- Slim frame, good quality video, big zoom, increased battery capacity
- Computer kit only transfers images, light not powerful enough, still pictures of poor quality
Good video quality with a price premium over similar Canon models for greater battery capacity and analogue inputs.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
The sub $1000 camcorder market is still primarily the domain of Mini DV tapes. While a few manufacturers have managed to bring out well priced DVD video cameras, these are still fairly rare. Canon has wisely taken heed of budgetary concerns and produced a whole range of reasonably priced DV cameras, the MV960 being at the upper end of these lower priced offerings.
At first glance we couldn't tell the difference between the MV960 and the less expensive MV940. They are in fact virtually identical; with the one obvious difference being a small LED sitting snugly on the front of the camera. The MV960's other differences are a higher powered battery and a built-in analogue converter. Sharing many of the characteristics of the MV940 is certainly not a bad thing, as we felt it was a very good camera. Canon has got the aesthetics spot on with this range. They are lightweight, small and easy to hold while still retaining attractive features such as a 2.7 inch widescreen LCD.
Other similarities include the good video quality and wide range of features. Picture quality, while not being the best we have seen, is still crisp, sharp and colourful. Canon's standard range of special effects makes a welcome return with all the bells and whistles that you could possibly imagine. Spinning 3D effects? Check. Laser beams? Check. Ripple? Check. This is on top of all the standard options such as colour filters and sepia modes. The excellent zoom from the MV940 is also included on the MV960, with a high speed motor and large 25x optical range.
Unfortunately, it's not just the good points that have been replicated. Once again we were mystified by the camera's poor still image performance. With a paltry 0.7 megapixel sensor we wonder why Canon has bothered including the ability at all. The resulting pictures are of such poor resolution that even a 6x4 print created from these images won't look very good. Don't get confused too by the packaging that highlights the computer kit with software and a USB cable. It's for transferring images only, not video. To transfer video it's necessary to purchase an extra cable and use a FireWire connection should your PC support it.
The MV960 does have a few additional tricks up its sleeve though. The inclusion of a light is a nice idea, though really there's only so much you can expect from one LED. In this case, the result is of such low power that it is only useful if your subject is less than 1m away. We appreciated the inclusion of a more powerful battery which adds approximately half an hour of extra recording time, an increase of a third over the MV940. The final inclusion is the ability to input analogue sources to the camera and have it convert them to digital. Canon suggests VCRs, TVs and older camcorders as possible inputs.
The MV960 offers good quality video on Mini DV, and for a premium over the MV940 provides additional battery life, analogue input and a LED light.
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