Comparison of Four 800,000-Pixel Camcorders

Optics

Zoom

The first thing to realize is that the digital zoom on a camcorder is worthless. In spite of incredible focal ratios (700x or 800x), you get no more than an enlargement, which makes the pixels bigger and degrades the image. Here we only discuss the optical zoom that works with powered lenses at a focal length we give as 35 mm in our table. It is quite plain: all the camcorders in the test have a ratio of 10x except for the JVC, which has a ratio of 16x (the most powerful).

Canon Elura 50

Short focal length.

Long focal length at 10x.
Focal Length

But apart from zoom capability, we also have to ascertain the focal length and especially the starting value, which indicates the camcorder's viewing angle. The smaller this figure is, the wider the viewing angle. The Hitachi DZ-MV350 (40.5 mm) and the Sony DCR-TRV22 (42 mm) have the widest viewing angles. The narrowest of the pack is the Canon Elura 50 (48 mm). So if you want your camcorder to film panoramic views, the Sony would be a good choice.

Sony DCR-TRV22 in 42 mm.
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