Don't-Miss Camcorder Stories
The JVC GR-X5US has an interesting design, but its setup may not be to everyone’s taste, and its poor battery life and the omission of a viewfinder are serious problems.
The JVC GR-D396US is one of the least-expensive camcorders available. However, many users will find that its lack of advanced control is limiting, and its poor video quality will put off all but the most budget-minded shooters.
The Canon Elura 100 is a good choice for budget shooters; although the image quality isn’t great, it’s a compact, easy-to-use camera that won’t confuse novice filmmakers.
The Sony DCR-HC36 MiniDV Handycam is a budget camcorder that takes adequate video in daylight, but its poor performance in low light will be a problem if you want to shoot videos indoors—at a party, for instance.
The Panasonic PV-GS500 MiniDV is a great pick for shooters who want the benefit of automatic control and the flexibility of manual control. And it takes great-looking video and stills.
The Panasonic PV-GS300 MiniDV is a great choice for shooters who don’t mind spending a little extra for quality, but who don’t want to lay out a lot of cash for a high-end camera.
The Neuros Recorder 2 is useful if you’re looking for the fastest, easiest way to make legal iPod or PSP-compatible recordings from DVDs or most other video sources. However, you can get better and more-customizable results by using software encoders.
The Sony DCR-PC55 is seductively compact, housed in a stylish metallic body available in silver, black, red, and white. Unfortunately, the small size is the big news. Aside from scale, this camcorder just doesn’t measure up.
At first glance, the Sony DCR-HC42 looks promising enough. It’s compact, sports a 2.7-inch widescreen LCD, and shoots colorful, vibrant video outdoors. Unfortunately, it suffers from very noticeable purple fringing, a distracting purple glow that appears around high contrast areas in an image.
The 20x optical zoom lens on the Sony DCR-HC32 offers more range than most, but there’s little else to recommend about this mediocre camcorder.
The Optura 60 shoots excellent video (provided you have enough light), snaps decent still images, and offers a full range of creative flexibility, making it a solid choice.
We look at six new DV camcorders (and a unique filmless model) with features formerly found only in pro-level models.