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102 of 105 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2009
I am getting very upset because all of the people who say they have done video for 25 years should no better than to say that MiniDV is obsolete! MiniDV records in 500% compression. MINI DVD and HardDisk HDD and FLASH cameras record in 1500% compression. MiniDV records in in superior DV AVI format, which has individual frames and editing can be done WITHOUT LOSS OF QUALITY once uploaded to your computer. The MINI DVD/HDD/FLASH cameras are NOT better in this respect, they are far worse.

Consumer MINI DVD/HDD/FLASH cameras have not reached a level where they can compete with MiniDV for high end recordings. MiniDV doesn't take longer to edit. You have to play it back in real time, but in order to EDIT .MPEG videos from MINI DVD/HDD/FLASH you have to spend an hour converting it over to uncompressed AVI format! Either way, you have to spend an hour. It makes much more sense to start out with high quality RAW video, and then compress it AFTER you edit it. You can ONLY do this with MiniDV.

The MINI DVD/HDD/FLASH cameras are only good for NON TECH junkies who don't care about quality and just want to record home movies. You will lose more quality with these cameras than you will with the superior MiniDV.

If you are going to use a MINI DVD/HDD/FLASH camera, you should NOT edit the video direclty. You need to uncompress it, and convert it into a superior AVI format, because it lends itself to editing. That means you need to use a video converter on your computer and convert the MPEG2 video to AVI before editing. With MiniDV you don't have to, since MiniDV records in AVI, and only AVI, which is ready for editing as it is, just upload in real time to your pc, cut frames out, and then conver it into MPEG2.

MiniDV is getting a bad name because it uses a tape. This is not right. It actually records with LESS compression than a comparable store bought DVD! Now, you know what this means. Uncompressed video is always better to start with than starting with compressed video.

Please research MiniDV more before giving it a bad name. It is not going to be obsolete until the MINI DVD cameras can record uncompressed video, which for all practical purposes, will never happen. SO that leaves HDD and FLASH cameras, which will eventually have that option, but they don't have that option yet, so for now MiniDV Is the best for for home video projects that require video editing.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2010
I use to have a Sony HC-42 but it jammed and choked on a MiniDV cartridge, thus I had to replace it and researched what was remaining camcorders that use the MiniDV cartridges. Not that many left on the inexpensive end. Sony has a HC-52 and the Canon ZR960. Went to B**tBuy to look at the Sony HC-52. What a disappointment in the quality and feel of that camcorder. Total junk feel to it. I was really disappointed since that is the successor model to the HC-42. So I researched and settled for the Canon ZR960. Okay, great Standard Definition MiniDV camcorder. Has nice 37x Optical Zoom, my HC-42 only had 10x Optical. Yeah it says 41 Optical Zoom on the ad but the booklet states 37x Optical zoom and another zoom setting called Advanced Zoom which is the 41x zoom with some blurb about it can do this without lost in picture quality in combo of digital/optical. (Hey thats what it says..beats me, no claims to being a techie). Then it has the 2000x Digital zoom. Which for me I stay at the 41x zoom setting. Very light, plastic housing felt better in hand than the Sony HC52 did. Very straightforward button layouts for play and record, felt sturdy and durable (not something that would breakoff from being used). The record button on the Canon was an "Offwhite color", Hmmm...was use to seeing that as red colored but no biggie. The LCD screen decent size, seems a bit squished in dimension but not in viewing. It had this little toggle joystick took a little getting use to, something akin to that joystick button on notebook computers between the G,H and B keys. I was use to the Sony touchscreen of my HC42, but easy to overcome and get use to. What I really like was, you know how these miniDV camcorder loads a cartridge, well unlike the Sony mechanical mechanism which reminds you of the old betamax loading, where when you release the clam shell housing and it opens, the mechanical mechanism goes up and then outward so that you can insert the cartridge, the canon mechanism is more simpler I found. Thus less chance of it jamming and choking on a cartridge. Yes in either case, don't push in on the cartridge carrier, like it says in bold letters on a yellow background or you're guarantee to choke and jam a cartridge on either camcorder. Once you have the camcorder slipped in your hand, the canon is very light and where you rest your right hand to work the wide/telephone toggle switch, there is a comfortable ridge designed there so your hand and fingers can feel steady. I liked that feature. The viewfinder has a separate switch to turn it on if you need to use it. Found that convenient. Has built in 1394 connection unlike my Sony HC-42 which needed it's separate docking station to do that. So the only thing I didn't find on the Canon camcorder was a remote controller with it. Ehhh...didn't use it much. Also no shoulder strap. Thats an extra too. Overall a great standard miniDV cartridge camcorder. Easy to download onto your PC for editing whether Windows MovieMaker or any current video editing software using its capture video capability. Didn't have any problems recognizing the camcorder when capturing video on several video editing programs I had on my computer. I'm glad I purchased it and will serve its purpose well.

Update 04 Aug 2010: My camcorder failed to powerup on battery, sent it in to Canon Repair Center via priority mail. They fixed it under the one year warranty and returned it to me within 1 week of receipt. That was very fast service and the camcorder is fixed. Problem they noted was a circuit board and they had it replaced and did other adjustments as needed. I am happy with the quick turnaround time of their repair center.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2009
I purchased this camera to replace my other Canon ZR100, which just wore out. I record video every day, so I need a camera easy to use, and always ready. So far, the ZR960 is easier on battery life than the ZR100 was, which is good. The new lens cover is easier to use... great. The new screen is larger... great. So far this camera is better than I expected.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2009
I have made videos for 25 years, I teach it at a university, I have trained many many people on a wide variety of gear. We bought this camera to replace our aging public access cameras and was very unhappy that we bought cheap cameras. However, I took one home I am stunned by the quality and ease of use. MiniDV is almost history, but we are using it and so are many others. This camera in decent light looks comparable to cameras costing so much more. In average light or low light it does fine too. The sounds is great and the easy button is.. well EASY. It also have programmable/manual features for those of us who like more control. My only negative comment is it doesn't have a USB2 output, so you are limited to 4 pin 1394 or mini fire-wire to get your video off this camera. Fire wire is almost gone the way of the analogue RCA type connector. Soon there will be no computers made with this connector to hook this camera to. But for this point in time, MiniDV is not dead and this is a really fine little camera. Yikes, the quality is very good for this price point!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2010
After owning a Sony Handycam hi 8 for a number of years and the unreliability of the camcorder tape mechanism, I decided to try a flash camcorder, and a hard drive camcorder. both of these were very easy to use, but when playing back on any TV larger than 19 inch, the picture was extremely grainy and got very pixelated on 42 inch and above. There are NO adjustments to be made on any of these type of camcorders to correct this issue. You must record in VERY good light and resolution is made for you tube size videos.

The software on these type of camcorders is also outdated MOD and is very difficult to navigate around and it takes forever to transfer to a DVD disc.

Back to the tape camcorder. I will use a tape type camcorder as long as they are available. The ease of plug and play with almost any software like NERO, windows movie maker, roxio, and so on. 1394 makes it easy.

picture quality is awsome and looks great on even a 130 inch projector.

Zoom capabilities are great also.

I would recommend this camera to all who want really good video quality. Ease of transfer, and great price!!

Also this camera is very compact. Half the size of my old sony hi 8 and the 6mm tapes are tiny too. still has the same record time though.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2010
Okay, so this is a good camera as far as capturing the footage but I too have been caught up in the Firewire dilemma. Between me and my family there are four computers. Two Hewlett Packard's, one Compaq and one Emachine. None of these computers have a Firewire port to connect the camera to and edit the video. All my computers have a price tag ranging from $500 to $600 the low end. My understanding to a solution for this problem is to either buy a higher end computer with firewire port access, buy a firewire adapter card and have it installed, or buy an Apple/Mac. Either way you're spending more money.

So make sure your computer has firewire connectivity or you'll be stuck with raw footage like me and other consumers who have bought this camera and cannot transfer it to a computer for editing without coughing up more $$$. Otherwise the camera itself is great for the price!

Pros:
easy to use
good digital quality
external mic access

Cons:
lower end computers don't have firewire ports to transfer video
internal mic captures unwanted sounds and some camera noise
accessories are outrageous in commercial stores (use Amazon)

**Update**
So I installed a firewire port onto my computer and it was incredibly easy. Bought a Lacie pci card cheap from Amazon, took the cover off the computer and slid the card into the available slot. Now I can edit my footage and transfer onto a disk through my new firewire port.

Originally gave it three stars but after feeling better about being able to edit my footage I can happily give it four stars. That missing star is for going through the trouble of getting that firewire port. If you have the same problem I and others had, go to YouTube and look up, "firewire port intstallation".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2011
There really isn't much to say here that hasn't already been said. Sufficed to say, this camcorder is about the best quality you're going to get for this price range. In fact, you'd pretty much have to double the price to see a noticeable increase in picture quality (at least among digital camcorders I've personally used, which is quite a few).

The quality is unusually sharp (assuming the area is well-lit) for this price range, the stabilization keeps things surprisingly smooth (even in the hands of a shaky-handed operator like myself), and it has all the features you'd want in a DV camcorder: 3.5mm mic input, firewire, A/V out and a solid zoom. Now, the picture isn't HD quality (obviously), so don't expect it to look crystal-clear on a large screen, but you'd be surprised how sharp it is considering it *isn't* HD. The battery life is par for the course, so you can expect around 70-90 minutes on a single charge, depending on the level of activity.

Now, there is one drawback, but it isn't necessarily about this camera in particular, but about DV camcorders in general. If you're recording audio with the on-board mic (which are in stereo, by the way), you will hear the DV tape humming, and it's pretty noticeable; particularly so when there isn't a lot of sound in front of it. For home-video and hobby applications, it's not a big deal, but if you're using it for anything remotely professional, I'd highly recommend investing in a shotgun mic (or studio condenser mic w/ boom pole and/or tripod if you have a static recording area).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 5, 2011
I purchased this camera a couple of years ago, right when it first came out. I've been using it ever since, and I'm pretty happy with it.

First of all, it's not a professional camcorder that has multiple 4:3 CCD sensors. It's got one sensor. It does have a jack for an external mic, but it's an unbalanced mini-jack, not dual XLR inputs. It has a headphone jack, but I've never used it. It also has an internal mic, and I can report that it picks up sounds very, very well.

I've used the camcorder for interviews and for taking video of wildlife, something I'm interested in. Of course, I also take videos of the cats and dogs, and 'artsy' shots of huge, man-made objects for B roll, I guess. Lately, I've been taking lots of videos of crows flying overhead. They fly low over my house every night, and I find their behavior interesting.

The camcorder works really well for interviews. I hook up a lavilier mic, attach it to my interviewee, and start recording. I've used natural light and artificial light. The camcorder works well in both types of light. There is autofocus (no manual focusing here), and automatic lens settings to get the best video from most types of situations.

I've found that I don't like the autofocus that much; when I point it to the open sky, waiting for my crows, it seeks something to focus on, so it cycles back and forth. I have to focus on a tree or similar for it to get my crows in focus. It also it terrible in low light situations. I expected better performance, but didn't get it.

It is a miniDV camcorder. I find it very easy to download tapes into Sony Vegas for editing. Just hook it up to your computer (I have win7), and let Sony find and download it for you. Couldn't be simpler.

Overall, I'd rate this about a four to four-and-a-half for the compact camcorder crowd, and a two-and-a-half in comparison with all other consumer camcorders. But for about two and a half hundred, what more do you want?

Recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2009
Quality is great when using Sony Vegas Pro. (only saying as I have not used it with another Video Editor) Great quality on LCD, Viewfinder is a plus...not alot of Camcorders have them. Functional toggle and buttons easy to use. Manual settings usually not needed, unless you shoot night shots of lightning as I do. Mic jack a big plus! MiniDV is still better than other mediums.
Def recommend the Canon Line of camcorders!
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2009
Great product, picture quality from Canon still needs improvement but for the price of the camera it is user friendly and reasonable.Canon ZR960 MiniDV Camcorder w/41x Optical Zoom
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