Canon Digital Camcorder
Small enough to fit in a wide pocket, the Canon DC100 is 12x5x8.5cm and given that the mini DVD are 8cm it could not be and smaller. The weight is around 400grams.
This unit can use DVD-R or DVD-RW discs the differences are not just that a DVD-R can only be recorded once it is then finalised and the disc taken out, place it in any DVD player - either PC or standalone - and watch your work. After you have done this a few times the family and friends will probably be busy the next time you offer the chance to view some uncut work. Note that finalising can only be done when you are running off mains power and for about two minutes you must not move the unit.
DVD-RW allow you to remove the worst bits and or course reuse the space on the DVD, it also allows you to finalise just like a DVD-R but here is the joy you can then if required unfinalise and then reuse the DVD. Either disc is playable on the camcorder either finalised or unfinalised. The main advantage over tape is that you do not need to go searching for blank pieces to record on and there is no danger of recording over something you want to keep. Perhaps the main disadvantage is that 30minute DVD provided soon fills up. However I have just been sent some media by Verbatim that increases that time on a DVD-R - DVD-RW to follow shortly - to a far more useable 54minutes that is virtually double the standard time but still with the same size of disc. These arrived mid way through my review but I have used one and the results seem just as good as with the media supplied by Canon but capacity larger.
As with most camcorders you need to be right handed as the hand strap is on the right side. The fingers can curl over the top to control the wide angle/telephoto and this is a very respectable 25x optical zoom. The thumb can press the 'shoot' button and then press it again to end the sequence. Below the hand strap is the door release for the DVD. Now onto the base that has the anchor point for a tripod. At the front of the hand strap is the DC input to charge the solid battery. That brings us to the front that has the stereo microphones and the lens, the lens has a manual shutter and no doubt until you are used to this it will be both closed and open at the wrong times. The top has the mode switch - best left in auto mode for the novice - but there is a program mode as well as eight scene modes. There is a viewfinder but I was far happier using the widescreen viewer on the left side of the unit together with the rest of the controls.
The screen is 6x3.5cm and if it has a fault it makes what you are taking look better than it is in reduced light. During my tests I recorded a number - around 15 minutes - at my weekly jazz night. Due to the M25 being in a bad mood this started 30 minutes late and it could best be described as twilight however the TFT was quite happy, admittedly the number was a long one but playing it back on the unit all looked fine. Once finalised and viewed on the PC the lack of light began to show but perhaps if I had shot it using the night scene. The point here is that this unit does not have a 'light' as a lot of other camcorders do.
For those you prefer to view on a TV this can still be done by the leads provided and a SCART plug, for this the DVD does not need to be finalised. While Windows Media Player and other software should work just having SP2 of Windows XP is no guarantee that it will not require additional software. One of my PC's asked for additional files but another PC and two notebooks were perfectly happy of playing the DVD just as inserted. This has the advantage of you being able to edit the output without needing a FireWire socket.
Several camcorder manufacturers now have Digital Camcorders using DVD discs but this is the first I have used. One minus point here is that although you can shoot still images you have to change modes via the menu and this is rather time consuming. Perhaps if it also supported SD cards it could be one click as with other units.
Doing my Internet searches found available from Amazon from £219.99 from the link below.
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