Canon ES 290 Camcorder - Black/Silver

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"A Very Good Performer Indeed!"

Oct 5, 2002 (Updated Jul 13, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Battery Life:
  • Movie Quality:

Pros:The best effects. Reliable and easy to use. Best Ni-Cad battery ever!!

Cons:Charger is very unreliable.

The Bottom Line: The Canon offers better than average quality and ease of use at an outstanding entry level price!


It is October, 1999 and I'm in a desperate way! My RCA Pro-8 camcorder has been stolen, my Minolta VHS-C model is on the blink, and my son's playoff game is just a couple of days away! I am the football team's videographer. I have very little money. What am I to do? I don't really want to borrow my brother's full sized VHS model and I need to have my own cam anyway! Being aware of the fact that the "Great Pumpkin" is not likely to bring me one anytime soon, I head over to my favorite camcorder store. I have a plan!

I had been eyeballing the Canon ES290 8mm model for awhile and with $300 [my life's savings] in my pocket I'm ready for some major league haggling!

It struck me that maybe all that wasn't necessary as I pulled up to the front of the store. There, right on the store window was a copy of this week's flyer. The doggone thing was on sale for $269!!! As the Edwin Hawkins Singers would say..."Oh Happy Day"!

When the sale of this item to me was complete [about two minutes and thirty seconds later] I hurried home confident in my purchase as I had owned a Canon before and knew what to expect.

As I released the cam from its well-packed and attractively designed confines, I started to play! Three hours later I had all but completely mastered the contraption.

Now the first thing that struck me about the colorful packaging was its raving about a full 130 minute hybrid battery[BP-818]. This was great as I did not need to purchase a spare!

However, the battery charger is not cooperating as it works only sometimes. This is no big deal as I had just previously purchased a Radio Shack universal charger at the blowout price of thirty five bucks!

We're off to the field Saturday morning for the BIG GAME. The battery charges while I drive there! We get to the field early and the battery now has time enough to complete its charge.

The game begins and things are not going well for our team but the Canon is performing admirably with Auto Focus and Color Viewfinder working to perfection! I am perched on a hill behind one end zone as the action takes place down at the other.

The opponent is on the verge of scoring again and their quarterback drops back to pass! Out of nowhere, this little guy picks off the pass for our team and heads seventy four yards towards me! As he is being pursued by the opponent and is tackled, he dives over the goal line for a touchdown [the lad's father is already on the cell phone to his wife!] and our sideline is sent into a frenzy resembling a D-Day celebration!!

My son, Andy is bearhugging and parading the kid up and down the sideline and the celebration lasts a full five minutes! As a videographer, I live for moments like this! This kid was a nobody and now enjoyed his moment of glory! The Canon had captured it all beautifully!!


At this point let me say that I realize this review arrives very late but I am new to the site and there may be one of these fine babies available somewhere!


Needless to say we all watched the replay that night no less than thirty something times as "primetime tv" could not compete with our great hero's play and the victory itself!! It also gave me a good look at my new found love's performance!

The 8MM format is definitely better than the VHS although not quite on a par with digital.

Video playback quality was very good with good detail and only the slightest waviness as the line of scrimmage moved away from me.

Field Of Depth was good but was taxed as play drew near the opposite goal line.

The Flexizone AF/AE feature worked wonderfully and the picture remained in focus at all times.

White Balance was ok but not outstanding for I could see some red bias throughout the picture depending on the lighting.

The built-in Mic is excellent offering very wide frequency response-definitely one of the best I have ever heard!

The special effects were absolutely wild to say the least and alotta fun! "Mirror Image" is my favorite and I love the "Widescreen" mode!

My only reservation about this cam is with its supplied charger. I'm not saying that you can expect the same problem but I do have to question Canon's Quality Control on this gadget.

It does not require a rocket scientist to design a good basic charger as the circuitry is relatively simple! The Radio Shack model is of much better quality and offers flexibility in that virtually any make of Ni-Cad battery can be charged at home or in the car! The charger plugs right into the car's cigarette lighter!

I prefer to "charge" in the car as we must travel at least forty five minutes to the games. Obviously we arrive early and this extra time allows me to continue charging as I pick my spot!!

All in all this is a very good performer indeed and the buyer gets a bonus...a battery that lasts for well over two hours! Mine gives me two hours and twenty five minutes every time! It would be tough for me to fault this camera! After all, it captured SAM-PRO SPORTS' finest moment!-And dit it well! Bravo,Canon!

Thanks folks and stop by again!

Your humble servant...Peter


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 269
Recommended for: Home and Families - Keep Memories of Family Vacations


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