Canon DC310

An easy to use, budget DVD camcorder

Canon DC310
  • Canon DC310
  • Canon DC310
  • Canon DC310
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Solid video performance for the asking price, 41x optical zoom, strong build quality

Cons

  • Limited connectivity options, no optical image stabiliser, memory card slot does not record video

Bottom Line

The DC310 is a solid DVD offering let down by the limitations of its format. Casual users who want quick access to their home movies will be quite satisfied. Everyone else, on the other hand, should stick to flash memory or MiniDV.

Would you buy this?

If you're looking to buy a standard-definition camcorder and find the idea of 'instant' DVDs intriguing, then the Canon DC310 is as good an option as you're likely to find. With its powerful zoom lens, multimedia card slot and easy-to-use interface, it should satisfy its intended market of amateurs and beginners. At just under $500, it is attractively priced, costing $159 less than Panasonic's similarly specified VDR-D50 model.

With all that being said, DVD camcorders are clearly not suited to everyone's taste. The usual limitations of the format naturally apply. These include short recording times, hamstrung editing opportunities and ailing support from vendors. If you're willing to overlook these substantial shortcomings, the DC310 remains a solid performer for the asking price.

The Canon DC310 records standard-definition video to 8cm DVDs, which are basically miniaturised versions of standard DVD discs. A dual-layer DVD-R disc can store up to 108min of video at the lowest setting. This compares favourably with MiniDV camcorders, but falls short of camcorders based on removable flash memory and hard disk drives. The market has well and truly shifted away from disc-based media, which means camcorders like these are in danger of becoming obsolete. This is something to be mindful of if you like to future-proof your products.

Apart from the ability to record video to DVD, the DC310's main selling point is probably its massive 41x optical zoom. This is quite impressive even for an entry-level camcorder, which typically have extra-powerful zooms. A 2000x digital zoom is also included, though this is basically unusable and is best ignored. Unfortunately, the lack of an optical image stabiliser may cause your footage to look quite shaky when zoomed out at the maximum setting. We therefore recommend getting in plenty of practice, or better yet invest in a tripod before committing video to disc.

Equipped with a single 1/6in CCD sensor with a maximum resolution of 1.07 megapixels, the DC310 is unable to compete with the latest high-def cameras — but for a sub-$500 camcorder, it performed quite well. Pictures remained sharp and reasonably vibrant in bright environments, with the CCD sensor capturing plenty of fine detail. The autofocus proved to be quick and reliable, which will be a big plus for first-time users.

Naturally, the camera's low-grade sensor struggled in dim lighting, returning poorly coloured, noise-filled results. The average user should be able to live with these shortcomings, as they won't be attempting to capture award-winning video. So long as you can see your sleeping baby (or whatever you happen to shoot at night), who cares if the footage is a bit grainy? If you agree with this sentiment, the DC310 should not disappoint.

Using the device is relatively straightforward, with Canon's tried-and-trusted directional stick employed for menu navigation. The range of manual options on offer is quite extensive, including 12 scene and effect modes, three AE Program modes, 11 separate exposure levels, adjustable white balance and manual focus, image quality adjustments and a built-in flash for still photography. The DC310 also comes equipped with a multimedia/SD/SDHC memory card slot, but this can only be used for capturing and storing photos.

As we mentioned earlier, one of the main caveats of the DVD camcorder format is the difficulties in editing your video. In the DC310's case, this problem is further exacerbated by its limited connectivity options. While we weren't expecting an external microphone jack or fancy HDMI port, the camera is equipped with just a single AV output. This could prove especially annoying if your computer lacks an inbuilt card reader because you will need to transfer your memory card to a digital still camera or other compatible device.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?