Canon Elura 90 Mini DV Camcorder
$800

Canon

One Canon Plaza

Lake Success, NY 11042

www.usa.canon.com

Totally in Control

The Canon Elura 90 has many great features for beginning and intermediate videographers. A Mini DV camcorder such as this one could really become a workhorse in the life of a hobbyist. If you're looking for a camcorder at a great value, definitely consider taking the Elura 90 for a test drive

Classic Look

There's nothing at the surface of the camcorder that really stands out. The design of the body is typical, which is good, especially after handling several unusual and rather uncomfortable cameras. This one is definitely comfortable, easy to handle and it's rather lightweight.

Canon has put the buttons and controls on this camcorder in easy to reach areas. One thing we've noticed throughout other model lines this year is the differing location of the Set dial and Menu button. On the Elura 90 these controls rest at the front end of the camera, next to the LCD. At first, this position seems a little strange, as it is nearly blocked when you open the LCD screen. However, if you don't twist the screen back too far, the controls remain accessible and are easier to use while balancing the camcorder at the same time.

Zippy Zoom

One of the nicest features on the camcorder is its amazing 20x optical zoom. Of course, at this range you'll definitely want to incorporate a tripod, as even the electronic image stabilizer won't smooth over all the jerkiness from handheld work at the length of the lens. Otherwise, the image stabilization performs well and isn't fooled by pans or tilts.

The manual focus and manual exposure is easy to adjust using the Set dial. The manual focus is a little bit touchy, so don't count on getting as much fine control as a focus ring. Additionally, the shutter speed can be manually adjusted between 1/60, 1/100, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000 for video shutter speeds and 1/60, 1/100 and 1/250 for stills. As for manual shutter speed control for the stills, having only 3 speeds to choose from is rather lame, but the camcorder should be able to utilize more shutter speeds in its automatic and program modes.

The Elura 90 can record stills to SD and Multimedia memory cards. Stills can be recorded at a maximum resolution of 1280 by 960 pixels. The Elura 90 is also capable of acting as a web cam with supported software (Windows Only). The software included will also help get stills and footage to and from your computer and allow for limited editing. Last but not least, included in the kit are a wireless remote control, an 8MB SD memory card and a wide angle lens adapter among other odds and ends.

The Audio


The onboard mic is located just below the lens and doesn't pick up any zoom motor noise. That's always a plus and so is the mic input and headphone jack. The headphone jack is actually shared with the AV jack, so you won't be able to use the headphones and use your composite connection simultaneously.

The sound recorded from the onboard mic is good. It sounds rich and the mic is able to pick up audio from fair distances. It does start to drop off noticeably at 25 feet and beyond. If you plan on capturing audio beyond 25 feet, you should definitely think about attaching a shotgun mic to the accessory shoe.

The Video


The Elura 90's optics performed as expected. The image resolution is good for a 1/ 4.5" sensor. In macro shots you'll still be able to pick up finer details. The camcorders auto white balance behaved normally in our lab tests. We also noticed that the camcorder tends to underexpose in the fully auto mode, which is a good behavior for retaining details.

The lab tests revealed that the color balance is also good, with slightly over saturated reds. Despite having a saturated red level, we noticed that the blue and cooler colors were also strong. Overall we were quite please with the color reproduction and quality of optics on the Elura 90.

Summary

The Elura 90 has a lot to offer the casual point and shoot videographer. It's easy to use, has a nice 20x optical zoom and additional manual controls that will keep users happy for quite sometime. Although its low light performance needs improvement and the Set Dial can be difficult to access at times, the overall review of the Elura 90 is a shinning one.

TECH SPECS

Format: Mini DV

Number of CCDs: 1

Size of CCDs: 1/ 4.5"

Pixels on CCD: (k) 1330

Video Effective Pixels (k): 690

Focus: auto/manual

Shutter Speed: manual/auto

Maximum Shutter Speed: 1/2000 manual

Minimum Shutter Speed: 1/60 manual

Lens f Stop: 1.8-3.5

Program Exposure Modes: 5

Optical Zoom: 20x

Focal Length: 3.5-70mm

Image Stabilization: Electronic

Manual White Balance: yes

Viewfinder: .33" 113k pixels

LCD Monitor: 2.5" 123k pixels

Progressive Scan: no

HD Modes: no

Video In: Composite, FireWire

Video Out: Composite, USB, FireWire

Mono/Stereo Recording: Stereo

Microphone In: Yes

VU Meters: no

Manual Audio Level Controls: no

Headphone Jack: yes

Speaker: yes

Still Shot Media: SD Memory Card

Memory Card Included: 8MB SD

Flash: Yes

Wireless Remote: Remote

External Battery Charger Provided: no

Battery Type: Lithium Ion

Tape Loading Configuration: Top

Onboard Video Light: Yes

Accessory Shoe: Yes

STRENGTHS

  • 20x Optical Zoom
  • Mic Input
  • Easy To Use

WEAKNESSES

  • Low Light
  • LCD interferes with Set Dial

SUMMARY

With a great feature set and some manual controls, this camcorder is ideal in the life of a beginning shooter.

Mark Montgomery is Videomaker's technical editor.

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