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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.
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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2007
Having had this camcorder for a few weeks now and experimented with its various functions (including still photos), I can honestly say that I am completely happy with it and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone. I agree with all the comments posted about it so far, other than that as a first time camcorder user I have found it very easy to get to grips with. The controls, and the additional functions (if you want to do anything other than use it in Auto mode), are pretty straightforward to use. I especially like the Easy Start function which enables one to put the camcorder into 'sleep' mode and then start to use it almost instantly rather than turning it off and starting it up again. It is nice and light, the main controls are easily within reach when holding and pointing it, and the recorded video quality is excellent. Some may think it old fashioned these days to use tapes rather than a digital memory, but they make the camcorder lighter, are easy to fit and use, and provide an immediate storage facility. The zooms work well and produce great results, for both movies and stills. And though it may seem only a minor feature, it's useful to have a simple lens cover switch.

I bought the accessory kit containing carrying case, long life battery and cassette and think it was worth it. It is a shame that Canon don't include at least one cassette with the camcorder, and it is also worth getting the FireWire capabilities to enable one to connect to a PC, though the main package does provide a TV connector for video tape playback purposes and a USB connector for still photo and video clip playback from a memory card.

Overall, a great camcorder, especially at the price.
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on 19 December 2007
If you're buying this MD160 camcorder as an entry level machine for the start of your budding filmmaking career, it can be a bit misleading. This is my first camcorder and after much research of price and formats (harddrive/DVD/miniDV) I settled for this as good value for money, one of the best features not listed on many is the ability to transfer back to a tape in the camcorder once you're done.

The camera itself is fairly easy to use out of the box with a lot of features buried in its options if you want to be more specific about what you want to shoot or want to just play around. I haven't had a lot of time to shoot videos but you're going to hit the biggest hurdles out of the box before you even start anyway.

It should have been more readily listed by Canon that you need to already have more than just this camcorder to use it, it doesn't come with a miniDV tape it doesn't come with a firewire cable the software it does come with is for use with the SDcard feature only, which is also disappointing in that you can only record video in 10-30 second bursts.

The main features I wanted were the ability to shoot video transfer it to my PC for editing. Not only do you have to buy a separate firewire cable to connect your new camcorder to your PC to be able to do this. Here's where the DM160 instruction Manuel leaves you in the lurch, pointing you to refer to your own software for how to do this essential feature.
Windows XP (home edition) comes with windows movie maker as standard and fortunately it is very easy to use that program to transfer your recordings (in .wma file format) to your PC (and back) with enough options to make low quality youtube videos or full TV standard. Other programs like Nero and Adobe Premiere (stores in .AVI format - large files though) can also be used. So make sure you have one of them and more importantly a firewire connection on your PC before you buy this camcorder. As not knowing this with camcorder out of the box was very disconcerting and disappointing for me.
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on 19 July 2007
Just received the camcorder today. Already tried filming and playback, plus still photo shot, connecting to telly and to iMovie HD on my Macbook. All worked a treat.

Bought some DV tapes, 2GB SD card and Firewire 400 (4-pin to 6-pin) cable (DV output makes iMovie import better, I believe), as none of these come in the box. All plugged and slotted in to work first time.

Bit unsure about the low light ability and no flash for the stills, but, as a novice, I probably shouldn't lose sleep over those things at this price. It's small, light, simple, charged quickly and I can make lots of embarrassing films of my son. Smashing!
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on 1 November 2007
Is it just me then that didn't realise this!? I've had a sony dv camcorder for a number of years but when it went wrong, I decided to change to this highly recommended camcorder.I read all the reviews and it sounded great BUT when I tried to download my first tape using the included usb cable-nothing. Tried my sony firewire cable connected my sony laptop-bingo. But my laptop has too small a screen to edit movies. Got in touch with Canon support to be told the usb cable is for downloading stills and movies from the memory card only. I have no firewire connection on my pc, so I will now have to go and buy a pci card. I know that the firewire will give me faster transfer speeds but I just think more emphasis should be given to the fact that this is a camcorder that will not work out of the box for downloading a movie without-1.buying a firewire and 2.-making sure your pc has a firewire connection. Anyway, still rated it 4* because what I have seen so far, the results are very good. Oh and sorry Amazon-that camcorder I sent you back the other day-I don't think it has a problem!! But very good customer support in getting me another one delivered so quickly.
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on 30 September 2007
Frikkin A is all i can say ,just superb in every way.
Initially bought a Sony like because of the name i guess and a previous fantastic camcorder they made but wait, the latest ones are useless compared to this machine very very recommended don`t get the Sony DCR-HC45 £200 camcorder what ever you do, it sucks and had to send it back well not up to the job or just plain faulty i don`t know .
By the way can`t beat Amazon for Customer Services very professional THANKS!
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on 13 May 2009
I have owned the camcorder for a year. Firewire is becoming much less popular now, and this camcorder will not output video to the computer via USB. Using the camera is ok, but if I bought another, an external Mic would be essential. The quick-start is good, you don't have to wait for it to wake back up from standby. When the power supply/charger blew smoke and failed, Canon UK were awful, with foreign call-centre rigmaroles, no tracking of repair, long waits and no information. I would not buy Canon again because of this.
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