Blessed with a very low price, the Canon DC210 offers a fair number of features. The Canon DC210 captured good but not great, video in PC Advisor's lab tests.

The Canon DC210 won't double well as a camera, however, earning a rating of poor in our tests for still image quality.

The Canon DC210 comes festooned with a lot of buttons, which raises the bar for learning how to use it, in part because some functions are duplicated. There are buttons under the Canon DC210's LCD monitor, plus a joystick on the back and a mode switch (for selecting Program or Auto), a start/stop button for video, and a separate shutter button for taking photos.

You can control the Canon DC210's zoom, for example, with either the zoom lever on top of the unit or the fast-forward and rewind buttons on the LCD's bezel.

You have to operate the Canon DC210 from the LCD to start and stop playback, but you must use the joystick to jump between files. This arrangement means you can't accomplish certain tasks with one hand. Buttons on the upper left side of the Canon DC210's housing let you access settings for various lighting scenarios and for white balance. The net effect is that you have a multitude of controls to try to control.

The Canon DC210's 35x optical zoom works extremely well, focusing very quickly when you stop zooming (you can zoom up to 5x when shooting stills). At the Canon DC210's top setting, the adjustable zoom speed, which has three settings, is among the fastest we've seen.

A few nice video effects are built in to the Canon DC210, including one called Art that applies a solariser filter and produces an effective washed-out colour scheme. The night setting works quite well in low light if you can avoid jittery movement (a potential problem due to the slow shutter speed). A Bright mode for the Canon DC210's LCD monitor is handy when you're shooting outdoors in strong sunlight, but the manual warns you that this setting will drain the battery faster.

Although the Canon DC210's still photos weren't impressive, the DC210 does let you convert captured images into three-second MPEG-2 files that you can insert into your movies as scenes.

Also, when you're using camera (capture) mode, the Canon DC210 permits quick review of the previous movie you shot, though the audio doesn't play. The Canon DC210 has no headphone jack, by the way.

The Canon DC210's Quick Start feature should be named Standby, because in this mode the camcorder comes to life in about 2 seconds.

Finalising discs on this model took about 6.5 minutes for a standard DVD-R disk that's about half full. Battery life in our tests was a respectable 109 minutes, but you have to plug in the Canon DC210's AC adaptor to finalise a disc.

There's no USB port in addition to the AV-out, so you can't transfer individual files from the Canon DC210 to a PC for editing or make a copy of the DVD in the camcorder using a DVD burner hooked up to your PC. Of course, this won't matter if you don't plan to edit your footage.

Canon DC210: Specs

  • 88x128x54mm
  • 405g
  • camcorder sensor resolution 680Kp
  • effective video resolution 450 Kp
  • effective still resolution 0.45Mp
  • widescreen video capture
  • 3in DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-R DL
  • 1.6in CCD
  • 100x digital zoom
  • max shutter speed 1/2000 sec, min shutter speed 1/6 sec
  • MPEG-2, JPEG
  • focal length 2.6mm-91mm
  • lens aperture F/2.0-5.0
  • 35x optical zoom
  • USB 2.0 compatibility, PictBridge support, histogram display, Dolby Digital AC-3 (2 channel) recording
  • 123,000-pixel, 2.7in, colour LCD
  • built-in stereo mic
  • 1x composite video/audio output, 1x DC power input
  • 1x Li-ion rechargeable battery - 850 mAh
  • 88x128x54mm
  • 405g
  • camcorder sensor resolution 680Kp
  • effective video resolution 450 Kp
  • effective still resolution 0.45Mp
  • widescreen video capture
  • 3in DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-R DL
  • 1.6in CCD
  • 100x digital zoom
  • max shutter speed 1/2000 sec, min shutter speed 1/6 sec
  • MPEG-2, JPEG
  • focal length 2.6mm-91mm
  • lens aperture F/2.0-5.0
  • 35x optical zoom
  • USB 2.0 compatibility, PictBridge support, histogram display, Dolby Digital AC-3 (2 channel) recording
  • 123,000-pixel, 2.7in, colour LCD
  • built-in stereo mic
  • 1x composite video/audio output, 1x DC power input
  • 1x Li-ion rechargeable battery - 850 mAh

OUR VERDICT

As long as you don't object to having to master many controls, the Canon DC210 has genuine appeal, thanks to its low price and powerful zoom. Latest camcorder reviews: Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65 SD Card camcorder Panasonic VDR-D310 DV camcorder JVC Everio GZ-MG155 camcorder Sony DCR-DVD408 DVD Handycam camcorder Canon DC50 DVD camcorder

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