What's Hot

WHAT'S HOT

Optura Xi camcorder gives the field's best a run for their money

October 30, 2003|By Kevin E. Washington | Kevin E. Washington,SUN STAFF

When it comes to camcorders, Sony tends to most often offer the best of the best. But Canon has been known to slip in a serious contender from time to time. And that contender right now is the Canon Optura Xi Mini DV camcorder ($1,500).

This digital video cassette camcorder shoots such wonderful video that it's fair to say that it reminds me of some of the three CCD camcorders that I've tested. In other words, the video shot here reminds me of broadcast quality video.

The neat thing is that the 2.0 megapixel still images shot by this camcorder actually look pretty good. I'm no fan of camcorders shooting still shots. But the photographs that come from Xi are good enough to actually print at 4-x-6-inches. Despite enjoying the photographs, I'm still not crazy about the SD card that the Xi uses to store still images; it's too small for me to feel confident that I won't lose it.

A host of features makes this camcorder an impressive buy. An optical image stabilizier ensures that the 10X zoom lens always records good images. Moreover, in low-light filming situations, the Xi outperforms just about any camcorder that doesn't come equipped with Sony's Night Shot feature. The 3.5-inch LCD screen is colorful and bright; for the first time in a camcorder test, I found myself looking more at the LCD than the viewfinder.

I thought this camcorder was a lot of fun to use, with easy to understand menus and buttons for all of the features.

Information: 1-800-652-2266 or www.canondv.com.

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