Digital Zoom: 220 X
Optical Zoom: 11 X
LCD Screen Size: 3.5 in
Recording Media: Mini DV|MultiMediaCard|SD Memory Card
Audio Support: PCM
Additional Features: Built-in Speaker|Date Code|Fader Function|PC Connection|PCM Digital Recording
Image Stabilization: Optical
Average User RatingAverage User RatingAverage User Rating: Number of User Reviews: 5
Reviewed by: get2shivani from WA on Apr 15, 2005
Experience: 90 Days
Strengths: High quality video, tonnes of features, doubles as digicam and camcorder
Summary: I have had this digital camcorder for about 3 months now. I haven't used it a lot. But from the little that I have used, here is what I think:
1. The quality of the video is exception. I compared a video shot using optura xi with video shot using zr80 in same conditions. The one shot using optura xi was far far better - much better colors.
2. This has a 2 megapixel digital camera too and surprisingly the digital camera produces very good quality photos. The great part is that it has a flash for the digital camera.
3. Extremely quiet.
4. The remote control is great with so many features
1. This is much bigger in size when compared to other miniDV camcorders
2. In low light conditions, the quality of video deteriorates rapidly
3. The way it requires you to press the shutter at the time of taking a digital photo, it is very difficult to keep your hand steady
Reviewed by: surgeon37 from MI on Jun 17, 2004
Experience: 3 Weeks
Strengths: Impressive choice of settings. Excellent image quality. Easy to use. View Screen is 3.5 inches. Excellent interface with Mac.
Weaknesses: Bottom load cassette.
Summary: My old Sony 8mm basically went DOA after years of faithful service. Refurbishing seemed too expensive, especially when I'm still left with the option of transferring to VHS for archival purposes.
I compared models extensively, read reviews, and narrowed it down to the Canon Optura Xi and the Panasonic PV-DV953. The deciding factors were two: Canon had a $200 rebate offer, and after speaking to customer service at Panasonic, I found that the 953 is no longer in production. You can still get it, but they are no longer making that model. The replacement for it is the GS200.
The Canon Optura Xi is a fine machine. Having had a high-end Sony 8mm for years, I don't mind a LONG list of manually chosen options on a camera. The nice thing about the Canon is that you can choose an "easy" mode (good for my wife using it) if you like.
A HUGE plus is the 3.5 inch screen. When using this, there is no comparison to the 2.5 inch screens. Get the larger one, it's worth it.
Optical Stabilizer is nice, once you get used to it when panning a shot. Image quality is excellent in outdoor conditions and most indoor conditions.
I use a Mac, and downloading and editing was frighteningly easy. I just used iMovie, didn't even bother with the software that came with the camera.
The only down side to this machine is the bottom loading cassette. It can be a problem for quick tape changes if you have it on a tripod. Solution.... make sure you have a new tape in before starting to tape on a tripod.... chances are you won't have to change it within an hour, so you're fine.
I would highly reccomend this camera to anyone desiring serious capabilities that you're not likely to outgrow. With the rebate, if you shop around, you can get one for about $800. A bargain for this camera and these features.
Reviewed by: hbillsmith from TX on Dec 16, 2003
Experience: 5 Days
Strengths: Great Optics, Optical Stabilzer,3 1/2" LCD, Smooth Zoom, RemoteCtrl, Sharp 2MP stills (have seen video cams with 3MP show lot of artifacts), Stereo, diop viewfinder, many effects, good controls
Weaknesses: Not as clear video when shot in low light like lamp lit family room , but fine with overhead ceiling lights etc. Bottom load tape is tradeoff for extremely quite mech(No MotorNoise). No LANC.
Summary: Great videos and camera feels very solid, it's smaller than the pictures make you think but it fits palm very well and controls are all easy to reach and comfortable to control (I went looking for the Optura 300 and switched because this is almost as small (3 oz more) and is much more comfortable to hold).
Some other cool things:
- You can take stills to the tape as well as the SD card
- Auto Mode does everything for your wife
- Manual mode allows Shutter Priority for lightning stills
- Manual mode allows Aperture Priority to narrow depthfield
- SDCard can store jpeg mask overlays that can be combined with video on the fly (Think "It's a boy" frame on new baby)
On camera zoom is good variable, but I really had fun tripoding and using the remote control zoom to move in on interview scenes that included me. From daylight down to normal reading light levels it's fine, but as mentioned already the low light is grainy, but it's not all that horrible, it's just that for a lot of indoor parties and such videoing a lot of zoomed closeups of faces etc you probably will appreciate a little brighter subject. Recommend get a tiny 3Watt video light that fits in accessory shoe (Sima 3W rechargable $25) or (Canon VFL-1 that gives you a combo video light and stronger flash, matches camera and autodriven by cam(filmemporium.com $91) VFL-1 Flash extends range to 11 ft.)
Reviewed by: SYS on Jan 2, 2004
Experience: 3 Weeks
Strengths: Excellent color reproduction; great still photos; smooth zoom; terrific 3.5" LCD; remote control; manual controls; quiet motor; intelligent shoe; beautiful design, looks, feel and size.
Weaknesses: Highly pixelated viewfinder; bottom-loader; mode dial button; built-in mic picks up too much wind noise; somewhat grainy in low light situations.
Summary: Some comments about the Xi's special features that I got to play with:
1) By setting the shutter speed to 500 maximum and still mode to "continuous," I had a great result with my wife's golf swing sequential shots. In low light indoor, this function also worked great with rapid firing flash.
2) Its Auto Exposure Bracketing feature is nice. Just push a button and you get three shots with three different exposures.
3) I was able to produce a fantastic panoramic photo of my house with the mountain landscape in the background.
4) Its 16:9 widescreen shooting is excellent.
5) Its "Custom Key" button comes handy for setting certain effects the user tends to use often, such as Back Light Compensation, or Optical Stabilization if the user tends to do lot of panning, or using certain type of driving mode, or using the Zebra Pattern mode.
6) With this camcorder you can shoot still shots while filming and save the still images to either the memory card or onto the tape. The user also can make still images out of whatever images the tape contains.
7) The feature I appreciate is that I can set the flash light to be activated at all times or automatically.
8) The Night and Super Night modes are kinda gimmicky, but perhaps I could use them for some special effects at a later point.
The Xi also comes with a bunch of interesting digital effects that I haven't had a chance to explore. It's a great camcorder to own.
Reviewed by: audioadc on Dec 22, 2003
Experience: 2 Weeks
Strengths: Very good quality video. Easy to use.
Weaknesses: Canon advertized: simulatinous photo and video! Look closely, only 640x480 if you want to do 2 things at once! What good does 640x480 do ? Can't print them out.
Summary: (Edited December 31st by audioadc) Photo quality is not that great even with 2M. They all seem over or under exposed. I have to tweak the setting a lot!
Not good for my wife.
11x zoom if bearely adequate.
For normal lighting (I mean indoor liting in family rooms etc..) you have to be careful cause there isn;t sufficient lighting. The quality will come out Ok, but a bit grainny.
Shuter has some lag. More than my Olympus C3000.
Overall, I am just about happy with my Xi. It could have been better with some improvement.
From a picky guy.