Canon DC310

An easy to use, budget DVD camcorder

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Canon DC310
  • Canon DC310
  • Canon DC310
  • Canon DC310
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Solid video performance for the asking price, 41x optical zoom, strong build quality

Cons

  • Limited connectivity options, no optical image stabiliser, memory card slot does not record video

Bottom Line

The DC310 is a solid DVD offering let down by the limitations of its format. Casual users who want quick access to their home movies will be quite satisfied. Everyone else, on the other hand, should stick to flash memory or MiniDV.

Would you buy this?

If you're looking to buy a standard-definition camcorder and find the idea of 'instant' DVDs intriguing, then the Canon DC310 is as good an option as you're likely to find. With its powerful zoom lens, multimedia card slot and easy-to-use interface, it should satisfy its intended market of amateurs and beginners. At just under $500, it is attractively priced, costing $159 less than Panasonic's similarly specified VDR-D50 model.

With all that being said, DVD camcorders are clearly not suited to everyone's taste. The usual limitations of the format naturally apply. These include short recording times, hamstrung editing opportunities and ailing support from vendors. If you're willing to overlook these substantial shortcomings, the DC310 remains a solid performer for the asking price.

The Canon DC310 records standard-definition video to 8cm DVDs, which are basically miniaturised versions of standard DVD discs. A dual-layer DVD-R disc can store up to 108min of video at the lowest setting. This compares favourably with MiniDV camcorders, but falls short of camcorders based on removable flash memory and hard disk drives. The market has well and truly shifted away from disc-based media, which means camcorders like these are in danger of becoming obsolete. This is something to be mindful of if you like to future-proof your products.

Apart from the ability to record video to DVD, the DC310's main selling point is probably its massive 41x optical zoom. This is quite impressive even for an entry-level camcorder, which typically have extra-powerful zooms. A 2000x digital zoom is also included, though this is basically unusable and is best ignored. Unfortunately, the lack of an optical image stabiliser may cause your footage to look quite shaky when zoomed out at the maximum setting. We therefore recommend getting in plenty of practice, or better yet invest in a tripod before committing video to disc.

Equipped with a single 1/6in CCD sensor with a maximum resolution of 1.07 megapixels, the DC310 is unable to compete with the latest high-def cameras — but for a sub-$500 camcorder, it performed quite well. Pictures remained sharp and reasonably vibrant in bright environments, with the CCD sensor capturing plenty of fine detail. The autofocus proved to be quick and reliable, which will be a big plus for first-time users.

Naturally, the camera's low-grade sensor struggled in dim lighting, returning poorly coloured, noise-filled results. The average user should be able to live with these shortcomings, as they won't be attempting to capture award-winning video. So long as you can see your sleeping baby (or whatever you happen to shoot at night), who cares if the footage is a bit grainy? If you agree with this sentiment, the DC310 should not disappoint.

Using the device is relatively straightforward, with Canon's tried-and-trusted directional stick employed for menu navigation. The range of manual options on offer is quite extensive, including 12 scene and effect modes, three AE Program modes, 11 separate exposure levels, adjustable white balance and manual focus, image quality adjustments and a built-in flash for still photography. The DC310 also comes equipped with a multimedia/SD/SDHC memory card slot, but this can only be used for capturing and storing photos.

As we mentioned earlier, one of the main caveats of the DVD camcorder format is the difficulties in editing your video. In the DC310's case, this problem is further exacerbated by its limited connectivity options. While we weren't expecting an external microphone jack or fancy HDMI port, the camera is equipped with just a single AV output. This could prove especially annoying if your computer lacks an inbuilt card reader because you will need to transfer your memory card to a digital still camera or other compatible device.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?