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Random and easy: Canon DC20

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, DVD camcorders not tied up with tape, these are a few of my favorite things

The packaging on the DC20 describes this camcorder as 'RANDOM & EASY'. Sort of like a dice-living Valley girl? Canon's marketing department is definitely onto a winner with tag-lines like this.

Named after the famous Boeing commercial aeroplanes, Canon's DC range are DVD camcorders that can record the antics of your funny-looking family direct to DVD. We've been playing with the DC20 this morning.

Where older video cameras demand that you fiddle around with tapes, these new DVD camcorders produce a disc you can stick straight into a normal DVD player. You won't have to contend with accidental mummification in reams of magnetic spool -- there's no way a DVD can wrap itself around you like a tape might have.

The DC20 uses a 2-megapixel, 1/3.9-inch CCD to capture video. There's also something Canon is calling 'Advanced photo functionality', which seems to basically entail a decent built-in flash and PictBridge direct print. The camcorder also captures in widescreen at 16:9. Other tasty features include the 10x optical zoom, an electronic image stabiliser and a mini video light.

Available now for around £450, the DC20 suffered our cursory tests well. Live in fear of a full review soon. -CS

Update: a full review of the Canon DC20 is now live.