Canon Elura Mini DV Camcorder Review
Canon’s Small Shooter



Elura Mini DV Camcorder

($1799)

Canon USA, Inc.

One Canon Plaza

Lake Success, NY 10042-1113

(800) 828-4040

www.usa.canon.com

The small Mini DV camcorders are everywhere this year. Many of the new releases are as small as your hand, weigh about a pound, and are priced from $1000 to $2000. One of these new Mini DVs is Canon’s Elura, a $1799 camcorder for beginner to intermediate-level videographers. Sporting fully automatic controls, but maintaining a decent level of manual control, the Elura is (and you know we can’t resist the all-to-obvious pun) an alluring camcorder to review.

Set the Controls

The Elura uses a single wheel to set the focus manually and to navigate through the menu system. This system is fairly intuitive, so finding your way through the menu system shouldn’t be a problem. In the menu, you can adjust almost everything on the camcorder such as shutter speed, audio mode, white balance, displays and effects. You can also turn on and off the digital zoom, image stabilization, the tally lamp and more. By putting all of these controls on a menu, the Elura isn’t overloaded with buttons. This makes it simple enough for new videographers, while letting more advanced shooters maintain a measure of control.

The wheel makes it somewhat difficult to set the manual focus. With the manual focus limited by the hard-to-handle wheel, the Elura is a camcorder that will probably be in autofocus mode a lot. On the positive side, the autofocus on the Elura works quite well. It focused on the correct part of the frame and never got stuck in one of those "my autofocus can’t decide" modes that seem to plague some other autofocus systems.

The Elura uses optical image stabilization, which doesn’t lower resolution like camcorders that use electronic image stabilization (EIS). The image stabilization works well.

Hope You Like the Built-in Mike

As you look at the Elura, you’ll notice a couple of important camcorder features to be missing: external microphone and headphone jacks. If you want these audio features, you have to buy an optional docking station (model DU-200, $60). The DU-200 attaches to the bottom of the Elura and uses the multi-connector on the bottom of the camcorder. The DU-200 includes microphone, headphone and LANC (Control-L) jacks, allowing the Elura to become a more versatile camcorder for videographers who want to control their sound or edit with LANC equipment. The docking unit is a little bulky, compared to the ultra-slim camcorder, and could make handheld shots awkward. On the flip side, if you’re using the docking unit, then you’re probably going to be using a tripod anyway, so the docking unit’s ergonomics probably won’t be a hindrance. For only $60, it’s a good idea to order the docking unit when you order the Elura.

It’s also a Digital Still Camera

The Elura features progressive scanning, which means that you can set it up so that instead of recording 60 fields per second, the Elura will record 30 whole frames a second. This makes each of the 30 frames more suitable for capturing a still image than a still from a video recorded normally. On the downside, when you record video in progressive scan mode, it will sometimes appear jerky, particularly in low light conditions.

The Elura in a Nutshell

When the docking station is attached (providing improved audio connections like headphone and microphone jacks), the Elura is a camcorder suitable for light production duties. Overall, the Canon Elura is a pretty good little Mini DV camcorder. It’s small size and impressive performance make it a natural choice for videographers on the go. The progressive scan mode allows you to capture high-quality digital still images, which gives you a level of flexibility in this small handheld camcorder that most Mini DVs cannot match. It’s perfect for travelers, who’ll appreciate the Elura’s simplicity, small size and light weight. When you combine these features with the excellent picture and i.LINK connection, Canon has a contender on its hands. –LL

Tech Specs – Canon Elura Mini DV Camcorder

Format: Mini DV

Lens: 12:1 zoom, 48:1 digital zoom, f/1.6-2.5, 30.5mm filter diameter

Image Sensor: 1/4-inch progressive scan CCD, 380,000 pixels

Viewfinder: 2.5-inch color LCD monitor, .55-inch color viewfinder

Maximum Shutter Speed: 1/4000 of a second

Exposure manual:, auto, 7 AE modes

White Balance: auto, manual

Digital Effects: art, black and white, sepia, mosaic, multi-image screen, 16:9

Audio: PCM Stereo, 12- or 16-bit

Inputs: IEEE 1394, S-video, A/V, multi-connector

Outputs: IEEE 1394, S-video, A/V, multi-connector

Edit Interface: IR, Control-L

Other Features: A/V Dub, still photo

Dimensions: 2 3/8 (width) x 5 (height) x 4 1/4 (depth) inches

Weight: (sans tape and battery) 1 pound 4 3/4 ounces

Video Performance (approx.):

Horizontal resolution (camera)
400 lines

Horizontal resolution (playback) 400 lines

Performance Times:

Pause to Record: 1 second

Power-up to Record: 5 seconds

Fast-forward/Rewind (60 min. tape) 2 minutes 52 seconds

strengths

  • small size
  • IEEE 1394 port

weaknesses

  • microphone and headphone jacks only with optional docking unit
  • manual focus hard to use

summary

Canon has a strong contender with this full-featured Mini DV camcorder that fits into the palm of your hand.


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