My new toy

Posted: September 17, 2006 in Uncategorized
I was gonna buy a digital camcorder pretty soon, since my kid is just six weeks away and I wanna have an easy way to capture all those "first moments"…his first smile, his first step, his first tantrum…and be able to easily transfer it all to my machine and burn a DVD for posterity. I was just waiting for my choice in cameras to drop further in price. My mom was wondering what to get him for his big birthday, and I told her a "moment in time" video of her and Grandpa Joe at the Pitt Barn would be something timeless. So then SHE gets the bright idea to buy me a camcorder! Yes, it’s so she can get regular DVDs of the kid growing up, since she lives over 1000 miles away. She wanted me to pick out what I would consider my "ultimate" camcorder, one that I would pine for. But I stuck with my first choice…a Canon Elura 100. Pretty cheap at $320 shipped.
 
She went overboard and also sent me a telephoto lens & wide-angle lens (plus step-up ring), five tapes, extra battery, carrying case, etc. Wow. So I’ve spent my weekend playing with it, going thru the manual, and found both positives and negatives about the camera, but mostly positives.
 
First, it does TRUE widescreen recording (none of the Panasonics do true 16×9…huh?). Second, it’s pretty darn small…almost as small as my Nikon 995 digicam. At least twice on Saturday the wife thought I left it somewhere at Babies R Us, but it was in my pants pocket. Third, it’s very intuitive and simplistic to use. The swing-out widescreen viewfinder is awesome (both picture and versatility), and it records in stereo, or with external mic. Of course, the video quality is vastly superior to those new, expensive DVD camcorders…and every review I’ve read says it has better playback quality than most MiniDV camcorders twice its price.
 
After playing with it, I highly recommend it. However, every camera has its limitations or design flaws. The biggest issue: NO DV CABLE INCLUDED…this is a special firewire cable, and this cable is necessary in order to transfer filmed footage to the computer. They include a USB cable, but that only works for transferring pictures stored on the SD card…which brainiac at Canon thought up THIS idea? Nobody is gonna take still pictures with a camcorder! No problem, I can get a cable…and once I get it, I can also use the camera as a "middle-man" for transferring my old VCR tapes onto my hard drive (OK, so this is actually a great positive in light of the inconvenience). The LCD video lights are positioned so that they are blocked if you use an add-on lens (especially bad design for indoor, which is when you primarily want to use the wide-angle lens plus have added illumination). You can’t turn off stablization when in "easy" mode, and stablization will reduce the resolution when filming in widescreen (this is the only thing I would want to customize while in "easy" mode). So I’m gonna spend most of my recording time in "manual" mode.
 
In all, not much to complain about…seriously, I’m actually tickled fvcking pink. But I would HIGHLY recommend getting a wide-angle lens if you buy one. The telephoto is pretty great at 20x optical, which is twice that of most other cameras, but the telephoto lens boosts it significantly. And except for HD camcorders, you just can’t beat the fact that it records in true 16×9 widescreen.
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