Canon ZR20 Digital Camcorder, What I expected – good base camera to start with

I’ve only had this camcorder for a day but so far so good. Everything worked as expected except the widescreen mode. On a standard tv set it ‘sqeazes’ the picture in instead of the usual black bars on the top and bottom. Despite this this camcorder is still the best deal i found after a couple months of shopping.

Very small and compact, but well laid out so for as the user is concerned. Has both a color viewfinder and a 2. 5′ led that extends out from the left side. To save battery power, you can only use one at a time however. Some of the settings are a bit confusing, but going through the manual (well written by the way) will quickly supply answers to any questions you may have. Low light capability is not as good as some others, but the camcorder works well in light ample to read by. By comparison with my nikon fm (50mm f1. 8), the canon zr-20 will do a good jobdown to what would be about 1/60 of a second on iso 100. It will do a fairly decent job a couple of stops lower, but gets ‘grainy’ at low light levels. Daylight however is excellent.

Since i’ve only had the camera for less than one week, this is just my first impression:i researched around and finally went with the zr20 for the following reasons: price, compactness, and base features. The zr20 has a great price after rebate if you shop around. It is very small (palm size for my hand), although it’s not as small as the elura. The size is very important to me up to a point. It has to be small enough so that i will end up using it instead of debating if it’s too big to lug along because i wanted a camera for everyday videos-around the house and on trips. Between the zr and other cameras in this base range, the zr definitely wins. Other important features i wanted were analog video in and hot shoe. The zr has s-video as well as composite video in which means i can easily transfer my video from my 8mm and vhs tapes. It also has a hot shoe (which the smaller camera seems to lack) for a video light if needed. The closest competitor for me on the zr decision was the panasonic pv51, but it was just too big and did not have the analog video in like the zr.

Key specs for Canon ZR20 Digital Camcorder (Discontinued by Manufacturer):

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  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 10x optical, 200x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5-inch color LCD monitor and color EVF
  • Photo mode records still pictures onto tape
  • Uses an included lithium ion battery; also includes power adapter, shoulder strap, wireless controller, S-Video cable, and stereo video cable

Comments from buyers

“Excellent, So Far
, A ok, so far.
, Great little camcorder!

I bought this camcorder to use for family and work purposes. It is very easy to use, and the picture quality is good. It was simple to connect to my tv for viewing. I haven’t tried to connect it to my computer yet, but i will have to get a firewire adapter for my desktop first. No video editing program was included, so i will have to get one of those, too. Although basic, the ease of use and small size make this an ideal camcorder for my needs.

The canon zr20 is a digital minidv camcorder with a 2. 5′ lcd and a color viewfinder. Zoom and image stabilizerthe camcorder has 10x optical zoom and 200x digital zoom. The image is not shaky at high magnification levels, since the camera is equipped with a digital stabilizer. Picturethe camcorder records video and still pictures. The still pictures can be recorded on a minidv tape and one tape can hold around 700 still pictures. The picture quality (the ccd has 460,000 pixels) in the video mode is very good with low noise level. Soundthe camcorder has a stereo microphone and a built-in speaker. The microphone input allows you connect an external microphone. You can select between 12- and 16-bit recording.

I’ve looked for a good dv camcorder to replace my old hi8 camcorder. We need it to be compact to fit into one palm, and have image stablization. We also need it to have analog input to transfer old video. Some of the higher-end model have low-resolution digital camera capability, which is useless to us since we already had high-resolution digital camera. We tried to avoid spending extra money to pay features we don’t need, and it leads us to canon zr20. We spend less than our old hi8 camcorder, and got a 3x better camcorder. The picture quality is super, the sound is great. ( i don’t have the issue described by another reviewer. ) right after recording, we can also playback the video with sound on this tiny camcorder.

This camera is a great value for your dollar. I have taken along time in shopping around and this one is the best value. Not to mention the quality is excellant. Someone in another review mentioned they had problems with this camera in low-light situations. I primarily use this camera to record live bands and i have had no such problems. As well, if you like there is a low-light filter that opens up the shutter wider. Unfortunatly, some blurring occurs with this filter on. However, it looks kinda cool. I would definitly recommend this camera if you are looking for a more affordable, quality camera.

So far it has worked fine for what i want to use it for. I was not happy that i got a different one than the one with more things with it, but i wanted to get the camcorder to work on what i wanted to do.

I would like to take this time and give my input about the canon zr 20 minidv. First off let me say that the size of this thing amazes me enabling me to fit it in my pants pocket (compared to my old vhs). There aren’t that many high end features on this but for the basic everyday recording this is an excellent camera. Be aware that this does not have night vision if you want it purchase the zr-40 series. I purchased this at the [store that sells mac computers. It cost me [money] and for [the same amount] at [a different store] i could have got the zr-40 but they were out :(. Overall i really do like this camera not overpowered with features but does the job well (my first canon camera). From now on i’ll stick with them in the future (much better than jvc and sony). Down the road i’ll upgrade my pc to firewire for video editing, that looks pretty fun. But if yourlooking for a good quality camera with a glass lens not plastic like the others and something stylish and small than go with any of the canon zr series (10,20,25mc,30mc,40,45mc,50,50mc)hope this helped in your camera buying experience. ]

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Canon ZR20 Digital Camcorder (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
4.8 of 5 stars, based on 12 reviews