Canon ZR40 MiniDV Digital Camcorder, All you need

Great luck getting this camera. However, since it was used, the sender accidentally left a video tape inside that i’d like to get back to them. Looks like video of a father and son flying kites and doing other activities together. Memories i’m sure they would like to have back.

Excellent camcorder, does very well in all kinds of light. I have had no trouble with it indoors, and i find that it performs very well in low light. Flawlessly performs with windows movie maker 2 through firewire. The sound is outstanding, considering the picture is it’s strong point. I did not need the digital camera built in as i already have one. Effects are fun to play around with, especially with the handy scroll button. I have not heard the motor noise at all, so i can’t see where that is coming from. My only complaint is that it shuts off too quickly if inactive, but it’s really not that much of a problem. Image stablizer works really well, as i often have an unsteady hand but it is hardly noticeable with this camcorder. I just wish they made a vcr that could record the footage as well as it was taped.

Up until tonight, the zr-40 seemed average to me. It’s pretty small, has high video quality etcetera, but doesn’t have many effects or features. Tonight, however, our family puppy knocked it off of the tv (about 4 feet above the hardwood floor) and dragged it around after him by the power cord as he ran away panicking. After a thorough inspection and runthrough, i found no damage to the camera, and only a slight bend in the tv interface plug where he’d ripped it sideways out of the camera. If you’re not sure you can protect your camera from all harm, i’d suggest this camera – it takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

Key specs for Canon ZR40 MiniDV Digital Camcorder with 2.5″ LCD, & Digital Still Mode (Discontinued by Manufacturer):

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  • MiniDV camcorder
  • 18x optical, 360x digital, zoom with image stabilization
  • 2.5 inch color LCD and color EVF
  • Digital photo mode records onto MiniDV tapes
  • Analog pass-through ports for direct connection to computer

Comments from buyers

“Great luck getting this camera
, Excellent quality
, Lights, lights, lights

I almost passed this by, because of the motor noise many people mention. But the price is unbeatable – do a good internet search and see for yourself. You do not pay for useless features, like magapixel stills – who needs 1mpix digital stills anyway – any digicam is at least 2 mpix?. There is some noise; however i compared it with a friends digital8 camera, and it also had some noise, although canon’s is more high pitched (but not noticeably louder). It might be that the noise is amplified during playback on the camcoder – i only import digital video on my computer for editing and i really have to look for noise in order to notice it. I am totally happy with the camcoder.

Video taken outside is outstanding, inside can be a little fuzzy without bright lighting. The only thing i don’t like is the fact that you can only charge the battery while it is mounted to the camera, which defeats the purpose of having multiple batteries if your wanting to have one battery charging while still using the camera with another battery.

I have the camera and i have owned it for about 3 years. I have no complaints except if you need a camera that will never eat tapes, be very wary. I posted my movies on a couple of websites. I used the canon zr40 and made movies with the sonic foundry vegas 4 editing system. It made fine movies in the wmv or rm or mov for quicktime web formats. My short films are at hollywoodscreams and myhollywoodstar and those are dot com, of course. Recently i tried to rewind a tape. I figured it was just the tape. I tried a second tape and another. Each time i would record something ok but the tape would get jammed during rewind.

This is really the ideal entry-level camcorder for someone just getting into digital video editing. The optical image stabilization is far better than the electronic kind, and the picture quality is pretty good. It has a tendency to overexpose in bright sunlight, but you can easily adjust the exposure down half an f-stop. It’s small and light, the viewfinder and flip-out screen are both color, battery life is pretty good with an add-on high capacity battery. Best of all, you can connect your old analog camcorder to it and import all your old videos to dv. Works great with apple imovie. The one downside to this camcorder is the audio. It’s a problem with most tiny cameras, and this is no exception: motor whine. Dv requires a high speed rotating head, which means fast motors–and because of the small body, they’re too close to the built-in microphones. My solution was to spend an extra $99 on a sony wcs-999 wireless microphone kit.

I’ve had this camcorder for almost half a year now, and i have no major complaints whatsoever. After doing research for sony, canon, jvc, and panasonic, i finally settled on this one and have not been disappointed. The camcorder itself is easy to use. It took only a quick glance through the manual and i was well on my way to videoland. The minidv tapes are pricey and this records in sp (60 min for regular tapes) and lp (90 min), so you’ll want to check those out before buying. Hooking up to tv requried several tries the first time for some reason, but now i have no problem. No software comes in this package, but i tested this with several, including windows movie maker, ulead videostudio, mgi videowave, and the $. Rebate software arcsoft showbiz. Depending on the program, the video takes up different amounts of space on your hard drive, but just for the record, using mgi videowave, a 4 min clip took up 875 mb (yes, that’s right. ) however, windows movie maker take up only a fraction of that.

I just purchased my zr40 and i think it just barely gets by. The still photos are very grainy and in low light scenarios it does not perform well. The digital zoom is out standing, and it is very handy. I�ve only had it one week so i can�t say every much yet.

This is a great first digital camcorder. I bought it to upgrade from a hi8 camcorder, and to use it to convert my hi8 film to digital. I have had no problems using this camcorder to convert my hi8 film to digital, and burning it onto dvds. Send in for the showbiz software for exceptionally easy movie making. Con: the motor noise is there, but is easily overcome with a camcorder microphone. There are many inexpensive microphones out there to choose from.

Awesome camcorder & camera functions in this lightweight, easy to use camcorder make it a breeze to shoot great memories for a novice like me, right out of the box. This camcorder also has a huge selection of special effects, and options to make really interesting video effects.

This is an excellent camera, and if you’re going to be using this camera with a computer for edited purposes, you don’t need the still shot feature that the more expensive cameras have, because you can just pull any still shot you want out of the footage once you have it uploaded. The picture quality is great, it’s lightweight, and i was very pleasantly surprised by the audio quality, even out of the built-in microphone. It’s one of the best deals in video cameras i think. I would recommend a spare rechargable battery though.

I just bought this camera on 6/30/02. I love the size, it is in the midi-palm category, so it fits nice and snug in your hands. The 18x zoom is what grabbed my attention the most. I was in the market for a sony camcorder, but decided on the canon and glad i did.

Expecting a baby, i did research for about three weeks before i ended up with this canon zr40. Couple of features that i wanted to have were external mic input, analog input, no still images since i already own a nice digital camera, and most of all, affordable price tag. 18x zoom is nice and its compact size is pretty neat. Still, i have minor complaints after extensive tests. As pointed out by many people previously, the picture is somewhat grainy specially indoors. Because this is my first digital camcorder, i don’t know if this happens for other high-end models, but i suspect it may stand out somewhat more for zr40 with only 480k ccd pixels. What has also been noted was the motor noise, which is my primary concern for now.

Other than that, i think everything is fine for the price i paid.

I have used the camera for a month and am impressed by its features and picture quality. I agree with the other reviewers that indoor shoots require good lighting. I bought a video light and it helped a lot. Outdoor footage with sunshine is superb.If you are new to the video world (like i am) this camera is all you need to get started.

I did extensive research on this model (the whole zr series) and i must say, a lot of things are positive for this little camera. * light weight, * small, * bright outdoor pictures, * price. And some negative points raised by many so far, which of course i have not been able to test as i have not bought this item, is the motor noise being recorded and the night shots being grainy. I will not discuss anything about it as they have been beaten to death by now. What i want to talk about is the smaller ccd resolution on the zr series camcorders. As we know, the us spec zr series have the 460k pixels, out of which only 290k pixels are used for video (effective pixels). We need about 420k effective pixels to get a 500 line video resolution on the tv. Most of us know that, the vhs format (video tapes) allow upto 240lines of horizontal resolution. The s-vhs tapes allow upto 400 lines and the digital video format goes to 525 lines (really crisp and sharp pictures) on the tv/visual media. So now, with mere 290k effective pixels of video resolution being recorded on the zr40/45/50, the best lines of resolution would be around 300.

I’m always been fond of the canon line of consumer dv cams. They always have great optics, electronics, and durability. But what really sets them apart is thier menu systems. It’s totally disgusting that on most any other brand, including ones as prestegious as sony, that they lump all the menu options into a hoard of small, finger nail sized, buttons for most of thier consumer models. For canon’s you simply press the menu button then scoll and press a togele wheel. This way, once you get the hang of the wheel, you now understand how to use the whole menu system for any function. This is a great improvement over those that require the manual to find that ‘secret button combination’. This is a consumer camera but i use it for many large applications. It has been sized down from it’s optura and ultura ancestors but pretty well all the functionality and then some. It has other sister cams such as the zr45mc and zr50mc.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Canon ZR40 MiniDV Digital Camcorder with 2.5" LCD, & Digital Still Mode (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
4.4 of 5 stars, based on 34 reviews