Why 800,000 Pixels?
Before we go into the details of each model, let us give you some general information. All digital camcorders (MiniDV and Digital 8) record in DV format except the Hitachi DZ-MV350, which burns DVDs in MPEG-2. The PAL DV format gives an on-screen resolution of 720 x 576, or 414,720 pixels (the NTSC DV format gives a resolution of 720 x 486, or 349,920 pixels). In theory, a 500,000-pixel sensor should be enough, but this would not allow for the digital image stabilizer, which requires nearly 400,000 pixels to operate. This is why camcorders have sensors of at least 800,000 pixels: half for the image and half for the stabilizer.
Once the PAL or NTSC DV resolution is obtained, the quality of the image depends on sensor design, lens quality and the capacity of the processor to digitize electrical charges without loss. These three criteria will determine the final quality of the picture on the TV screen (which has its own influence).
Colormetrics: RGB Results
We tested all six camcorders on images comprising the primary colors (red, green and blue) to compare the quality of their sensors' RGB filter. The results presented some interesting differences. Overall, the Sony DCR-TRV22 comes first in fidelity of the colors brought out with contrast. The Canon Elura 50 comes in just behind, due to its less detailed image. The JVC GR-DX95's colors are a bit washed out, with a very pale blue and olive green.
Canon Elura 50