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I have got this camera over 1 year and a half ago from Pc-world. The thing is that I am very satisfied with it and I do not have a replacement for this sort of price because it was and is still the best good make camera that anybody can buy for around £275 now. It was a bit more when I bought it, but I am still looking and compare with what you can buy for this money.
The camera has two recording types: I on mini dv tape in mpeg2 compression format II on secure digital card (16mb) which can be upgraded
The Zoom of this camera also has two types: I --22X optical II --700x digital
Audio recording has two settings: I 8bit stereo II 16bit stereo (recommended)
Yes Very helpful especially for DIFFERENT types of movies. Some of my friends can tell you the benefit of good, lots of functions, light and easy to hide remote control :) .
The maximum photo resolution is 1024 x 768 pixels, is not the best one that I've seen but the overall result is quite all right.
Durability As you probably noticed in my previous reviews, I'm not the best at taking care of things, but in this more than 18 months that I had the MV630i I've done a few silly things like dropping it in sand while changing the mini dv tape, half a pint of beer over it, dropping it on the floor for several times, and many others…; but despite all this nasty accidents I only had to send it to service only once due to the reading heads failure, and it didn't cost me anything because it was still in the warranty period of course, but this is a normal thing I believe with all the dv cameras. So I do believe is a robust strong heavy-duty camcorder, so if you are a bit clumsy and do not want to spend a fortune, the MV630i should have part of your account number printed on the receipt.
Technical details? I won't give you too many technical details because you probably already know lots about it, but I'll give you a nice piece of advice that worth's a lot: Pay attention, because you can back up your hard drive periodically using this camera! Tech. Details: http://www.canon-europe.com/For_Home/Product_Finder/Camcorders/Digital/MV630i/index.asp?ComponentID=34283&SourcePageID=36717#1
The one catch in using MiniDV tape as a backup solution is compatibility. Computers are designed to recognize DV cameras as a video source, not as tape drives. You need software to make the connection. Firestreamer is the one reliable solution I've found for consistently backing up data to MiniDV tape and restoring from MiniDV tape. Firestreamer acts as a bridge between your DV camera and the Windows XP Backup software, so go on the internet and look for ''download software firestreamer'' and google or any other good search engine should find in a split of second a good couple of hundreds of link related to ''backing up pc on miniDV tape''
When backing up to MiniDV tape, make sure your DV camera is plugged into a power source (so the batteries don't die mid-backup). Connect the camera using the FireWire (IEEE-1394 or iLINK) connection. Insert a blank tape. Open Firestreamer and click Launch Backup Utility. If you backup to a DV tape previously used to record video, Firestreamer warns that it will prepare the media and erase anything on the tape. The rest is self explanatory and you can do it yourself. With other words that's the beauty of the MiniDV tapes, thinking that you can back-up up to 30Gb on one single tape, and it is also possible to automatically schedule the back-up without the users intervention.
The original battery lasts for a bit more than recording a full tape (62 minutes), using lots of zooming and stuff, but only if you do not use so much rewinding on the player mode. You can actually pick up a replica battery of 4200mAh for less than £40 which lasts you lasts say until you need to shave again. It lasts for quite a lot more than 9 tapes. I remember that I actually forgot my charger home in a vacation and I didn't miss it either using this 4200Mah battery.
In the box, you get 2 cd-s, one for windows and one for Mac. No Linux or any other os. The drivers are the only thing I installed myself, but there are lots of applications on the net, waiting for you to download them.
Handling and ease of use
Here Canon has an A+ because I personally always liked their menus. This one is not any different, lots of shortcuts and way to personalize your camera as start-up image sounds and the basic date-time-location-message. In the menu you'll find several light settings as well as the video formats, card mix effects and lots of special effects.
This camera does worth your attention, because first of all is cheap, has image stabilizer, a more than decent optical and digital zoom, you can take photos on the sd card, the rechargeable batteries are quite cheap and durable, has lots of features and if you can turn on and of your pc you can learn how to back it up with it too at a very low price of a couple of MiniDv tapes.