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Review #4
updated April 14, 2002

Photo Canons ZR50MC
Canon's ZR50MC

$899.99 US and $1427.99

 Canon has done it again with a new line of ZR DV camcorders. with there ever so popular ZR 10 thu to 30 Canon introduces ZR 40, ZR 45 and the ZR50 there new line which replaces the old. One remarkable improvement is the 22x optical zoom where in the older ZR's there was a 10x optical. Canon has been offering this series of DV camcorders for both windows and Macintosh users.

What the ZR50MC Offers

This is a must have DV camcorder for the home film maker. For a 1 CCD camcorder it is able to reproduce color on tape excellently. An 8 MB memory modular provides still capturing of images at a resolution of 640x480. These images at best work well for web pages or sending out as email photos, but it wont be as good as it would be from a dedicated still camera. In standard mode you can record up to 105 JPEG and in fine mode up to 60 still images. A button near the eye piece is for capturing stills. In the mode you are informed that capture is going to be stored on a memory card and gives you the estimated shots remaining.

Lens and Zoom

Olympus was first to offer a 2.8 f- stop lens for greater exposure. Canon has offered this excellent feature on this ZR model which offered a greater and wider focal range than before. Previous models have offered a 10x optical zoom and now you get a 22x optical zoom which offers a focal range of 2.8mm to 61.6 mm at its longest telephoto position. This is the equivalent of a 48 mm to 1065 mm zoom on a 35 meter format camera.

LCD Screen

For the compactness of the camcorder Canon offers a 2.5 inch color LCD screen. Still I wish they would make a three inch LCD screen which is easier to view in the day light. The LCD screen can rotate a full 180 degrees which helps when monitoring for self portraits and filming from the front. It also flips down 90 degree for your head shots.The eye viewer also houses a smaller sized color LCD screen which has a resolution of 112,000 pixels for good quality work.

Controls, Modes, and Buttons

A real big improvement from the first ZR camcorder is lighted control buttons. To make matters even better six different colors are offered to hi-light those buttons. You are offered Green, Orange, Blue, Yellow, Turquoise and Purple for the best lighting of those buttons. Mode functions are accessible from a rotating dial which opens up a menu. This set up the camcorder to allow for different shooting conditions. Several modes are as follows: Auto - is the default mode which shoots for every day general., Sports - is used for a faster shutter speed and allows for action shots like speed racing, Portrait - Just like it sounds this is used for filming people. This separates your background from the people being filmed, Spotlight - Works to compensate for dark backgrounds when filming people or objects, Sand and Snow - Used when filming subject in very bright light conditions, Low Light and Night - Is used when filming people or objects in the dark of night. An easy camcorder to use function which make sense..


A remote control for those who want to take self portraits. Or don't have anyone to operate the camera.

Special Effects

What is a camcorder without special effect and Canon offers a multi- function fader, which will fade from black or white. Vertical and horizontal wipe. Other effects includes: Art, Black and White, Sepia, and Mosaic.


Compatible with the Windows and Apple operating systems and have a USB port.

The ZR40

The ZR40 has the similar features to the SR50 except that it has no digital still and comes with a smaller 18x optical zoom.

Draw Backs

Draw backs to this model is that the rechargeable battery has to be in the camera in order to do so. Other wise you need to purchase a separate unit for charging out side of the camera. If your camcorder is mounted on a tripod - pod you can not reload a new tape with out first removing the camcorder from the tripod - pod. This has been a problem with all of the ZR series and it does not seem to bother Canon enough to want to fix them.


Canon has been very successful with the full line of ZR camcorders. Each model has included or made better features from older ZR camcorders. Even with the charging and inserting a new tape while on a tripod. This is an excellent camcorder and if your in the market it is easy to learn and use. For the money this is an excellent valued camcorder. Premiere LE by Adobe helps you create sound on sound picture ready films. With your final editing Adobes LE or better yet upgrading to the full version will prepare your final product for burning to a DVD.


High Lights

  • Improved 28 optical 2x digital for excellent close up shots
  • Separate Memory Module: An 8MB MMC is provided to capture good quality 640x480 stills. 105 JPEG in standard and 60 in fine mode.
  • Has a variable speeds zoom
  • The filter diameter is 30.5mm
  • A 0.44 in color LCD viewfinder ( 113k pixels)
  • A 2.5 in diameter LCD 112k pixels. which flips out from camera side.Is able to flip 180 degrees for front monitor use when using the remote. Also flips down 90 degrees.
  • Maximum closeup 1/2 in
  • Fade from black or into black. Also offers a vertical wipe, and a horizontal wipe, and the almost standard mosaic.
  • There is a DV port and a USB port for transferring of stills to a computer.
  • An external jack for a mic and a jack for an earphone.
  • Offers an in / out A/V for composite video and S-video / audio
  • Programmable modes include: Easy, Auto, Sports, Portrait, Spotlight, Sand, Snow, and Low Night light.
  • In the manual mode:White Balance, Focus, Exposure ( AE shift from -2 to +2), Shutter Speed which is selectable from 1/60th second to 1/8,000 second in Video mode and in Card mode is 1/60 th second to 1/250 second.
  • Image Stabilization
  • External Edit Control is LANC.
  • A Record Review is available
  • The Digital Features offers some neat stuff like: Digital effects - Art, B&W, Sepia, Mosaic, 16:9 Wide screen, Still Capture from Tape, Chroma or Card Lumi, and Camera Chroma.
  • Minimum Illumination of 0.5 lux
  • Offers excellent color reproduction.
  • Comes with a 1 year warranty
  • Is compatible with the Windows and Apple operating systems
  • Progressive scan capture.
  • Sells for under $1000.00 in the US and under $2000.00 in Canada.



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