- Crisp images, better than most DVD camcorders, good stills
- Over-exposed images, poor battery life
The DC40 is an excellent DVD video camera.
Price$ 1,699.00 (AUD)
Canon's DC40 is the company's top of the range DVD camcorder. As such it offers a good range of features and decent quality video to boot. The let downs come in the form of occasionally blurry stills, the lack of a microphone jack and a tendency to over-expose bright areas, but as far as DVD camcorders go, this is one of the best on the market.
Here at the GoodGearGuide we're not huge fans of DVD camcorders. They're certainly easy to use, but they do seem more prone to image problems than other formats. However, some people love them, so we're always on the lookout for models that are worthy of your hard earned cash. With the DC40 we think Canon is on to a winner. Some DVD irritations are unlikely to be fixed, such as the paltry 20 minutes recording time for each disc, but most of the problems we associate with DVD camcorders are dealt with pretty neatly here.
The most important feature of any camcorder is the video quality. With the DC40 Canon has done a pretty good job, and while it still falls short of the best Mini DV camcorders, it's decent enough. We usually expect to be bombarded with image aberrations such as compression mosaics and ghosting when looking at DVD camcorders, but these were nowhere to be seen here. Colours were bright and accurate with excellent contrast and minimal stuttering. Our main qualm with the footage was an occasional tendency to over-expose bright areas, especially white.
The good video performance also crossed over into our low light tests. We were very surprised to see how well the DC40 picked up details in a darkened room, with bright colours still showing through. The footage was a good deal grainier than in bright light, but we can't expect miracles. Should you wish to film in complete darkness then it's possible to use the handy built-in light. This single LED is blindingly bright, and illuminates roughly 2m in front of the camera, though the further away from the subject, the grainier the footage. There is also the option to turn on a slow shutter mode, which greatly enhances low light footage without the need for the LED, but it also makes the picture so jerky as to be almost unusable.
One area in which most camcorders fail is still images. Although the implementation on the DC40 isn't perfect, we were very impressed. The 4 megapixel images look crisp and sharp with excellent colours. However, we did notice the same tendency to over expose white areas as we saw in video mode. Shooting in anything less than perfect light was also not up to scratch, with several of our shots coming out blurred. This was only apparent in shots taken indoors at close range but was annoying nonetheless.
A full range of manual options are included with white balance, exposure, focusing, aperture and shutter priority modes, and these are all supported for both still images and videos. For the less ambitious photographer, preset modes such as sport, portraits, landscape and the like are offered. A flash is also included. Canon has decided to include a mini-SD card slot as opposed to the more popular SD. As a card isn't included you'll have to purchase one if you want to take any still photos, adding a little to the cost of the package. Transferring videos and images to a PC for editing is simple, as both can be copied over easily using the bundled USB cable. This is in addition to the convenience of dragging video files directly from the DVD.
When it comes to using the camera, Canon has done a fairly good job at making the DC40 intuitive, though it could do with a few improvements. Most of the controls are easily accessible with one hand when holding the camera, though placing the multi-directional toggle on the side of the camera seems an odd move and isn't helpful. The main modes such as automatic and shutter priority are all accessed from a still camera-style control wheel which is good for anyone who's had experience with an SLR or advanced digital camera. The 2.7in widescreen LCD is standard for this kind of camcorder and does a good enough job. It's also clearly visible in sunlight, and a small backup viewfinder is also present.
The build quality of the unit is excellent, with a tough feel that inspires confidence. In fact it's almost too good, as the DC40 is built like a tank, and at 480g it weighs a fair bit more than other camcorders we've looked at recently. The 10x zoom lens is about average, and scans back and forth quickly. When it comes to finalising discs (a necessary step before the DVD can be played back outside the camcorder) Canon has done a good job at simplifying the process, with a clearly marked "finalise" button sitting on the side. We were slightly surprised to see that our five minute film took seven minutes to finalise though. One final feature, or lack thereof, is the omission of a microphone jack. Battery life is on the short side, at a fairly disappointing 40 minutes of recording.
Overall the DC40 is a good buy for the user who is a fan of DVD camcorders. It offers good quality video and stills, a full range of features and solid construction. It won't convince the Mini DV faithful to convert but it's a step in the right direction.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 2 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 5 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
- New IoT malware targets 100,000 IP cameras via known flaw
- Facebook launches tool for capturing 360 video inside VR
- Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro finally adds 4K video support for local files
PCW Evaluation Team
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
- Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- GAMOSPHERE: Your August Roundup of Gaming News
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTPMO AnalystOther
- FTTechnical Business AnalystOther
- FTPMO Project Coordinator, TelcoNSW
- CCSenior Solution ArchitectNSW
- CCOffice Administration - TelcoVIC
- FTSenior Solutions ArchitectOther
- FTTechnical/ Architecture Java LeadVIC
- FTVCE EngineerOther
- FTJunior Windows System AdministratorACT
- TPRe-released - ICT Procurement Planner and Contract SpecialistQLD
- FTTechnical/ Architecture Java Lead - Move to MelbourneNSW
- CCSoftware EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Project Analyst - Multiple RolesOther
- CCBusiness Analyst - SalesforceVIC
- FTOSS ArchitectOther
- FTDocument Project Coordinator, TelcoNSW
- FTManager SecurityOther
- FTProduct OwnerOther
- FTInformation Security Accreditations AdvisorOther
- CCJunior - Mid-level DevOps Consultant - BrisbaneNSW
- FTLinux Engineer - NV1VIC
- CCSenior Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) DeveloperACT
- FTDigital Marketing Manager | Initial 6 Month ContractOther
- CCWorkday ConsultantVIC
- TPProgram Change Co-ordinatorQLD