Weighing only 19 ounces and measuring 2 x 4 x 5 inches, Canon’s new ZR20, ZR25 MC and ZR30 MC feature a 10X optical zoom lens (equivalent to a 48 to 480mm telephoto lens); built-in image stabilization; 2.5-inch color viewscreen that swivels and flips; and an electronic color viewfinder with eyecup. They also double as low-resolution digital cameras, capable of capturing still images at 640 by 480 pixels, and feature an internal microphone and external microphone jack, as well as a built-in speaker.
All three feature FireWire connections, along with an A/V Insert terminal that lets you insert scenes from a VCR or another camcorder into an original recording, and Analog Line-In Recording, which lets you record video from an external analog source to a Mini DV cassette.
The camcorders feature several exposure controls, including an automatic “Easy Green” mode suitable for most indoor/outdoor shooting conditions, and programmed exposure modes for sports, portrait, spotlight, sand and snow, and low-light scenes. They also provide manual control over focus, white balance and shutter speed, as well as digital effects, such as fade trigger, vertical wipe, horizontal wipe and mosaic fade. You can add graphics, black and white, sepia and mosaic effects to video and digital stills.
You can record sound in a 16-bit high-quality mode, or a 12-bit mode that leaves two channels open for subsequent dubbing from the internal microphone or another audio source. And you can capture more than 700 still-video pictures on a single MiniDV cassette. Each image is recorded for about six seconds, along with narration or surrounding sounds. In addition, you can save JPEG image (with a choice of Fine or Standard compression) to a MultiMediaCard or an SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card.
The $899 ZR30 MC and $999 ZR30 MC will each ship with an 8MB MultiMediaCard. They also feature a progressive photo mode feature, which simulates progressive-scan recording on an interlaced CCD image sensor to capture sharper still images that are free from time lag blur, Canon said. In addition, the ZR30 MC features lighted camera controls with a choice of three user-selectable colors (blue, turquoise and green); an accessory shoe for powering a video light or external directional microphone; and extended recording, which uses 2x or 3x image compression to lengthen the recording time per cassette. The ZR30 MC is scheduled to ship in March, the ZR25 in April. The ZR20 will ship a month later for $799. All three will ship with a rechargeable battery pack (approximate 2.5-hour life), power adapter/charger, wireless remote, video cable, stereo cable, and shoulder strap.