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Snag a Canon MiniDV camcorder for $134.99

The Canon-recertified ZR830 is a well-equipped entry-level model with an impressive optical zoom (35x). It's perfect for weekend videographers.


New baby in the house? Old camcorder on its last legs? Here's your chance to score some MiniDV goodness for a song: eCost has the Canon ZR830 camcorder for $134.99. It's a Canon-recertified model with a 90-day warranty, and you'll pay a few bucks for shipping, but at least there's no rebate.

An entry-level camcorder, the ZR830 combines a 1/6-inch CCD (bigger is better, and that's on the small side) with an unusually long optical zoom (35x!) and a widescreen LCD. It includes a handful of program modes for various shooting conditions (snow, sunset, fireworks, etc.) and can capture low-resolution still photos. Just make sure your PC has a FireWire port so you can import your video for editing. (Lots of users mistakenly assume you can do this via USB, but most MiniDV camcorders require FireWire.)

CNET's 6.6/10 rating for the ZR830 reflects the camera's poor low-light performance and lack of an accessory shoe and microphone input--all typical for models in this price range. But if you're shooting in well-lit environments and have only weekend-videography needs, you'll probably be quite pleased with the ZR830's performance.