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Canon updates ZR camcorder line

Canon updates ZR camcorder line

Canon has updated its budget-priced ZR line of MiniDV camcorders. The $299 ZR500, the $349 ZR600, and the $399 ZR700 will hit store shelves at the end of January 2006. Slightly smaller and lighter than last year's ZRs, the new models are distinguished by their blue, silver, and gray finishes. All of them sport 25X zoom lenses and offer a shooting mode that Canon has dubbed Widescreen HR, which uses a wider area of the CCD to improve image quality when you're shooting with a wide-screen aspect ratio. The camcorders themselves have 2.7-inch wide-screen LCDs to aid wide-screen composition. Other notable features include three selectable zoom speeds, onscreen composition aids for aligning shots, and in the ZR700, a built-in video light and analog-to-digital conversion. The ZR600 and ZR700 offer SD slots for saving still images to a memory card, along with a decent selection of photo-related features. All of that sounds good, but here's what I really like about the new ZRs: built-in lens covers that replace those annoying plastic caps.