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What do the consumer reports say about digital video camcorders?

The consumer reports digital video camcorders rated 45 camcorders.The following five models topped the list.

Canon DC40-This DVD camcorder costs around $600 but can be found for as little as $510.Probably the main reason that this camera tops the list is the picture quality, especially under low light.Another bonus is the ease of using the camera.It has simple, VCR control buttons allowing the user to easily take video and view their recent videos.The specs include 4.3 mega pixels and 10X optical zoom.

Complaints about this model are primarily related to the software that accompanies the camera and difficulties in saving the video file onto a computer.

Hitachi Dz-GX20A-this camera is small for a DVD camcorder and it is quickly ready to take video after turning it on.With a retail price of more than $700, you would expect this camera to be good.(The camera can be found for prices closer to $400 if you shop around).The Dz-GX20A offers 2 mega pixels, and a 10X optical zoom.Although the regular light image does not particularly stand out as an awesome feature; the low light image does.In low light, the camera has an LCD that spot lights your subject, kind of a built in flash.Furthermore, batteries can last for more than two hours in this camera.

Problems with the camera include complaints that the still pictures are not that great.

Hitachi DZ-BX35A-one of the best features associated with this camcorder is its price.This camera can be purchased for under $300 and that's retail.Other bonus features include a super powerful 25X optical zoom, which is quite surprising given the price.It also burns directly to mini DVDs and is small enough to carry in a pocket (although at 2 inches, it would have to be a large pocket.)

The downside of this camera is that the image quality does not compare to the more expensive models.Users also complain about the placement of control buttons behind the 2.7-inch LCD screen.There are also few ports so connecting to external devices.

Panasonic PV-GS300-this camcorder is a MiniDV camcorder, so you can expect great image quality and the PV-Gs300 will not disappoint.The images are crisp and the colors are sharp.Generally, this camera is said to have less "noise" than other camcorders in its class.The recorder is user-friendly and even beginning videographers will find the layout intuitive and the joystick easy to use.

One of the problems with this model is that it lacks a lot of manual controls.It is also a little heavier and a little bulkier than other, similarly priced models.

Sony DCR-HC90-this is another MiniDV recorder with excellent image quality.With a $700 price tag and 3.31 mega pixels, it is comparable to the Panasonic PV-GS300 although it lacks the three CCDs.Also like the PV-GS300, the DCR-HC90 lacks a focus rings.A great feature of this camcorder is the automatic focus.No matter how close the camera is to the subject, there is no blurring of the image: even if the subject is right against the lens.Another great feature is the option of recording on to a memory stick rather than onto the MiniDV tape.Because the image can be place on your computer immediately, this is an awesome feature if you need to edit the video quickly.

One disappointing feature of this camera is the 10X optical zoom.For a $700 camera, you might expect a more powerful zoom feature.Also, the camera does not feature SteadyShot, which is the effective stabilizer offered on other Sony products.

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