Canon MV300i

Until recently, handheld video cameras were bulky, heavy and lacking in functionality. The use of digital video (DV) changes all this - the tapes are smaller, the cameras are smaller, the picture and sound are of higher quality.

In fact, MV300i weighs under 600g! Given that it has a 2.5in LCD screen as well as on-board digital playback with CD-quality 16-bit sound, the MV300i is really quite impressive.

This is not the extent of its features. The Canon has a 200x digital zoom (including 10x optical zoom) complementing its range of digital effects, including fading from different angles, image stabilisation and colour manipulation. You can fiddle to your heart's delight, because it has a lithium-ion battery which lasts around 90 minutes.

One of the great things about the MV300i is its impressive engagement with the DV technology. For example, the camera can record in short or long play mode, and can be used to take digital still photographs and for straight audio dubbing. Its support of the FireWire (IEEE 1394) connection standard means the camera can be interfaced easily to other digital equipment.

The video quality is brilliant. It suffers none of the noticeable noise experienced with analog video tape.

Using the camera is as simple as using any other camcorder. The record button and zoom are at your fingertips, and a strap holds the unit firmly to your hand. The only annoying aspect of the design is that the camera needs to be switched into record mode, requiring a toggling of the record button itself.

All up, however, the Canon MV300i is a fine camcorder, well suited to people looking for a small, top quality, highly functional video camera.

Canon MV300i

Price: $1999

Supplier: Canon

Phone: (02) 9805 2000