* Prices may differ from that shown
I bought this camera as an under $1K miniDV camera, plus it's a Canon, works with iMovie on a Mac and had several great reviews by users. Also this camera features analog video in via S-Video and stereo audio ports so I can convert Hi8 to digital tape. Remember to buy a miniDV tape if you get this camera, there isn't one included for you in the box. Also you must buy your own Firewire 6pin to 4pin cable if you want to connect this camera to your computer. Camera Features/Handling This is a very good handling camera. The ZR-10 is as small as my digital still camera (I put it in my same camera bag) and the controls fall naturally to the users hands. Easy to use with both the eyepiece and LCD screen. It was unusual that the speaker was the opposite side of the camera from the screen but it actually worked really well and I never had to crank the sound up all the way even with several folks viewing the video shot. In fact (now that I'm a Canon Optura Pi owner) it turns out that having the speaker on the other side is a plus! That's because when you flip the LCD screen around and close it in flush with the camera the speaker is still on the outside to be heard while watching the video, unlike the Optura Pi. My only gripes about handling are *The power plug pushes the little rubber cover in the way of the LCD screen opening/closing when it's plugged into AC. *The menu button is inside the LCD compartment so you must open the screen to access it. *The tape is accessed via the bottom so you must take the camcorder off its tripod to change tapes. Video Performance The zoom is sharp but like any camcorder don't bother with the 200x digital zoom setting unless you want to create blocky mosaics from your images. Nice color rendition from the camera. In low light you must resort to the low-light setting on the camera which basically slows down the shutter speed to let in more light. This wor
ks very well for any scene other than fast motion. I shot video of dancing at night and when I switched it to the low-light mode I got the dancers ghosting and jerky, but I did get a better image than shooting in the normal mode. In daylight this camera is great. Audio Performance Great, offers 16bit stereo sound which beats even CD recordings. Very little camera noise picked-up by onboard mic. The CCD The camera only uses 290K pixels for video images even though its CCD is rated at 460K pixels. This is because it needs the overscan area for the electronic image stabilizer. The 290K pixels do work well to deliver a nice image but one of the pixels was dead/stuck and this was very obvious in low light images, with the electronic stabilizer it made this dead pixel dance around the screen in one area. For this reason alone I returned the camcorder after only a day of use. See here for the dead pixel <http://www.hawaiistore.com/mediabaron/deadpixel.jpeg> Conclusion If it wasn't for the dead pixel on the CCD I probably would have kept the camera to use. But I've decided to exchange it and upgrade my purchase to a Canon Optura Pi. As a professional photographer I'm starting to do some video too and would like the higher image quality and optical stabilizer of the Optura Pi. Both the ZR-10 and Optura Pi both take the same batteries and this same battery is being used by Canon in their new D30 digital SLR coming out soon. So the choice for me is simple, stick with one of these cameras since I'll be using the D30 during work. As for the dead/stuck pixel it can happen to any camcorder or digital still camera. For a sample of video see http://homepage.mac.com/mediabaron/ Video on the web isn't the best example of what the camera can do because of low frame-rates and compression but it's just a sample of a night out on a cruise.