Comparison of Four 800,000-Pixel Camcorders

Manual Setting

Most of the image settings can be adjusted manually, via the menu, on all of the models. White balance has four modes: Automatic, Indoor, Outdoor and Hold (manual adjustment against a sheet of white paper). The AE exposure programs are predefined according to shooting conditions (sunshine, night-time, indoors, sport, snow). The digital image stabilizer, digital zoom and automatic focus can be deactivated. Note that the Hitachi DZ-MV350 is the only camera without a manual shutter speed adjustment. The others allow you to choose a speed on a varying scale (1/100, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, etc.).

Appearance

Of the camcorders with vertical focus, the Canon Elura 50 is really the tops! It has a fine, strong, silver magnesium finish. The JVC GR-DX95 is dressed in plastic but everything fits in neatly; even the screen and battery are flush with the casing. The other camcorders have a very 2003, ultra-compact, horizontal, palm-held look. The Sony DCR-TRV22, though all-plastic, has a smart blue lacquer-like finish. The Hitachi DZ-MV230 is a great success. Its plastic and magnesium casing combines blue and silver and has a good grip.

Hitachi DZ-MV350 And Its Formats

The DZ-MV350 can record in two disk formats: DVD-R and DVD-RAM. To keep it compact, the DZ-MV350 only takes 8-cm DVDs, which are not easy to find, and Maxell is the main (or maybe only) maker. A reminder to novices that DVD-Rs can only be recorded once but are compatible with all DVD players (including Playstation 2). DVD-RAMs can be recorded up to 100,000 times, but cannot be read by most DVD players.

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