Panasonic PV-DV400 Digital Camcorder
Panasonic
Electronic

Price: US$1250.95
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Availability: Within 1~2 Days

Product Information
Language:English, Japanese
Release Date:Aug 25, 2000
Publisher:Panasonic
Product Made In:Japan



Product Details
Panasonic's PV-DV400 digital camcorder is a great all-around camera. Though other camcorders may be slightly smaller, have more powerful zoom lenses, or a more extensive set of features, the DV400 has a hard-to-beat blend of size, features, and price.
The camera records videos in MiniDV, the most popular format for digital camcorders. Unlike some MiniDV camcorders, the Panasonic has approximately the same size, weight, and familiar bricklike shape of a traditional compact camcorder. It fits comfortably in one hand, and the controls are logically arranged. A three-way switch under your right thumb turns the camera off or selects record or playback mode, and a big red button in the middle of this switch starts and stops recording. To take a digital still image, press a separate button under your index finger. A big rocker switch under your middle and ring fingers controls the variable zoom--a light press gives a smooth, slow zoom, which speeds up with increased pressure.

Most of the camera's settings--special effects, digital zoom setting, white balance, and titling, for example--are selected with an onscreen menu system operated by a pair of controls near your index finger. A clickable scrolling wheel (like those that are becoming increasingly common on computer mice) lets you scroll quickly to the setting you want. A few operations--digital zoom, image stabilization, fade, backlight compensation--are arranged in a row on the left side of the camera, necessitating two-handed operation in these situations.

To record in the traditional pose (or to conserve power), there's a color eyepiece viewfinder. If you want a better view of the subject you're shooting, a bright, clear 2.5-inch color swivel LCD screen flips out of the camera.

Digital stills can be recorded on either tape or the included MultiMediaCard. This card is smaller than (and incompatible with) the more popular CompactFlash and SmartMedia formats, but it seems to be gaining acceptance and is often used in compact MP3 players. The camera captures stills at a resolution of 640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)--perfect for sending e-mailed snapshots or posting on the Web, but don't count on producing sharp prints with your shots. To transfer images to your computer, Panasonic provides software on floppy and a connector that goes between your camera's serial port and the camera. Mac users are out of luck: both software and cable are Windows only.

As this is written, Panasonic sells five models of single-CCD camcorders ranging from the PV-DV100 to the PV-DV800, with this model precisely in the middle of the range. Compared to the less expensive PV-DV200, the 400 adds a bigger color LCD screen (3 inches vs. 2.5 inches), a color viewfinder instead of a black-and-white one, and a 0-lux infrared filter for shooting in near darkness. If you opt for the 600, you get all of the 400's features, plus Adobe PhotoDeluxe software for manipulating your stills, analog-in plugs for transferring your old videos to the MiniDV format, and a built-in light to capture better color in low-light situations.

Pros:
Functions as both a camcorder and a digital camera for snapshots
Infrared filter for shooting in near darkness
Image stabilization helps to remove shakiness

Cons:
Digital camera function has lower resolution than some camcorders
No analog audio and video in-plugs to transfer old videos to new format

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