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Hitachi DZ-GX3200A review: Hitachi DZ-GX3200A

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The Good Decent low-light video quality; solid battery life; in-camera editing.

The Bad Hidden touch-sensitive controls; poor auto white balance for stills.

The Bottom Line Hitachi's DZ-GX3200A delivers decent video quality at a relatively inexpensive price for a DVD camcorder.

6.6 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 8
  • Image quality 6

As the little sibling of Hitachi's DZ-GX3300A, the DZ-GX3200A serves up an almost identical feature set and similarly pleasing performance, including better than average low-light performance. The main difference between the two is CCD sensors-- the DZ-3300A has a 3-megapixel sensor, while the DZ-3200A captures images with a 2-megapixel sensor.

This difference in sensors ends up affecting still images more noticeably than it does video. Since it can capture only 2-megapixel stills, prints from the Hitachi DZ-3200A won't be as sharp as those from the DZ-3300A, even at standard 4x6-inch snapshot size. Video, while only slightly less sharp, is still very pleasing.

Like the DZ-GX3300A, the DZ-GX3200A carries over the design of last year's Hitachi DZ-GX20A. The downside to that is the handful of touch-sensitive buttons hidden behind the 2.7-inch wide-screen LCD. Since they're mounted flush on the camera's body, the buttons are hard to tell apart by touch alone and difficult to use while shooting. Most other controls are well placed, and the menus are intuitive and easy to navigate.

The DZ-GX3200A accepts four varieties of 3-inch DVD discs: write-once DVD-R and rewriteable DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM. It records video in MPEG-2 compression to allow 18 to 60 minutes of footage per side, depending on what quality level you choose. The camcorder packs a 1/3.6-inch, 2.1-megapixel CCD sensor. Though it uses 2 megapixels to capture stills, it uses only 1.2 megapixels for video.

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