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Hitachi DZ-GX3300E review: Hitachi DZ-GX3300E

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The Good One-second recording from sleep mode. Smart look and feel. Nice LCD for playback.

The Bad Average CCD. Electronic image stabilisation. No headphone jack and LCD covers speaker.

The Bottom Line This camera provides an acceptable image most consumers will be pleased with, but its strength is when it's coupled with DVD-RAM and able to record over and over again, with the convenience of accessing footage and stills instantly.

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7.1 Overall

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DVD camcorders have a reputation for being sluggish starters - something Hitachi is tackling with its DZ-GX3300E and the promise of just a one-second start-up from sleep mode before recording.

Improvements like these are making these devices a more useful proposition - more camera, less toy. So let's consider what the DZ-GX3300E offers in the image stakes.

For starters there's the 3.3 megapixel CCD - that's a 1/3 inch interlaced chip with 2.1 megapixels available for moving images and 1.6 reserved for stills (stored on SD card or DVD-RAM, but we'll get to that in a moment).

There's a digital zoom, but for quality's sake it's the 10 x optical zoom that's of more interest. The camera also has a built-in flash and an electronic image stabiliser - alas advanced users tend to prefer the optical variety for preservation of image quality.

The ideal consumer camera is one that handles a broad range of recording situations without the operators seeking manual controls (although some will, anyway). This reviewer found the autofocus struggled more in low light than some cameras, which prompted a search for manual focus.

On the upside, the necessary buttons are more accessible that those with on-screen menus, but less comfortable and you must push for a few seconds as the camera is not immediately responsive for this sort of fine-tuning.

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