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Video quality and editing
We weren't expecting stellar image quality from a £200 camcorder with a 1/6in CCD. In bright sunlight, the MD160 provides heavily saturated colour, a common trait at this price point as consumers like their video to be colourful. The image was a little fuzzy, but noise was lower than is usually the case for a 1/6in CCD. Clearly, the DIGIC DV image processing was doing its job satisfactorily.
In lower light, noise did begin to be an issue, although the image was still reasonably sharp in adequate indoor illumination. But this quickly tailed off as the light levels were dropped. Where premium consumer models such as Canon's stunning HV20 can still maintain colour even with just a table lamp for illumination, the MD160's video became almost grey. The amount of video noise was nearly intolerable, and the camcorder even had problems focusing. So the MD160 would be perfectly adequate for capturing family moments outdoors and in a brightly lit room, but night shooting will be out of the question, unless you turn on the LED video light.
Being DV, the MD160 enjoys about the widest range of editing options currently available. Absolutely any editing app will cope with the footage. Canon provides the ubiquitous FireWire port, which has input enabled as well as output so you will be able to record your edits back to tape. A USB port is also available, and a minijack, which bundles audio and composite video - but output only. So you won't be able to use the MD160 to record your old VHS tapes to DV, which is a shame.
After the plethora of all-singing high definition camcorders we've seen over the last few months here at TrustedReviews, it would be very easy to look very poorly on the MD160's average image quality and mediocre range of features. But for £200 you can't expect a semi-pro's dream. This is not a camcorder for anyone hoping to shoot anything more than a few family moments. But for that purpose it does an adequate job, and at least it offers a reasonable set of manual controls and decent performance in adequate light. As a last gasp for DV, there are worse options around than Canon's MD160.
Scores In Detail
- Image Quality