame steady even during one-handed filming.

The PV-DV52 will capture still images as well, but only at 640 x 480 resolution. It also stores images to tape, which sometimes makes them difficult to locate in order to transfer them to PC.

Speaking of transferring, you'll need a FireWire port to move video and stills over at high speed, as the camera doesn't include USB connectivity. It does offer a serial connection, but that is only for transferring still images, as moving video via a serial connection would be akin to draining a lake with a stirring straw.

Some of Panasonic's more expensive MiniDV camcorders offer a 3.5-inch LCD, but the 2.5-inch color LCD of the PV-DV52 proved large enough for average use. The PV-DV52 also offers some nice features for low-light recording (although not for no-light recording), including the MagicPix digital enhancement mode and a built-in light with a 10-foot range.

Tapes eject from the top of the PV-DV52, allowing you to keep the camera on an optional tripod when popping in a new tape. And the battery--which lasted a little over an hour--charges separately from the camera, which makes it easier to have a backup fully charged.

For the price, the Panasonic PV-DV52 allows for high-quality video recording without requiring a big investment. It's a great starter camcorder for a family on a budget. --J. Curtis


  • Light and compact
  • Sharp video image
  • Inexpensive


  • No storage card for stills
  • Lower optical zoom
... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 700x digital, zoom with digital image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD monitor and black and white viewfinder
  • Features digital still mode
  • IEEE1394 port for easy video transfer

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very nice camera
This is my first video camera, and I'm very pleased with it. The detail and the sound are great. I can hear my kitten jumping on leaves, and the detail is great due to the high pixelation. (680K) It picks up colors very well. I had no disappointments with the zoom, though the optical zoom is reputedly low end, it seemed fine to me. And there is also a phenomenal digital zoom which should make up to some extent for anyone who has high zoom needs. It worked right out of the box with a very intuitive interface that required practically no reading of directions, except for the image stabilizer function which I haven't wanted to use yet because camera shake hasn't really been that bad. The low light compensator is basically just a continuous flash, and that does eat up battery time. The worse thing about this camera is that there isn't a lot of battery time. That's fine if you're doing domestic projects like filming your pets, kids or backyard barbecues. It might be more of a pain if you took the camera abroad and were not exceedingly organized about your time and keeping the battery charged.

Also the camera worked great with my Mac Ibook. All I had to do was plug into the Firewire slot, get the Firewire driver for Quicktime, and I could record clips into my computer and make a wonderful little web movie. It's a great basic video camera for someone like me who's never had a movie camera of any kind and wants to edit on computer. And the price is also right.

4-0 out of 5 stars very pleased
I am very happy with this purchase. I owned an analog Sharp and it needed to be repaired, so I looked into a new camcorder. The quality of the picture is what mattered most to me, within economic reason. The picture is great, much much better than analog. In low light conditions I do lose some of the colors (they wash out a bit) but the quality is still good. The range of features is nice, but I was surprised to find that I can't use the EIS (it holds the image steady) with the other features like the low light ones. You have to turn off the other features when using EIS. I am not into editing on my computer, which is good because this camera doesn't seem to have the bells and whistles necessary to do so, although they are available for purchase (and are compatible with the camera). The camera is light, it has a built in light, and the sound is great.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great value - shame about the mic quality
I have had this camcorder (my first and only) for nearly a year. It was a great entry to home video.

I was very pleased with the picture quality and it is easy to use. I have tried the EIS feature(electronic image stabilization) and it really works and the effect on picture quality is barely noticeable.

Editing on a computer with the IEEE1394 interface is fun (and IEEE1394 interface cards for desktop and laptop PCs can be had very cheaply - I bought one for each.) The camcorder can even print the finished movies back to a blank MiniDV tape for archiving and for displaying on NTSC TVs.

The built-in microphone has very poor sound quality - voices sound very tinny. I wish it had a way of connecting an external microphone. And I wish a second, larger battery wasn't so expensive - it is hard to shop around for a third-party battery as the online catalogs rarely mention this model of camcorder.

Shop around for MiniDV tapes - good brands can be found for around $5 but I see them many places over $8.

The battery charger included with mine doubles as an AC adapter and works on many electrical systems round the world (just get a travel plug from your local hardware store.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simplicity is key.
This digital camera has everything you need. Don't waste your money on those overpriced gadgety cameras, when all you need is something to capture good quality digital video.

I've played around with quite a few DV cameras, and almost all of them were impossible to figure out. Too many buttons. This camera only has the necessities. My only complaint about the ergonomics is that the record button could be placed better. I usually take my thumb off of it after I hit record, so I have to go searching for it when I want to pause or stop recording, so a lot of my video has a visible jiggle at the end where I was fumbling for the record toggle.

The quality of the video is superb. It gets a little grainy in low light, but no worse than any DV camera I've seen below $900.

Oh, one thing to note. This camera doesn't come with a DV tape to get you started. So, you better put a 3-pack in your shpping cart before you check out. I'd recommend a second battery, too.

This camera doesn't have an analog pass-thru, so you can't use it to transfer your old 8mm videos to DV.... but that's something you'd do only once anyway, right? Why spend the extra bucks on a camera that can do it then?

This is a great deal. If you are the bare-bones type, get this. You'll be pleased.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Value
For an entry level miniDV camcorder, this one Rocks.
Easy to use & extremely light.
Buy the Pyro firewire card, and you can get great video to your pc.
For the price you pay, it doesn't get much better. ... Read more

10. JVC GR-DVL520U MiniDV Digital Camcorder with 2.5 LCD
by JVC
list price: $699.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005YWDT
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: JVC
Sales Rank: 3567
Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Product Description

A perfect introduction into the world of digital video, the GR-DVL520U provides all the features you need to get rolling, including a 16x optical zoom, digital image stabilization, and IEEE 1394 compatible outputs.

Breaking the mold that most other digital camcorders fall in, the GR-DVL520U has a very bright f1.8 lens, which should help with a dilemma common to many digital camcorders: poor low-light performance. While not useful at the highest levels, the optical zoom is augmented by a 700x digital zoom, which can supply that little bit extra you might need in some circumstances. Paired with the zoom is a digital image stabilizer, which will help eliminate much of the shakiness associated with high zoom levels.

Shooting Functions
The GR-DVL520U provides some camera functions, which can be quite useful if you spend the time to learn to use them. The camera gives you manual control over focus, exposure, and white balance, all of which affect the way your image is recorded. The manual focus and white balance modes are perhaps the most exciting, as you can use them to create depth-of-field effects, and the white balance will allow you to light a room without investing in expensive lighting gear. In addition, JVC added in a number of digital wipes and fades, as well as a black fader.

Output Options
If you want to play your footage on television, the 520U provides two connection methods: S-video and standard RCA-style AV connectors. S-video provides the better video resolution, but you'll still need to use the AV cable for audio, as S-video doesn't carry an audio signal. If your object is to edit your movies on a computer, the camera also comes equipped with an IEEE 1394 compliant port for shuttling video back and forth. It's a four-pin connector, and most computers with IEEE 1394 ports have six-pin connectors, so make sure you pick up the correct cable (JVC doesn't provide one).

Digital Still Mode
Like many digital camcorders, the GR-DVL520U provides a digital still mode, and stores the resulting images onto an included 8 MB MultiMediaCard. You can also use SD cards. The images aren't very high resolution and are generally fit only for posting on the Web, or e-mailing to friends. To get the photos to your computer, the 520U utilizes a built-in USB port, and comes with the cable and software to accomplish the transfer. ... Read more


  • 520 lines of resolution with high-band processor
  • Night Alive for full color shooting in extreme low light
  • SD and MultiMedia Card compatibility
  • 2.5-inch LCD viewscreen
  • USB high-speed interface

Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars JVC DVL520
I bought the JVC DVL520 and I took it back next day. My main complaint was in low light conditions, there were vertical lines appearing on the screen. It wasn't overly obvious but very distracting nontheless. I tried to correct it by manually adjusting each individual settings but nothing worked. The picture quality was not too bad in bright conditions, but in darker conditions i was not prepared to just accept it. After all I spent AUD$1450 on a camera and I'd better get what I pay for. It was a shame because the size and shape of the 520 was really good plus some nice features too. Anyway I took it back to the shop and bought the Sony TRV18 instead. Sure it was a more expensive camera but truly worth it. Pictue quality was almost DVD-like but no vertical lines at all -even in dark conditions (perhaps a little grainy). I wouldn't recommend the 520 unless you will be taking videos outdoors exclusively.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for entry level
Look for my first ever video camera, I stumbled upon this 520A JVC, looks sleek, light weight, fair functionability, 800 000 pixels for digital stills (which is not bad for it's price).

Compared to the sony at a similar price range, it lacked a few added extras which some may find useful :
1. Mpeg (not particularly that useful I suppose if you have firewire)
2. Night scope (the JVC does NOT COmpare to sony's night vision! - it just decreases shutter speed)
3. Battery life - I think that the sony stamina battery lasts a lot longer than the jvc pack.
4. Quality of video - this is debatable - I couldn't tell the diffirence though I was told that sony has a better colour.
5. USB streaming
6. B&W viewer - it's quite annoying if you're used to a colour viewer. The LCD screen however is very clear. The sony has a TFT active matrix which may be slightly better. I was told that the LCD screen has a shorter life-span.

Compared to the Canon MV550 - which also has an SD Card, the JVC is cheaper, looks sleeker (I think) but similar otherwise.

The SD card is very useful - I wouldn't buy one without a card. The battery life could be better. I think it's closer to 1 hour recording time. Even the so called "stamina" battery (which was not original) only lasted <1hr recording time.

Apart from the above, I feel satisfied with my purchase. I bought it in singapore and it was the cheapest of the digital cameras with similar functionality.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good entry/mid level camcorder...
We have been using this for 18 months now, and it's travelled continents and has give us no problems at all!

At least 3 MiniDV tapes, an extra battery, and a carrying bag are essentials.

This camcorder is excellent value. The only con is low light recording is not good, but that's the case with most camcorders.

3-0 out of 5 stars common problem is microfuse on the mainboard
There are many reviews on this DV camcorder at this website and I don't see any need to elaborate the functionality of it. However, I had one terrible experience with this one which is discussed below. I also found by email from three other JVC 520U user that they had the same problem and fixed it easily.
After the warranty is over, this stopped working (no power up). Took it a JVC dealer repair shop (George Meyer, Santa Monica, Los Angeles). He tried to rip me by asking me to pay $275 for labor and $22.00 for parts. I did not repair it from that guy. Finally, I bought the repair manual ($16) and opened the stuff myself. A microfuse on the main board was gone, which I replaced it myself and costed me 59 cents for a new microfuse. Though there is competetion in getting the thing smaller, there is no need to put a fuse soldered on the main board which most people can't even identify/access. If it fails often, let the consumer access it from outside (using a glass molded fuse). I assume that companies do it intentially to help the dealers rip you as soon as it breaks or you will end up buying a new item.
good luck, if you get into the same problem.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good entry-level miniDV camera for the price
The JVC DVL520U digital video camera is the central camera in the JVC 320U, 520U, and 720U line. Each of these cameras offers the same basic technology with varying features. The 520U shares the same remote as the 320U. The 720U remote contains more functionality. The 520U remote contains all the usual basic capabilities, including rewind, fast forward, playback, record, etc. The 520U also shares the same memory card as the 720U, which is 8Mb in size. The raw technology of all these units is essentially the same. What differentiate them are the features JVC activates and implements in each model.

The 520U specifications are as follows:

- 680,000 pixel CCD (1/4")
- 110,000 pixel, 2.5" LCD monitor (270 degree rotation)
- F1.8 lens
- B/W viewfinder
- Night Alive full color low light recording
- 10x optical zoom
- 700x digital zoom
- PCM stereo audio
- 16x9 squeeze mode
- 1024 x 768 digital stills
- Picture stabilization
- SD/multimedia card
- USB interface
- DV input/output
- S-video and A/V output terminals
- Audio dubbing
- Numerous fades, wipes, and effects

The 520U provides very good features and functionality for a miniDV camera in its price range. Not all features work as well as other manufacturers. Picture stabilization, for instance, is much better on the Sony models than this camera. Night Vision is also not that useful for moving images in very low light conditions. I tried shooting a fireworks display using the Night Vision feature. An image was accumulated and stored by the CCD about every 1/2 second, making the outcome choppy and unusable.

The software bundle provided with the camera is excellent and a USB driver is provided. It's very easy to transfer pictures from the camera to the computer. With the proper editing cable (not supplied), video can be edited on a computer with excellent results. An audio/video cable is provided, which enables viewing and transferring video. A USB cable is provided to transfer images from the video card to a computer.

The 520U is capable of storing pictures to either a memory card or video. A snapshot button enables the shutter to operate. If you're new to this capability, be aware that at this time pictures obtained using current video technology do not match the quality you will get from a digital camera. Likewise, digital cameras cannot match the quality of video recorded on a miniDV camera. You buy a video camera for quality video, not snapshots. You buy a digital camera for quality snapshots, not video.

Regardless, the 520U delivers adequately usable snapshots. I like being able to add a picture collage in the middle of my videos. For example, I took a walk on the beach and recorded it. In the middle of the video suddenly you hear the sound of a shutter click and there's a picture of a seagull wading in the water; another shutter click and a picture of a dog bounding out of the water; another shutter click and a picture of a child building a sand castle, etc. Each shot stays on for about 5 seconds or so and whatever sound occurs in those five seconds is also recorded. Later, you can dub audio of your favorite song over the collage before going back to the video action of your family enjoying a boat tour the following day. The creative possibilities are endless!

Pictures directed to the video will be stored in the middle of whatever you're taping. You can also select to have pictures saved on the memory card, which provides the best quality. From the memory card, they can be transferred to your computer. This is a very nice feature. If you don't mind the limited image quality, it's quite handy to have video and picture capability in one small camera.

Where this camera really shines is in video quality; it's exceptional! The miniDV format provides 520 lines of resolution. Color balance is very nice and the internal settings enable you to take manual control of the white balance or set it to automatic.

Another nice feature I haven't seen on all cameras is the ability to correct for backlighting. Let's say you're in a room with many windows on a sunny day. Many cameras will meter the windows and you end-up with the room appearing too dark. The JVC has a backlight button that corrects for these conditions and it works quite impressively.

The BN-V408U 800mAh Lithium-ion battery supplied is the smallest battery available for this camera. Using the LCD display, you will get only about 30 to 45 minutes of record/playback time. I'd strongly suggest purchasing the BN-V428U 2500mAh battery, which can be purchased on eBay for about $30 with shipping (search for "JVC BN-V428U battery"). I get about three to four hours of use with this battery.

In short, if you are on a limited budget and would like a decent beginning miniDV camera, the JVC is a very nice unit. If you have more of a budget, I'd suggest the Sony models, which offer all these features with equivalent or superior quality (depending on the feature compared).

If you decide to purchase this camera, always purchase from an authorized dealer, like There are many dealers who sell this camera for a lower price, but what they don't tell you is if anything fails and the unit requires service, JVC will not honor the warranty. You must show proof of purchase from an authorized JVC dealer to receive service. ... Read more

11. Panasonic PVDV102 MiniDV Multicam Digital Camcorder w/ 2.5" Color LCD and SD Drive
by Panasonic
list price: $649.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005YTWZ
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Sales Rank: 4237
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Product Description

Combining 1.3-megapixel stills--albeit interpolated--with a 10x optical zoom, the PV-DV102 wraps some great features in its plastic and metal body. Images are stored on SD cards (sold separately), and they can be downloaded to your computer via USB. For those that like to shoot in low-light conditions, the camcorder also features a built-in color-recording mode for those types of situations. According to Panasonic, the mode will help reduce the graininess often associated with low-light shooting.

A zoom mic and a built-in light are included with the PV-DV102, along with an MPEG-4 movie system, which lets you capture compressed video clips for e-mailing to friends and family. The camcorder also features a composite video out, and, of course, IEEE 1394. ... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 700x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD with black and white EVF
  • 1280 x 960 (interpolated) digital still resolution--records onto both tape and SD card (card not included)
  • Includes built-in light and zoom mic

Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for the price
This is my first Camcoder, the other choice I considered was JVC-DV120, I liked JVC's 16x optical zoom, but its construction looked cheesy and it's much bulkier. The DV102 looks much better and has some nice features I like: zoom-mic and build-in light. It's a real good deal.
Camera is pretty easy to use and takes good picture, the image stablization does a good job, I took a lot of video by holding it without a tripod, sometimes I need to walk around, and the image wasn't very jerky. The sound quality is very good, no background noise at all.
In low light the image is a little bit grainy, but still very acceptable.
I'm not worried about the SD card, though I do have a spare one from my digital camera, I rarely use it, the still picture quality is too low to justify the price of a card. If Panasonic removed the SD drive and offered it with a remote, I'd have given it 5 stars. The other thing I missed is it doesn't have S-video output.
The Camcoder offers some manual feature such as iris lock, backlight and program AE, which are essential to cope with certain light conditions.
The camera's control buttons are a little hard to reach for me by just using one hand, my hand is relatively small, so make sure it's good for your hand.

Overall I feel it's perfect for begainers on a budget.
Btw, the software is virtually usesless.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good - But dont get misled by the Digital Camera feature.
Lets get down straight to the pros and cons of the product

1. Extremly small - really 'palm held'
2. Extremly Light
3. Jog dial a very nice feature

1. The pictures captured on the SD card are "average" quality
2. No remote comes with this
3. The SD Card is additional priced
4. The software is so very average.

Considering that I moved up from the DV 52 model for this model hoping to get

a. Remote (optional I am told)
b. Digital picture capability (v v average)

c. Software (that fell way short)

I would suggest that you buy the Panasonic DV 52 Model.Its a 100 bucks cheaper and buy yourself a seperate digitial camera - even at 1.2 m pixles they will outperform these palm comders !!

Tough learning but I hope you learn from my mistakes !!

2-0 out of 5 stars THIS CAMERA IS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!
I bought this camera my birthday and thought it was great. A couple months later, I began to notice that the sound skips, and it would constantly eat tapes. And then it goes on some sort of safety mode where it wont let you do anything on the camera because it thinks it might break itself. And whats up with all that extra space around the flip screen? I should have done more research before I bought this camera, and now im paying the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT!!!
I can't say enough good things about this camcorder. I've made a Las Vegas documentary, a skateboard movie, and simple home movies with it. Not only that, I managed to make them look professional. It transfers video without flaw onto the software I use to make movies (Windows Movie Maker) and also makes flawless re-transfers back onto the tape. Using an SD card, it can be used as a digital camera (albeit a very low quality one... it's still-pic mode is only .5 megapixels).

-Great for beginners to home movie making
-Great for beginners to digital camcorders
-Amazing film quality
-SD card slot to save still pictures
-Great sound
-LCD screen

-Poor explanation of how to use the digital zoom
-Lens cap is detatched
-Doesn't come with a FireWire, which is necessary to transfer video to the computer
-Still pics saved to the SD card are very low quality

Besides these four problems with this camcorder, it is a dream come true for those into amateur movie making. It really couldn't be any easier to use, save the digital zoom control. Other than these flaws, the camera is amazing and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to make professional-looking home movies. Great product, strongly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Camcorder
This is an excellent camcorder. I have had mine for a about a year and I have had no problems at all with it. The buttons on top are a little small for large hands but if you buy the optional remote control then you don't have to worry with them.I create digital movies on my computer using the USB cable that was provided. The special effects built into this camcorder work excellent. I have recommended this camcorder to all of my friends. ... Read more

12. Sharp VLNZ100U MiniDV Compact Digital Viewcam w/3" Color LCD, MMC/SD Memory Card Slot & USB Interface
by Sharp
list price: $599.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063EKP
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sharp
Sales Rank: 2303
Average Customer Review: 3.43 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Product Description

A multitasking digital camcorder, the Sharp VL-NZ100U features a large 3-inch LCD monitor, 10x optical and 300x digital zoom, and digital image stabilization. You can also shoot digital still images, save them on the included 8 MB memory card, and then transfer them to your PC.

With an optical zoom magnification of 10x, the VL-NZ100U also has a digital zoom--which works by electronically enhancing the optical image--that can magnify the picture up to 300 times. The digital image stabilization system keeps the picture steady and solid throughout zooms and camera shakes.

Other Features
With its 270-degree variable angle, you can hold the VL-NZ100U in a variety of angles to record over people and objects or for shots close to the ground. You can even record yourself by rotating the view screen 180 degrees.

The built-in speaker allows on-the-spot playback with sound for checking and viewing video footage anywhere. An on-screen recording guide helps you line up landscape footage and can be used as a guide for easy framing of subject matter. The backlight compensation feature corrects exposure in poor lighting conditions.

The VL-NZ100U also features several digital effects (black and white, sepia, NEG) that can be viewed without affecting the original recording.

Digital Stills
The VL-NZ100U can also operate as a digital still camera. Full-motion video is recorded onto a DVC tape while digital stills are stored on the included 8 MB Secure Digital (SD) memory card for easy transfer to a PC.

Inputs and Outputs
The VL-NZ100U comes with the standard DV IEEE 1394 port (also known as FireWire; Sharp refers to this connection as iLink) for a super-fast, lossless connection to a PC or other DV machines.

MiniDV Format
MiniDV digital technology delivers clear, sharp video with over 500 lines of horizontal resolution--far superior to the 240 lines of resolution offered by 8mm camcorders. You'll also get minimal color noise interference for a more stable picture.

The camera features excellent sound quality, recorded in either 12-bit or 16-bit audio recording modes.

  • 16-bit audio includes one set of stereo audio tracks to produce CD-quality sound.
  • 12-bit audio utilizes two sets of audio tracks so you can easily add background music or commentary into your videos while maintaining the existing soundtrack.

This is all delivered on a cassette that's 1/12th the size of a standard VHS tape. A MiniDV tape offers a digital recording time of two full hours--20 times the capacity of a CD.

This package comes with the VL-NZ100U camcorder, one rechargeable lithium-ion battery, AC adapter, tripod adapter, remote control (and batteries), AV dubbing cables, wrist strap, lens cap, and 8 MB memory card. ... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 300x digital, zoom with digital image stabilization
  • 3-inch color LCD
  • Records digital stills onto included 8 MB SD card
  • Digital effects include black and white, sepia, and negative shooting modes

Reviews (56)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good value
We've had our Sharp VLNZ100U for about three months now and we love it. The reality is that this camera is a 1/2 megapixel camera whick makes it not the ablosute best quality picture, but for the cost is very good. The camera has plenty of great features including the 10x optical zoom, 300x digital zoom, 16:9 widescreen mode, Digital image stabilization, the 180 degree rotation of the LCD monitor, the still camera (saves to memory card), plus plenty of the other "standard" camcorder features. ... Never a problem w/ the camera, it's worked perfect from the very first time we used it. The real trick after getting the camera is finding good digital video editing software to make your movies. And remember this camera does not come w/ the firewire or a tape, be prepared to buy these when you get your camera.

4-0 out of 5 stars READ THIS REVIEW!!
I have read many comments, all that I could find online actually. For the ...price after the rebate this is a great digital camcorder. What I read online in all user comments are:

1) Sharp doesnt support data transfer to a PC via IEEE1394. It only supports data transfer to other devices via IEEE1394. From what I read it will only work on Windows XP because it will auto detect it. Be sure you install the INF file from the CD so Windows XP knows what it is.
2) Apparently TDK tapes have a film that can ruin or atleast dirty the tape heads. (I use Sony tapes and it is fine)
3) A video capture program is a must for optimal quality of video transferred to your PC.

First I tried Windows Movie Maker (Included with OS). The quality... I tried different modes of capturing. I then used Adobe Premier 6 or 6.5 and I was amazed! It looked great! Were not talking DVD quality here. (Read about MiniDV resolutions and quality online)

To sum up... This is a very cool digital camcorder if you have Windows XP(with an IEEE1394 port), a good digital capture program like Adobe Premier (not Windows movie maker), you dont use TDK MiniDV cassettes and you get the rebate BEFORE it expires! Read the rebate carefully!

1-0 out of 5 stars Great paperweight...
Honestly, if you are buying this item get the extended warranty if could very well need it. I had it for barely a year and it worked great no complaints at all till it just quit working all together. Now it makes a great paperweight. The unit will not power up at all. Bear in mind that my unit has never been mishandled or mistreated. I have also done research on the web and have found similar reviews elsewhere. I am still trying to get Sharp to help me replace or repair it. I'd love to be able to write a retraction in the coming days that Sharp has stepped up and done the right thing. Till then...Stay tuned and best of luck.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Kept Secret
This is an awesome product! I don't know why more people don't get them. The reliability, ease of use, combination of features and display area make this a top notch product. I use many DV cameras for my work so I know what I'm talking about here. The price makes this even better! One drawback - no jack for external mike. But the sound its condenser mike picks up is pretty good. I hope Sharp continues to make them!


13. Canon ZR50MC MiniDV Digital Camcorder with 2.5" LCD, Digital Still Mode & MMC Card Slot
by Canon Video
list price: $799.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005YX4Q
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Canon Video
Sales Rank: 2799
Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Review

The ZR50MC is on Canon's high-end of MiniDV camcorders, but still sells for a reasonable price. Its 22x optical zoom out focuses the ZR50MC's siblings and much of the competition, letting you get extremely close to a subject without any of the degradation associated with digital zoom.

Its bright 2.5-inch LCD can be swiveled around, letting you record from a variety of angles. And if you opt for using the viewfinder, you'll see in color instead of the black and white many other camcorders use.

You can enhance your ZR50MC via the advanced accessory shoe, which allows you to connect a directional microphone or video light. And the camera comes with an 8 MB Secure Digital card to capture still images, although the quality is only fair--typical of digital camcorders.

The quality of captured video, on the other hand, proved quite excellent. Our video was sharp and bright, even when viewed at high resolution on our PC. The camera's night mode, while not a true IR darkness mode, did record well in low-light situations. You can also take advantage of the ZR50MC's extended recording feature, which let us capture over four hours of video on a single tape.

We did sometimes hear a slight hum from the camera's motor when watching recorded video, but it wasn't obtrusive and often wasn't noticeable.

The ZR50MC also functions as an analog-to-digital converter, letting you take the analog contents of your VHS or 8mm tapes and convert them to digital, either recording them on the ZR50MC's tape or saving them to your PC.

For all the features that are packed into the compact, lightweight body of the ZR50MC, its price tag makes it a perfect fit for a digital video enthusiast looking for a powerful camera at a still reasonable price. --J. Curtis


  • Analog-to-digital conversion
  • Extended recording function
  • High optical zoom


  • No true night mode
  • Motor hum sometimes recorded
... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 22x optical, 440x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD and color EVF
  • Digital photo mode records onto included 8 MB MMC card
  • Analog pass-through ports for direct connection to computer

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Most Matured Consumer Camcorder
I work with camcorders since 1988 - S-VHSC, Hi8, etc. No question, no matter what kind of digital camcorder you compare with an analog one, it is superior. However, I found this camcorder particularly interesting and bought it since I left the 'semi-professional' field (and being now an electrical engineer in software development). Here are my findings:

1) Awesome workmanship: The high-grade plastic case pieces precisely fit and give the camcorder a valuable finish, the buttons have a well defined 'ignition' point and the connectors for FireWire, USB, Analog Video etc. are 'cemented' into the case.
2) Excellent cost / feature ratio: Although following the hype of marrying video with stills, this camcorder emphasizes on video (please, do buy a digital camera if you need digital stills). The outstanding optical unit with a real 22x zoom and one of the most effective image stabilizer in the market, combined with a friendly user-interface including illuminated buttons and a clean menu, this camcorder is a bargain.
The picture quality is excellent. One note here: please remember that the miniDV standard builds on 5.7 Mhz video bandwidth. In other words, no matter what the (multi) colored CCD ship is capable of a resolution, it comes down to a maximum of 370,000 effective pixels needed for NTSC video. The 460,000 pixels of this camcorder seem more than enough.
3) Accessories: Just in case you really care about the somewhat whining recorder server motors, please do buy the optional microphone - it's an awesome addition if you do semi-professional sound-recordings. Also, Canon offers wide and tele-converters specialized for the ZR series. Not a novelty in camcording in general, but a serious affordable consumer expansion if needed.
4) Internationality: Yes, there are other electrical power systems out there: the Canon switching power supply is not only very light, it also connects to almost every wall-outlet in the world with the right (optional) plug-adapter.
5) Ergonomics: Oh yes, I thought about a palm-ready camcorder, too. But think about it: the optical unit including the lenses and the CCD has to fit into half the length of a regular camcorder like the ZR 50 (Palm recorders do not have more than 10x zoom, the ZR 50 has 22x). The camcorder fits right into my hand, the zoom button can be accessed naturally without shifting the camcorder in your hand (try Sony!) and the zoom button is depth sensitive - the deeper you zoom, the less sensitive is the camcorder zoom-button. Additionally, beside so many other brands out there, the digital zoom is even useable to a certain degree. It becomes affective once the optical zoom is exhausted to a 22x. However, if you want quality video, turn it off.
6) Video Modes: Select one of the predefined video modes. One of the most impressive mode is the night-mode - if the moon strikes you, your ZR 50 will catch it. However, don't expect wonders, every serious video-grapher recommends at least 100 lux (a unit of measuring light-intensity).

I couldn't find a con so far - maybe the sound-quality the integrated microphone produces? Hm, given the size of the case, it seems reasonable...

Yeah, I am enjoying this camcorder. Canon showed once again that a camcorder design can meet almost all of a consumer-customer's needs:
Rich functionality, lightweight design, extensible through optional accessories including lenses, robust workmanship.


5-0 out of 5 stars ZR-50MC Report With DM-50 Mike and VL-3 Light
I purchased the ZR50 6 weeks ago. The ZR50 is my fourth Canon Camcorder (the most recent one a Hi8 with optical image stabilization). My goal with the ZR50 was to be able to get into digital editing, especially since I recently upgraded computers to a 1.8GHz P4 with 512M RAM and firewire ports. Here are the results so far-

1) Motor noise pickup- Yes, it is there. It is a somewhat higher-pitched whine that you can hear if your ear is close to the camera while recording. I bought the DM-50 mike and have now used the mike extensively, including taping my daughter's cello recital as well as a MS&HS spring concert which included vocals and a full Vivaldi concerto by a 15 member string ensemble. The DM-50 mike completely takes care of the motor whine. In addition, with the camera set at 16-bit recording, the recorded sound is CD quality. The DM-50 has three settings: boom, 1, and 2 (latter 2 are stereo). The best setting is the "1" setting.
2) General Impression- The video is great. It is the sharpest of all the cameras I've owned so far. The camera is surprisingly small (half the size of the Hi8mm), but fits well in the hand. The outside buttons are very handy. The LCD viewer is easy to read and has true colors. The manual is comprehensive. The remote is multifunctional. The digital image stabilization works very well (as well as the optical stabilization of my older camcorder). The 22x optical zoom is excellent (I turned off the digital zoom). I was able to take good close-ups of the students at the spring concert (using a tripod). The auto focus is very fast and stable, better than previous camcorders. The camera is clearly not perfect, but for the price, it has a lot of highly desirable features.
3) Low Light Performance- This is not a strong point. The shutter speed for both low light and nightlight causes the images to be jerky when panning. I purchased the VL-3 light since it is powered by the camera battery. At 3 watts, it is not so obtrusive/intense as to be a huge problem for people looking at it. The light is very small, so it is easy to carry. The light is most effective within 6 feet or so. Outdoor video of spring flowers taken at night was fine.
4) Batteries- I purchased the BP-535 battery which is quite large (in a relative scale sense). I used it to power the ZR50 during the 1 hr taping of the spring concert (and it powered the mike as well). When I was done, the indicator was showing 2/3 battery power still left.
5) Bonuses- A) The ZR50 uses the same power adapter/charger (CA-560) as the G2 digital camera- less to carry. B) The remote will also work on my other Canon camcorders which can be a problem if you're using both together. However, you can program the ZR50 remote to setting "2" to avoid this issue. Very thoughtful.
6) Still Images- Have not tried- have excellent digital camera for that.
Finally, due to the small size, I can fit both the ZR50 camcorder and G2 digital camera with mike, light, flash unit, extra batteries, cables, etc. in a fairly small case. This is good.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Camcorder At Great Price!
This is an awesome camcorder! I've had it for about two weeks now, and I love it. The video quality is very good and its compact size makes it very portable. I have a Apple iMac G4 and the ZR50 runs outstanding with it.

I am an amateur filmmaker and I was previously using my father's Canon GL1, which is a great camcorder, but I needed something for myself. I was skeptical of a high quality camcorder at a low price. So I did all the research and liked the ZR50.

The still quality isn't that good, but that is not why I bought it. If you are looking for a nice digital video and still camera, this is not for you. It is a nice bonus, though, to take low quality photos and share them with people over the Internet.

If you have read that the motor noise is a problem, well, the same noise is on my father?s Canon GL1 which is $... So, you make the decision to associate the noise with this particular camcorder or not.

If you want a small digital camcorder that takes great video at a good price, this is one for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars great camcorder... affordable cost... can't go wrong
i've had my zr50 for two months now, and i love it!! when i was shopping around i considered the zr50mc and elura 40mc. i'm a mac user so, i had to make sure i bought a camcorder that supported mac os x, imovie and iphoto. after reading the consumer reviews on both camcorders from a few different sites, including the reviews on, i opted for the zr50 and have not been disappointed.

i read a lot about the motor humming noises, but truthfully i don't know what humming noise was being referred to. the recorded movies are sharp and crisp; the colors bright.

i do agree with the "night mode" feature being a bit lacking, although the camcorder will record in low-light environment just fine.

no complaints on the battery life and required charging time.

the analog pass through feature is awesome...allows me to edit older movies recorded from an analog camcorder on my ibook!

i was also surprised by the quality of still shots taken on the zr50's photo (digital camera) feature...crisp, vivid colors, not too grainy. after reading some of the reviews, i didn't expect much from the still image feature.

bottom line -- the zr50 is a great buy, and it's affordability can't be beat. works fabulously with mac os x (and jaguar) and compatible with imovie and iphoto...

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Deal!
I bought this camcorder just before Christmas. I've read all the reviews before decided to buy it, they are really helpful. This machine is perfect to me, having all the great features described by previous customers.

And I had a real good deal having a free carring bag and free software from Cannon and even a rebate. So, before you pay your credit card, go to check whether there is a rebate or discount offer from Manufacture. Sometimes, you have to browse some where else to find it, I don't trust other retailers, although they do seem to offer better price (they have very high shipping fee!!!). ... Read more

14. Sony DCRTRV25 MiniDV Digital Handycam Camcorder w/ 2.5" LCD, MPEG EX, Memory Stick & Mega Pixel Video/ Still
by Sony
list price: $1,199.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006686T
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 1160
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Product Description

Capture those special moments with the DCR-TRV25 MiniDV camcorder. The new MiniDV camcorder from Sony creates high-quality visuals, thanks to the 1,024,000 pixel CCD and the Carl Zeiss 10x optical zoom lens. The Super SteadyShot mode will ensure your visuals stay still, even if your hand doesn't.

Using the USB streaming feature, the camcorder can also function as a Webcam. In addition to this, video footage can be downloaded directly to a PC via a USB port. This material can then be edited on your PC using the supplied software. Once edited, your masterpiece can be shared with the whole world via the Internet.

For those wanting to retain the high quality that the digital camcorder offers, the DCR-TRV25 offers iLink (IEEE 1394 in and out), giving the user the ability to edit raw footage on their computer via a FireWire capture card and then output the edited footage back onto the DCR-TRV25. The camera also features analogue video in and 14-bit DXP signal processing for greatly improved rendition of highlights and shadow detail.

The DCR-TRV25 includes the ability to record straight to MemoryStick. As with the DCR-TRV340, you can create MPEG movies. Your recording time is now only limited by the size of MemoryStick.

Add to these already impressive features a 2.5-inch 123,000 pixel LCD screen, manual focus, 120x digital zoom, playback zoom and Super NightShot mode for filming in very low light, and you've got yourself a very impressive camcorder. ... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 120x digital zoom with digital image stabilization
  • 2.5-inch color LCD; color EVF
  • Records still photos onto tape or included Memory Stick media
  • Uses included InfoLithium battery; also includes adapter, wireless remote control, stereo AV cable, lens cap, USB cable, MGI Photo Suite/VideoWave/USB CD-ROM driver

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice toy!
I'm not a Sony fan but I'm impressed by this great camera. Before buying this camcorder it was so important for me to find reviews about it on the Internet. After I got it I was thinking several times to write my own review but as usual you always don't have time for that. Then I said that's not fair. I know how important was for me to find the reviews (thanks to everybody who wrote a review and helped me reach the final decision). And I know also that right now many guys are searching the Internet looking for new reviews. So it's my turn to pay back ...
I did my research on the Internet for about one year until I decided to buy this camcorder. Actually I wanted the TRV27 and I changed my mind in the last moment because the difference in price between these two models in too big ... I don't regret my decision. The 2.5" LCD is just enough for us.
TRV25 is not very good in low light but also it's not bad too. It's just good. After reading some reviews on the Internet I was expecting actually the camcorder to be even worst in low light. It's OK but I'm considering to buy a external light.
In good light the camcorder is amazing! Very good resolution (I have a digital HDTV which lets me know immediately if the signal is not good), very nice life-like colors, extremely clear and clean sound!
I had no problem at all to hook up TRV25 on the USB port (I have Windows 2000 professional). Then I got a Zoltrix FireWire card and I couldn't see the camcorder with it. I called Sony and Microsoft and I sent an email to Zoltrix in Hong Kong (no answer back yet). They couldn't help me too much. Sony said that you don't need any special Sony drivers for TRV25. It's true but the general DV driver I had in my Win2K was bad. If you have problems with your FireWire connection you may try the following links: and Now I'm fine. The Zoltrix card is working fine and smooth and the cable (comes with the card) is long so you don't have to stay with your camera underneath you desk. Price paid (for card, cable and software): $51 CDN +Tax.
My problem now is that I couldn't find yet the best solution to store the footage. Hopefully I'll be able to find the right settings in KVCD ( To store the footage on VHS tapes is out of question! From my camcorder I'm getting a nice 520 lines and if I store this on VHS I'll have at the end just 240 horizontal lines! Where is the point of spending so much money for a digital camcorder then? So far using the KVCD the colors are good, sound is good, the resolution is good (704 x 480) - much better than VCD (352 x 240) or SVCD (480 x 480) (check ). The only problem is that the image is not smooth. It looks like I'm loosing frames. That happens only when the camera is moving fast to the left or to the right. ...
I love my camcorder and of course I recommend it to anybody. If you are shopping for a camcorder go digital first and second give a chance to Sony TRV25/27 and you'll fall in love.
Good luck!

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything I was looking for:
After researching for 1 month on camcorders, I finally chose the Sony DCR-TRV25 for several reasons.
1) It records in 690,000 pixels (520 lines of horizontal resolution)
2) Megapixel on still photo shots (1152 X 864 instead of 640 x 480)
3) Its size (very small but not too small so you don't jitter the camera)
4) Its ability to record streaming video (to put on my website)
5) 7 lux rating / 0 lux with night shot
6) Color viewfinder
7) optional manual control on brightness, backlight and focus

Others that I looked at had 1 or more of the feautres missing (like still photo of 640x480 or CCD pixels of 480,000).. so in the end, I found this to be the best priced camcorder for the money ...(Only difference I see in TRV27 is that TRV27 comes with some editing tools... (which I won't use anyways). I also looked at the TRV17 which had everything I wanted expect it's photo resolution was at 640X480.

Video Editing with P-III, 450mhz, 256 mem, Windows XP with firewire port was a breeze. Just install the firewire card and load the drivers.

You transfer still shots via the usb port. Its very easy to do. Just plug in the USB cable (it comes with one) and you will see "Sony Digital Camera" on "My computer" Just drag and drop your photos into a folder.

Although the color and sharpness of this camera is amazing, my only gripe is that the video and stills gets grainy with low light. So I'd suggest you buy a light for the camera if you plan on doing a lot of indoor shots (or at least make sure you have a good light source.)

I also recommend you buy 1) UV filter lens (mostly to protect the camcorder's lens) 2) 32MB or 64MB memory stick (instead of the 8mb it comes with) 3) Wide angle lens 4) carrying case 5) Extra battery (the one it comes with lasts about an hour)

Even if you don't buy this camcorder, after all my research, I would stick with Sony or Panasonic camcorders (they seem to get the best reviews)

5-0 out of 5 stars DCRTRV25 REVIEW
Great camcorder. Excelent outdoor pictures and sound! Easy to use. Still indoor pictures somewhat grainy though.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome Camera
This is a great camera to have if you just want to have fun with making movies with a small budget. I have had this camera since Christmas and it has never been a dissapointment. My buddies and I make movies a lot, and we all agree that it is great. There are many features that they dont tell you about in the editorial review like frame recording for animation.(eg. toy soldiers, cartoons, etc.)If you do get this camera and want a good professional look to your movies, I recommend also getting the Pinnacle Studio Version 7 editing software. With it you can capture movies on your computer, edit them, add sound and picture effects, and transitions. Then it is recorded back onto your camera.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sony makes the BEST video cameras!
I now have 3 Sony camcorders, this being my third. I bought a VHSC a long time ago, moved on up to Hi-8 in 1999, and just got this mini DV in December. I could not ask for more! This camera has it all. The features are remarkable and the quality is like no other.

I began getting into video editing and saw the real need for a mini DV to produce more quality in my work. I actually first bought a Canon mini DV for its size and price. That went right back to the store! Its quality was worse than my VHSC, really it was. If you are serious about quality and durability go with Sony. I have never been displeased with any Sony I have owned and still retain all 3 camcorders!

On a side note, if you are just looking for a camera to tape your kids sporting events, family functions, may not want to go as far as this mini DV only because there are so many features and things to learn it may take quite a bit of practice before it is ready to use. For those uses I would definitely recommend one of the Sony Digital-8 cams. Also note that the still picture quality is not what you would get with a digital camera, not even close. But that is not what this mini DV is for, so I totally dismiss that and consider it another cool feature to play with! One great thing also about this camera is that it will record MPEGS!

All in all, an excellent buy! ... Read more

15. Samsung SCD180 MiniDV Upright Digital Camcorder with 2.5" LCD Display, 10x Optical & 8MB Memory Stick
list price: $999.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000069HFM
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: SAMSUNG
Sales Rank: 2935
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Product Description

The uniquely designed SCD180 sits snugly in your hand for great convenience and comfort while shooting. Among its many features are a large 2.5-inch LCD screen that rotates 210 degrees, a shoe for external accessories, a remote control, and a color onscreen display with easy-to-use dial navigation controls.

The optical zoom magnifies up to 12 times, while the digital zoom, which works by electronically enhancing the optical image, reaches up to 480 times. The zoom toggle is pressure sensitive, so you can control the speed of your zooms. The electronic image stabilization keeps the picture steady throughout the natural shakes and jitters during usage.

Digital Stills
Digital photos are stored on the included 8 MB Memory Stick in JPEG format. The SCD180 has a USB connection for easy PC import. You can use the included software, MGI PhotoSuite II, to edit your digital stills.

Inputs and Outputs
The standard DV IEEE1394 port (also called FireWire) is present for a no-loss connection to a PC or other DV machines, as well as a USB port. The common RCA A/V connections are used for direct viewing on a television or VHS dubbing. You can also plug in an external microphone via the mic jack for better sound.

MiniDV Format
MiniDV digital technology delivers clear, sharp video with up to 500 lines of horizontal resolution--far superior to the 240 lines of resolution offered by 8mm camcorders. You'll get minimal color noise interference for a more stable picture. You'll also get excellent sound quality in either 12-bit or 16-bit audio recording modes.

  • 16-bit audio includes one set of stereo audio tracks to produce CD-quality sound.
  • 12-bit audio uses two sets of audio tracks, so you can easily add background music or commentary to your videos while maintaining the existing soundtrack.

This is all delivered on a cassette that's 1/12 the size of a standard VHS tape. A MiniDV tape offers digital recording time of two full hours--20 times the capacity of a CD. ... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 12x optical, 480x digital, zoom with digital image stabilization
  • 2.5-inch color LCD and monochrome EVF
  • Digital photo mode records onto 8 MB Memory Stick
  • IEEE1394 (FireWire), A/V, external mic connections

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great investment
I got this Camcorder in Jan. of 2003. I use it all the time. I make music videos and short movies for leisure and they turn out great. I haven't had any problems. It works great on the computer too. Some of the reasons I got this camcorder was that it was cheap for some features like external Mic Jack and audio dubbing.

1-0 out of 5 stars Warranty and customer support
I purchased this camcorder 8 months ago, 2 months ago I experienced snow flake effect when recording, I called Samsung to repair it they referred me to a local dealer the dealer was not able to fix it so I called Samsung again they asked me to ship it to NJ, for repair so I did, with charge for service repair and the cost of shipping I accrued from a lack of qualified Service centers locally. They have been holding my camcorder for one and half months. I have called them several times and even talked to the manager but I can not get a answer as to when I will get it back or other wise.

3-0 out of 5 stars Defective right out of box
Product is defective right out of the box. Now I have to ship it to Samsung's service department to fix it. Poor quality control.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent camcorder
Selected to be received as a Xmas gift and absolutely love it. Small compact design, excellent video quality. Connectivity options galore: Firewire, USB connections to PC, S-video, audio outs can connect to analog-in of PC or directly to TV or a VCR.

I neded to do some video editing and connected camera via Firewire to PC and was able to control camera from within application without a problem. Created excellent looking AVIs and MPEGs for burning to DVD and CD.

For photos, you need to select highest quality setting, otherwise pics don't look too good. Memory Stick slot very convenient and easy to insert/remove.

Alot of nice options via the menu for special effects, format, sound, etc.

Great DV camera and excellent quality. Highly recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Cam for Great Price
Originally, I wanted to buy Canon ZR-45MC. However, it has 460K pixel CCD. Then, I found this great cam for great price with many features (including 680K CCD). Fit and Finish is excellent. It has small size, excellent picture (better than my old 8mm and Super VHS), easy manu with pull downs (it took less than 30 minutes to figure out the menu), connectivity with USB and Firewire (no Firewire cable - shame), dual zoom switch with remote, and good button and switch position (some editing button is small). Some disadvantages are mike is too good and on the top of cam (picks up every noises, including motor, even though this cam is more quiet than many cam), no intelligent shoe (I wanted intelligent mike, but I still can get directional mike, no problem), Still camera has some use for quick composition (why would I use this camera when I can use my 5 meg camera?) and zoom is slightly too fast (little difficult to control the speed). Overall, this is best cam for the price...This is definitely a keeper. ... Read more

16. Sony CCDTRV108 Hi8 Camcorder with 2.5" LCD
by Sony
list price: $299.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000630MK
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 2444
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Review

Digital video cameras have taken the spotlight recently, but for users who don't intend to transfer their video to PC, the now inexpensive analog cameras can make them an appetizing option. Sony's CCD-TRV108 Hi-8 can be had for less than $300--a steal for a Sony Handycam. It's not the most compact of cameras, but it can still be easily operated with one hand.

The lowest end of Sony's Hi-8 line, the TRV108 contains some excellent features for the price. Its NightShot infrared capability lets you film in total darkness--a feature missing on some more expensive competitor cameras.

The swiveling 2.5-inch color LCD makes it easy to frame your shots, and the 20x optical zoom (with 460x digital zoom) lets you bring the action in close. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery allows for a decent recording time of up to 160 minutes. For the long haul, the optional NP-FM91 battery pack promises over 15 hours of life on a charge.

Sony also includes a variety of basic effects tools, so you can slim or stretch the image, add fade-in and fade-out effects, and insert titles directly into your videos. The camera's dubbing feature controls 59 different brands of VCRs for fast and simple transfer of the video to VHS tape.

While analog quality can't compare to digital, the TRV108 still captures sharp video. The average user will be pleased with the picture for scenes such as a family reunion, but for more detailed subjects like distant nature shots, or if you plan to edit video on a PC, digital would serve you better but cost you more.

This camcorder would make a great gift for parents or other users simply wanting a way to record their memories in respectable quality. --J. Curtis


  • Good quality for analog.
  • Very inexpensive
  • NightShot mode


  • No light or accessory shoe
  • A bit bulky
... Read more


  • Hi8 camcorder
  • 20x optical, 460x digital, zoom
  • 2.5 inch color LCD and black and white EVF
  • NightShot infrared mode for lowlight shooting
  • Comes with NP-FM30 InfoLithium battery

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for a first camera
The camera is very easy to use. It's not as bulky as other reviews make it out to be. The battery life has been great and the picture clarity has been great also. I have been using it to tape track meets and everything can be seen clearly. Remember that you will have to buy tapes for this camera, but that is no problem for the clarity you will get. I have not tried out all the other features like night vision, but from what I have seen so far, this camera is a real good bargain. I know 5 other people who have the same item and they do not have any complaints.The flip out lcd screen is clear also. It's like using a digital camera...but only with the tapes. Only downside I have seen is that it is a little hard to keep steady based on the videos watched. The camera seems to move around alot, but again, the picture clarity is great regardless of the low price. If you don't want to upgrade to ditigal, start with this camcorder. You will not be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Deal in Sony Hi8 Camcorder Ever!
I've been waiting and waiting for the best value in a Sony Hi8 Camcorder and by far this is it! This is my very first camcorder. I've been doing a lot of research and comparison on which sony model will suit me best, then this came out. I quickly grabbed it after finding out how reasonably priced it was. I bought it at [a local store] during [a] Sale... I've never laid hand on a camcorder before and I am very pleased to find out how easy it was to operate. I was able to do the playback on my TV and dubbing on my VCR with ease. It has great features, great sound and best of all best picture quality. I know there are a lot of people out there like myself who are not ready to spend a lot of money on a camcorder especially for the very first time. Well, you will not be disappointed with this one! It comes with all the accessories to get you started. Battery charging is very fast, instructions are easy to follow when it comes to recording, playback and editing, the night shot feature is great, best of all the LCD screen is so fun to use especially when you have a "little one" to capture on video. This is definitely as great buy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Deal
We use it for all our family events and are please at how easy it is to use. (never read the directions)The picture quality is good, clear and crisp pictures. We dont intend to use it on the computer so the analog camera is a better deal for us than digital.

5-0 out of 5 stars ACERCA DE LA COMPRA
Buenas tardes amigos de Terra lo que quiero saber si esto es seguro, si recibire la camara de video en casa y donde tengo que
pagar por ella.
gracias de antemano por sus indicaciones

Pedro Sueros

5-0 out of 5 stars Great camera for the price
Wanted a camera for Christmas and got this one because of the price, and needless to say it's a great camera. Just got back from DisneyWorld and the 108 performed extremely well. The nightshot proved handy in those dark rides, and the quality of picture was well for the Festival of the Lion King performance. The only problem I saw was that the autofocus was slow to adapt at times during those fireworks and laser shows. I didn't expect it to keep up, but it did better than I expected. Talk about impact resistant, I had a hissy when it fell out of the bag into the boat on the pirates of the carribean, but it took a lickin and it's still ticking. Once home, I just connected it to my TV and watched my vacation replay. Great camera for the price, definately worth more. Only thing better is digital. Sony has a winner here. ... Read more

17. JVC GRDVL120U MiniDV Digital CyberCam Video Camera with 2.5" LCD & B/W Viewfinder
by JVC
list price: $599.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063BGZ
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: JVC
Sales Rank: 2410
Average Customer Review: 3.24 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Review

Although larger than most MiniDV cameras, the JVC GR-DVL120U still feels lightweight and fits snugly into the palm of one hand. It also doesn't offer some of the high-end features of other MiniDV cameras, but for the inexpensive price of $400, it's still a great value.

The GR-DVL120U includes a 16x optical zoom and 700x digital zoom, letting you get quite close to your subjects. The 2.5-inch flip-out LCD renders images in crisp colors, although the optical viewfinder displays in black and white.

Video quality proved to be bright and colorful, with some decent digital effects available, including wipes and fades. While the GR-DVL120U doesn't include a memory-card slot for storing still pictures like some other cameras in its class, it does take snapshots, housing them on the same DV tape as video.

JVC's NightAlive feature allows for filming in low-light situations, although we have seen better results with the low-light capabilities of other cameras and camcorders.

Recharging the camera requires plugging the AC cord directly into the camera itself--depending on your viewpoint, not having a separate battery charger might be either a positive or a negative. Regardless, the battery recharges quickly, and the charge lasts a little longer than an hour--sufficient for most users.

You'll want a FireWire-capable PC to transfer video to your computer, and you'll have to pick up a FireWire cable. You can also send video directly to your TV or VCR via RCA or S-video from the 120U.

While the GR-DVL120U may not have all the features of JVC's higher-end models, this MiniDV cam does deliver excellent video quality in a very affordable package. The GR-DVL120U would please almost any beginning digital video enthusiast. --J. Curtis


  • Great price
  • Takes digital still photos
  • 16x optical zoom/700x digital zoom


  • No storage card for stills
  • Black-and-white viewfinder
... Read more


  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 16x optical, 700x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5-inch color LCD; black and white EVF
  • Snapshot mode records stills onto tape
  • S-Video and IEEE1394 outputs

Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good value
I would recommend this product for beginning/amateur video enthusiasts for the ease of use. Although because it is limited by its price range, some features are cut out or needed, which is obviously placed in JVC's higher models. I use it to edit simple home movies using the IEEE Firewire output to my PC and it runs great on most software. I have only one problem with it though: I actually DO a lot of editing and I have to plug the AC adapter to the camera everytime, but the problem is, the plug in the camera is in the wrong place forcing the AC wire to be in this obtuse position bending the wires out of shape. It's not in a real bad condition yet, but i'm predicting in a couple of months or so after use, it will probably be damaged to a higher degree. JVC needs to place the AC outlet somewhere on the side in order to get rid of this problem. But other than that, its a good camera.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great camera for the price
This is a great camera for the price. ...The camera is light, easy to use and has great picture quality. I would recommend this camera to anyone looking for a nice digial video camera. I have seen several reviews of the camera online and all say that this is a great camera for the money. There are better cameras out there but you are looking at spending several hundred more for one of those cameras.

This camera was a breeze to use with my Apple Powerbook to do video editing with Imovie. No configuration was needed to use the camera with the laptop. I just hooked up the firewire to the laptop and used Imovie to edit and export the film to Quicktime or back to the camera. One note, a firewire cable is not included with this camera so if you are planning on editing via computer you will need to pick one up.

Overall I would highly recommend this camera to anyone who wants a DV camera that is easy to use and not very expensive.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good camera for the money
I reluctantly bought a display model of the GR-DVL120U about a year ago. I choose this model because of price, shape/size and the fact it was digital. Price was the biggest concern because the soul purpose was for shooting underwater video (if my housing flooded, I would be out less money). The camera is still going strong despite use in some rough environments. The video quality is very good and if works great for connecting to a computer (something my girlfriends Sony doesn't do well). The manual setting on the camera is great because I can lock the focus and everything for shooting underwater. That way it doesn't search for focus in low light conditions. There's lots of different settings you can tweak in the manual mode to work in your environment (I can get good footage 119 ft underwater!) The negative would be the camera isn't very common so it isn't always easy to find batteries or other accessories (like a good fisheye lens)

1-0 out of 5 stars do not buy!!!!
it broke the third time we used it. no power, nothing. now the labor warranty is expired and the tape is stuck inside! do not nuy no matter how great the deal. you will buy buy a peice of excretory waste.

1-0 out of 5 stars defective!!!
I had the camcorder for about a year and then BANG, this whinding noise starts to happen... I can't record with it anymore... It seems with the slightest touch, it makes a whinding noise and tottally destroys the image... This product was a great deal... Too bad it doesn't work! ... ... Read more

18. Sony DCRTRV840 Digital8 Camcorder w/ 3.5" LCD, USB Streaming, Memory Stick, and Mega Pixel Video/ Still
by Sony
list price: $999.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063LGR
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Sony
Sales Rank: 4300
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan Product Description

The Digital8 line was conceived as a path to digital for current owners of 8mm or Hi8 camcorders. The DCR-TRV840 succeeds in that regard, playing back both 8mm and Hi8 tapes.

The TRV840 can also be used as a digital still camera, recording megapixel stills onto the included 8 MB Memory Stick, or it can record MPEG movies. MPEG movies usually are much smaller than DV footage, and can more readily be e-mailed, or posted on the Web. Unlike most MPEG modes, however, the TRV840 lets you record for as long as you want, your only limit is the size of the Memory Stick.

Sony put in a 15x optical zoom and paired it with Super SteadyShot image stabilization. Image stabilization is a handy technology that helps to eliminate the shakiness associated with high zoom levels. The only way to avoid shakiness completely is to utilize a tripod, table, or other stable surface. The 3.5-inch LCD is the best way to frame your shots, although you can use the black-and-white EVF to preserve battery life.

In addition to the normal slew of ports (IEEE 1394, S-Video, Mini AV) that have made their way onto TRV840, there's also a USB port, which, with some included software, offers some interesting functions. There is also one very important port on the TRV840: a mic input. Not only do most camcorders have poor built-in microphones, but also they are often situated too near the tape mechanism, meaning you get the annoying throbbing sound of the tape pulled through the heads.

The DCR-TRV840 comes with a power adapter, InfoLithium battery, 8 MB Memory Stick, remote control, two AA batteries, AV cable, lens cap, shoulder strap, USB cable, and software CD-ROM. ... Read more


  • Digital8 camcorder with 15x optical, 420x digital, zoom, and Super SteadyShot image stabilization
  • Large 3.5 inch color LCD monitor and black and white EVF
  • Super NightShot Color Mode enables video taping in total darkness
  • Features 1-megapixel CCD; includes 8 MB Memory Stick for still image and MPEG Movie EX capture
  • Hi8 and 8mm playback capability; USB streaming capability

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for PC users but.....for Mac???? Choose a Canon.
All the characteristics of this camera are great. The still digitals to mpegs, but I had to buy a Canon for this particular camera to be compatible with my G4 Mac. I bought the camera before I bought my G4.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great camcorder, but noisy
This is a very nice camcorder for the money. I love the larger view screen, and the battery lasts quite a long time. The picture quality is very good, but there is considerable noise from the motor that gets recorded on the tape. If you're taping a birthday party or sporting event, the noise isn't too bad, but if you're using it to record the birds chirping on a quiet morning, forget it; the noise from the motor will drown out anything you'd be able to hear, it's that loud. Lastly, I have had several old 8mm tapes from my old camcorder that will not play on this camcorder. They will play on my neighbor's 8mm Samsung camcorder, but not on this Sony. I was a little upset by this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Worth the Money
This is a great camera! It is very easy to use. It takes very clear digital video, and for 1 megapixel CCD takes good digital pictures. It has many neat features. It has a large LCD screen for easy reviewing.

It records Mpeg files on the memorystick for display on computers. This is a great feature although the files recorded are a little grainy. This is great for e-mailing vacation movies back to family members.

The quality of the digital video is great. The bad thing is that you don't get much recording time on one tape. It uses 2 hour analog tapes, but when you record in digital mode you only get 1 hour on each tape.

The picture taking feature is wonderful for vacation. You don't have to carry both a still camera and a video camera around with you. The pictures are only 1 megapixel, but they show up on a computer screen great. We were very pleased with the results of the pictures.

The battery life is very long. We purchased a separate quick charger for our batteries which was a great addition. It doesn't take much time to charge and they last quite a while compared to our old Minolta camcorder.

The TRV840 is like a M1 tank in several ways:
1)When you shoot a subject, you get great results.
2) It can use a variety of "ammo" (plays Hi8 and 8mm tapes also).
3) Weighs "a ton" (stable but rough on the hand after a while).
4) Reliable and sturdy.

Summary: Exceptional video, excellent sound, 1 MP digital stills (Great for email or web posting). Able to convert any video to digital, 8mm inside the camera or other video by pass through. A great feature if you have old videos you want to digitize. Just make sure your PC is up to the task!

For my specific needs of great digital video and the ability to digitize old tapes, I can overlook the excess bulk. Videos should be short and sweet anyway, so I'll just put it down when my hand starts to ache! If you need the same features, the TRV840 can't be beat.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why TRV740 over TRV840?
Why TRV740 over TRV840? It (TRV740) costs ...less so why would people be dumb enough to get the 740 and get a smaller 2.5" screen?

Simple. Smaller screens use less battery power when you want to use the LCD while shooting. Sure one can argue you can lower the brightness of both models but all that electricity going into powering an extra 30-40% of LCD screen puts on extra weight for a heavier battery demand.

Remember bigger isn't always better. I own a TRV740 and played with a friend's TRV840 and found it to drain battery at a much quicker rate especially when playing back video. Don't get me wrong, I was still envious of the bigger screen.

The motor still produces noise on both models. It's true what they say- that the noise buzzing gets recorded on the tape. I swear on my cat that this is true. The motor spins twice as fast when compared to a Hi8 system (new data transfer method using old infrastructure), hence the louder noise when comparing it to a lower-end yet quieter Hi8. It makes no difference if you are just shooting for fun or on the beach where the ambient noise is high anyway.

I did research on the web and found that almost everyone talked about the noise in the Digital 8 sony models. When will Sony improve their motor mechanisms?

I thought about returning the camcorder to circuit city the day I bought it due to the buzzing motor noise but grew attached to it. All the special features were indeed very impressive. Especially the continuous Mpeg recording on the memory stick.

Hope this helped. ... Read more

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