Hitachi DZ-MV780A DVD Camcorder
$700

Hitachi

1855 Dornoch Court

San Diego, CA 92154

www.hitachi.com

It's a Snap

The Hitachi DZ-MV780 takes on a sleek design and incorporates in-camera editing features that will complement any casual shooter. If you're looking for a convenient camcorder, take a closer look.

Simply Too Easy

The DZ-MV780 is a small and handy camcorder. The menu control and disc navigation buttons are in easy to reach places. The manual override buttons for exposure and manual focus are accessible right next to the 2.5 inch LCD screen. The zoom rocker has variable speeds to get you through a 10x lens. And not to be forgotten, this camcorder's electronic image stabilizer also performs well during pans and tilts.
Getting the camcorder out of the box and feeling comfortable with the controls only takes a few minutes. Included with the DZ-MV780 is slim remote control and DVDCAM software. Again, these simple conveniences really add to the camcorder and it's usefulness. The software will allow you to transfer DVD-RAM footage to computer and burn 8cm DVD-R discs in-camera. This way you can have a DVD that's more compatible with DVD players.
Recording media choices are limited to two types of discs: DVD-RAM and DVD-R. The DVD-RAM discs offer more functionality with in-camera editing options and the ability to delete scenes on the fly. The DVD-R disc is much more limited, except for its compatibility among DVD players.
You can also record to a SD memory card (not included). On a single 32 MB SD card you can fit approximately 58 snapshots at the highest quality. On the discs, however, you can record hundreds of pictures. The DZ-MV780, unfortunately doesn't included an on-board flash, but it does include an accessory shoe to give more flash options.

Able Audio

Picking up sound with the on-board mic results is a decent quality stereo signal. The mic was able to capture accurate sound from mid-range distances from the camcorder. The audio is recorded as Dolby Digital stereo, MPEG layer 2, which considering its compression rate, sounds exceptionally good.
If you want more control over the audio, consider adding on a mic through the supplied mic input. The accessory shoe might also come in handy if you're in a pinch for better audio. Additionally, the in-camera mic has a wind filter option available within the camcorder's menu. Overall, the DZ-MV780 audio performance is quite pleasing and it's nice to know that you can add more control if needed.

Hey Good Lookin'

At the highest quality recording mode, "Xtra," the video looks very good. You can capture a surprising amount of detail with this camcorder, but at lower quality recording modes, the fine detail quickly drops off. At the medium quality there is still a fair balance of detail and non-blocky video as long as you're not recording high-speed motion.
The color reproduction is par for the course. The colors look natural and are not overwhelmingly saturated, but are appropriately vibrant in bright light shooting situations. The automatic white balance is quick and accurate. It even performs well when introducing mixed lighting conditions.

Wrap It Up

If ease of use is a serious consideration for you in choosing a camcorder, but you don't want to sacrifice a whole lot of quality, this is a super solution. With the functionality of recording to DVD-RAM, added audio options and simply true-blue video qualities, it's hard to look the other way. Then consider the more-than-reasonable price tag and now you've got yourself planning your next stop to your favorite dealer.All things considered,

TECH SPECS

Format: DVD-R/DVD-RAM

Number of CCDs: 1

Size of CCDs: 1 / 4.5"

Pixels on CCD: (k) 1,330

Video Effective Pixels (k):690, 1,100 Still

Focus: auto/manual

Shutter Speed: auto/manual

Maximum Shutter Speed:1/4000

Minimum Shutter Speed:1/4

Lens f Stop:f1.8-f2.3

Program Exposure Modes: 6

Optical Zoom: 10x

Focal Length: 3.2-32mm

Image Stabilization: Electronic

Manual White Balance: yes

Viewfinder: 0.2" color

LCD Monitor: 2.5" color TFT 120k

Progressive Scan: no

HD Modes: no

Video In: Composite, S-Video

Video Out: Composite, S-Video

Mono/Stereo Recording: Stereo

Microphone In: Yes

VU Meters: no

Manual Audio Level Controls: no

Headphone Jack: AV output only

Speaker: Yes

Still Shot Media: SD memory card

Memory Card Included: no

Flash: no

Wireless Remote: Yes

External Battery Charger Provided: Yes

Battery Type: 1 hour

Tape Loading Configuration: Side Tray

Onboard Video Light: no

Accessory Shoe: Yes

STRENGTHS

  • Good Video Quality
  • USB Connection
  • DVDCAM Software

WEAKNESSES

  • Max recording time at highest quality= 20 min.
  • Limited Computer Editing options
  • Supplied Software: Windows only

SUMMARY

Easy to use, good image quality, decent sound and in-camera editing options make this a useful camcorder.

Mark Montgomery is Videomaker's technical editor.

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