Pros Built in lens cap, no touch screen, wide screen mode, small and light weight, connectors easy to get to
Cons charge cord prongs don't fold, light on/off in menu system, no analog video in
Summary This is a very solid camera for the money, I think it is intended as most are in this price range to be an "autopilot" camera, where the user can just turn it on and it does everything for you. In this case I think it does a great job. The issue seems to be with low light, I am not sure how other cameras perform in low light, but I found I can set the P mode to night and get a solid image in very low light. The response time lags a bit, so I wouldn't swing it around real fast in night mode but if you hold it still it seems to work fine, you might have to try it out for yourself if you are shooting low light action sequences. The "light" is useless for anything far away and it adds its own led tint on the things it does illuminate close by. The 35x optical zoom is awesome, you can read a newspaper print from 15 feet away without having to go into digital zoom.
I stuck with Mini DV after reading about the HDD cameras do MPEG compression on the fly which can lower the quality and I didn't want a DVD one. I am sure this camera will do the trick until the HDD cameras become more common and the price comes down.
"Very satisfied!"on by seagardan
Pros Above average video,lightweight, 35x zoom, decent still shots,
Cons Light is useless, tape loads from bottom
Summary I had purchased and returned a few cameras in this price range (JVC,Sony,Canon) due to lousy video quality. Was very pleased with the quality of this Canon. Like most cameras in this price range, the low light quality is not great. You need to take some time and work with the different settings. Compared to the other cameras though,this camera was the best.
Pros Great features, easy to use
Cons loud motor/tape noise that you hear while recording and on playback/grainy video
Summary I have always loved Canon. I purchased the ZR800 after reading all the reviews I could find on the Sony and Canon. The 800 has such a loud tape noise on playback it was very annoying and you couldn't hear people talking low over it. So I took it back and got a ZR850. The noise issue was "better" but still there and still annoying. I thought ok I can live with it. The saleseman told me all MiniDV camera's would have that and if I didnt' want it I should go up to the Hard drive models. Hubby wanted to try another MiniDV camera so we went and got a Sony DCR-HC38 to compare(reviews aren't as good) The Sony is SO much better than the canon! NO tape noise at all. Video quality was better too although the reviews say the opposite. the Sony was still easy to use(but still prefer cannon in that dept.) I will be returning the Canon. I love canon but they have really messed up with their ZR line!
"DV port broke"on by JarVander
Pros Produces stunningly vivid and fluid 1280x720 widescreen video in bright sunlight. Menus were easy to navigate and the feature set was good for the price.
Cons Grainy video under normal indoor lighting, I needed to set up extra lighting for indoor use. The microphone recorded a very loud tape drive drone. Digital image stabilizer was useless.
Summary I had to use on a tripod, palm held video was too jumpy. I was willing to live with the negatives until the fragile DV port broke, then I returned it. I have a Canon digital still camera and a Canon Hi8 camcorder, the ZR850 doesn't live up to Canon's prior consumer level products.
Pros Price relative to high end models
Cons Prive relative to entry line models. Poor image quality under normal and low light.
Summary We were looking to replace a 3CCD Panasonic camcorder that my daughter dropped ($500 to repair - no thanks). I mainly was looking for a reasonably priced camcorder that would film "cleanly" - without a ton of features or advanced settings.
I decided to try this model after waiting some weeks for the Sony HC48 to become widely available. I was hoping that the 1MP lens would lend itself to higher quality video and that was enough incentive to choose this over the 830 and 800.
Video performance on this is mediocre to poor. I have a widescreen HD and the image looked pixelated with a lot of "noise" under low light and even normal conditions. I certainly wasn't looking for an HD like picture, but this left a LOT to be desired.
The LCD viewfinder has very few pixels and the screen images looks grainy and washed out.
Also the built in light is more of a gimmick than a functional feature (and casts a weird blue glow).
One other thing to note - the camera does not charge the battery when it is set to the "on" position and plugged in.
In all I am going to opt for a different (probably more expensive) camera.