Top positive review
59 people found this helpful
Performs as described
on 9 July 2007
I did not want to spend a lot, but wanted an up to date widescreen camcorder. I was happy to have tape and the DV format rather than a DVD or HD machine. After much scanning of available information I settled on the MD160 without having seen one anywhere.
My previous camcorder is a hi8 Canon, over 10 years old and still going strong, but not widescreen. A relative has a new DVD Canon camcorder and I was impressed, except for trying to edit images off the DVD. So I had no qualms about buying a Canon model I had not seen.
In the box was the camcorder, a battery, a charger/mains adaptor for the camcorder, and that was it. No tape or memory card or DV connection cable. There was a USB cable and an AV cable though.
Well I did know this before hand, but leaving out a tape is a bit stingy, means it cannot be used out of the box.
Anyhow I soon had tape, a cable and a memory card. Actually I was not bothered to much about the still facilities, but as they are there I was not going to ignore them.
Everything seemed to work and I soon had some trial movies. Transferring the using Premier LE 1 worked fine, even better when I set it use the 16:9 mode. So it was edited and transferred to DVD.
Well, it is not 100% broadcast quality. about 97% I would think. This is on a 66cm Panasonic Tube Flat Screen TV which has a picture as good as, if not better than most of the LCD types of the same size now in the shops. Very simply I am very impressed.
Usage is straight forward. There is a full auto mode for general shooting called EASY or P for programme mode. One advantage of this type of camcorder over most of the new HD types is the provision of an eye level view finder. There are many cases when this is a better option than using the side screen.
Programmable mode requires the screen to be used. This is becasue all the settings are through the screen. It takes a bit of getting used to if you have not done it that way before, but after a while is straight forward. One control useful during general shooting is the small joy stick type switch. This is used for manual focusing and aperture setting and seems to work fine. I tend to let the camera focus automatically and then use the manual to lock the focus. It will also lock onto infinty, useful when filming distant objects on the move an poles, trees and maybe heads can get in the way.
I have not needed to try out the recording programmes yet but have no reason to think they will not work. There are quite a lot of features available including a line or gride for image composition. Useful with the camera on a tripod.
I will briefly mention the still facility. It works and is especially useful using the long telephoto facility. The digital zoom also works with the still where it might have more use than in the video mode.
External controls are small and fiddly, but it is a small camera so it is to be expected. Except maybe with thick gloves on the necessary controls work fine. Zoom is power only and while the rate can be adjusted I have not tried this out yet.
Tape access is from the bottom so it needs to come off a tripod. As tapes are up to an hour not really a problem. Only a small battery comes with the camera, but with little zooming this actually lasts over an hour. Larger batteries can be fitted but I have settled for two smaller spares and a seperate charger that will also work off a 12 volt supply.
Like most camcorders around this price there is no external microphone jack. However, the MD160 does permit audio dubbing input. Now I have not tried this but it seems to be aimed at dubbing sound onto an existing movie, or music while filming. I think that while a direct microphoe will not work, one with a pre-amp on might. Not being expert in these matters i will leave it at that.
As you can see I have been well pleased with this camera. It does what I want and has an excellent image. It has a lot of features, many of which I have not mentioned but might get around to trying out some time. It is probably not a good machine for an absolute beginner, but if you have previous video experience and want a decent camcorder, are happy with DV tape and do not want to spend a fortune then consider this camcorder.