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Old February 5th, 2005, 12:28 PM   #1
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Anyone try new Canon ZR100/200/300?

Looking for reports on the new Canon ZR series palmcorders, ZR100/200/300. Anyone get their hands on one and have an opinion on its quality?

I'm looking at it primarily for my brother, who has never had a camcorder before and wants a good entry level (read "not expensive") camera for his family videos. I'm especially interested in the 16:9 quality...I know he has a pretty new widescreen TV. And heck, if the ZR series has gotten good enough, I might even get one as a hip-pocket backup cam for my XL2 shoots (I virtually always shoot 16:9).

Any hands-on reports will be much appreciated!
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Old February 6th, 2005, 11:03 PM   #2
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Hi Pete,

I think the new ZR's have only now just started to ship. I've had my hands on them at CES last month, and the most diplomatic thing I can say is that it's definitely an affordable camcorder. If budget is the primary consideration, then the ZR series will do.

As a back-up to an XL2, I would have to very strongly suggest one of the Optura series camcorders. Its RGB color filter closely emulates the 3-chip look and will be the best ball-park match for an XL2 out of the entire Canon single-chip family.

The Optura Xi does not letterbox 16:9 in the viewfinder, and it is a bottom-loader. All other current Opturas will letterbox 16:9, plus they are all top-loaders. Hope this helps,
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Old February 7th, 2005, 03:39 PM   #3
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Thanks, Chris. At the price point, the ZRs are decidedly intended as the entry level, but technology marches on. The ZR10 was my first minDV camcorder 5 or 6 years ago and I paid, I think, about $800 or so for it. Now the ZR100 will have "high resolution" wide screen for $349 ... wondering how sharp the picture will really be.

I'm pretty sure it will be more than enough for my brother; he was thinking about a Digital-8 camera from Target! I just couldn't let that happen! :-)

For myself -- as you pointed out -- there's no way that a $349 camcorder is really going to take the place of an XL2, but rather than have my ZR10 and GL2 doing the capturing and otherwise mostly collecting dust, I'm thinking about selling them both and getting a new coat-pocket compatible, inexpensive camera to use for select "non-XL2" situations and for capturing.

I think I'll tickle this thread again in a few weeks to see if anyone has used one out in the "real world." Thanks again for the advance word from your CES experience!
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Old March 10th, 2005, 01:06 PM   #4
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Just tickling this thread now that the new ZRs have been on store shelves for a while. Has anyone used the ZR100 or ZR200 enough yet to compare the sharpness of its 16:9 image with its own 4:3 resolution picture (assuming good light, all other things being equal, etc, etc)?
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Old March 14th, 2005, 01:46 PM   #5
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I found the image to be much sharper on the ZR300 that I got to use for 2 weeks in 16x9 compared to 4x3 in the same lighting conditions. The FOV increased in the exact same manner as the XL2. Is it sampling the CCD the same way? Because it sure acts like it.
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Old March 14th, 2005, 03:53 PM   #6
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Marty,

Thanks for the report. I guess that's really what's at the root of my question, as Canon advertises it as "high resolution" widescreen and "true widescreen" so I'd assume it is straight off the chip, not electronically stretched:

http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/con...delid=11003#f2

Obviously, it is not going to be a replacement for the XL2, but if it is taking 16:9 off the chip, that's a real good thing for a $350 / $500 camera (ZR100 / ZR300). So I guess I'll take that as pretty darn good widescreen for the money?!
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Old March 15th, 2005, 10:07 AM   #7
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The XL2 blows it away big time and that is okay because I paid a lot more for the Xl2 and it justifies that. I was a little disapointed in its low-light capabilities (compared to equally priced cameras) but that is the same trade-off we have with the Xl2. HIgher res means smaller pixels and therefore a loss of 1-2 stops of light sensitivity.
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Old March 20th, 2005, 01:26 PM   #8
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my buddy just picked up a zr300. i have not had a chance to play with it at all...

are thye better/worse than a optura 300?
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 08:09 AM   #9
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The ZR 300 is newer but lower in the food chain than the Optura 300. The good-better-best progression for Canon video camcorder families is ZR (sub-megapixel), Elura (1.3 megapixel), Optura (2 megapixel). All three product groups are native 16:9 these days. Hope this helps,
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