Pros: Quality, great picture&audio, long recording, fast rewinding, easy to dub copies, Low Light Capability
Cons: No stereo sound - can be made to output two channel mono with adapter
I recently purchased the Canon ES8600 Camcorder.
What made me decide on purchasing a Hi8 vs a
Digital Camcorder was
- low lux capability
- 22X Optical Zoom Lens
- 2 hrs recording on a single tape
First out of the box impression was very good
build quality. This camera feels good, looks
very durable and has quality feel to it.
Soon I was outside at dusk and began shooting
video. When I played it back I was surprised
at the low light ability. Later I took it to
Christmas Town USA here in NC for video taping
the Christmas lights there. Absolutely fantastic.
I am more than satisfied with the ES8600 low
light performance. In a room lit with a 60 watt
bulb, shooting video is no problem at all with
no grainy pictures. Lux rating is .21 .
Gotta love that zoom. This can make all the
difference in the world. 22X optical zoom is
the minimum I would consider after shooting some
The ES8600 has many shooting modes. Automatic,
flexzone, Sports, Snow and Sand, Spotlight and
Portrait. Flexzone is really nice as it lets
you choose an area to be properly exposed and
focused. If your target object moves, just pan the
camera so the box surrounds your subject and you are
all set. In addition to the preprogrammed modes
you can also manually lock in exposure and manually
adjust focus as well. You can't go wrong with focus
and exposure for your lighting situation. It also
has image stabilization and a time base corrector.
The Es8600 has many digital effects including
Art - Adds paint like effect called solarization
to the image
Black and White
Sepia - adds a monochrome image with a sepia tint
Mirror - Image will be as if you placed a mirror
in the middle of the screen
Mosaic - image is made up of noticeable squares
giving a mosaic like effect.
16:9 image format for widescreen tv's
Cinema - letterbox effect
Strobe - strobing effect of image recording
Ghost - adds increasingly transparent blurs
around moving subject giving a ghostly
fade in effect
fade out effect
The audio is mono, but I was more than pleased
with the ES8600 ability to pick up very clear
sound from a good distance away from the mic.
I couldn't hear any motor noise when everything
was real quiet. I did buy a mono splitter at Radio
Shack which enables you to adapt it to a stereo
plug in. It may not be stereo, but it certainly
a very quality sound.
The supplied battery is sparse as expected, lasting
me about 75 minutes. I bought a couple spares on ebay
for a very reasonable amount. The ES8600 has a built
in charger and charging is very easy to do. The
charging LED blinks a certain number of times for
each level of charging achieved. With a steady light
for complete charging.
The ES8600 comes with a video dubbing cord ( which I
attached a mono to stereo adapter 3.99 at the Shack),
a 90 minute battery and a charger/ AC adapter. The
only cable missing is S-Video. I have not gotten
one of these yet.
This camcorder will automatically detect the type
of tape you are using, be it Metal Particle or
the more expensive evaporated metal type. The evaporated
metal type should be less abrasive and offers a better
medium to store your video on. Using Evaporated metal
tape I noticed no dropouts whatsoever with a very
high quality picture. I use Sony tape.
I read many reviews on digital camcorders both
consumer and professional. Two things stuck out.
One being that many consumers didn't like the
low light capability of various brands of digital
camcorders. The second was one professional reviewer
stated that digital camcorders are cheaper to build
than analog. that did it for me. Hi8 with the sony
evaporated metal tape produces excellent video.
One final word is that a UV haze filter was also
bought to protect the camera lens from damage.
If you have a camcorder I recommend you get one.
They are very reasonable and you will never worry
about your camcorders lens.
A very easy to read and use owners manual.
Canon 1 year parts and labor warranty.
Bought at Circuit City for a mere $199. Positively
best bang for the buck.....