Although it's hardly the polar opposite, the Canon DC100 DVD camcorder is a very different beast from the Canon DC40 that I like so much. In addition to the obvious dissimilarities--the DC100's longer 25X zoom lens, lower-resolution 680,000-pixel sensor, and slightly flimsier-feeling body--Canon cut corners in some subtle but noticeable ways as well. Toss in its middling video, and the DC100 delivers a much less pleasant shooting experience--just like all its budget DVD competitors. Only its handful of semimanual exposure controls and surprisingly fast focus provide notable bright spots.
Light for a camcorder at just a hair over a pound, the DC100 fits comfortably into medium-size hands, with thumb and forefinger falling naturally into position atop the most important controls.
Canon's budget cuts in the design include an uncovered DC-input jack, a manually operated built-in lens cover, and a smooth plastic grip strip atop the drive, rather than a rubberized one. It also lacks a video light. However, in addition to the handful of scene modes, the DC100 also includes shutter- and aperture-priority modes--they're a rarity in this price class.