The middle model in Canon’s new MV800 camcorder range is small and easy to use, although it lacks any particularly distinguishing outward features.
Unfortunately, the MV830i suffers from the now infamous bottom-loading tape mechanism. This is unlikely to bother casual, palm-wielding users, but will infuriate anyone using a tripod. Cassettes cannot be loaded without removing the camera from its perch.
A more convenient feature of the camera is the fact that the digital video (DV) port supports input as well as output, so it can be used as a DV deck when editing on a PC. Its analogue (A/V) output also works as an input, so video from analogue sources can be mastered to DV tape. Other useful features include a wide-screen mode that captures footage in an anamorphic 16:9 image for playback on suitably shaped screens, as well as a handy night mode.
Those unfamiliar with camcorder operation will appreciate the inclusion of an automated ‘easy’ setting, although enthusiasts may find the lack of readily accessible manual controls something of a nuisance.
Despite the inclusion of a separate SD card for storing images and a mechanical shutter system, the MV830i is not particularly well suited to still photography, because of its low maximum image resolution of just 1,024 x 768pixels.
We were less than impressed by the camera’s overall video image. Even in bright outdoor lighting, colours looked flat and washed out and detail was poor. We addressed some of these quality issues by setting the white balance manually, which takes some rooting around in the menus to achieve, but wewere still generally unhappy with the picture.
Overall, this is an easy-to-use video camera that is somewhat let down by its picture quality.
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