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Canon DC420

DVD camcorder with high-speed USB port

Item # 280DC420

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Our take on the Canon DC420

The DC420 faithfully captures your memories in sharp, clear video, thanks to an advanced image sensor and intelligent Canon processing. It records straight to mini DVD discs, so your home movies are available instantly for playback on most newer DVD players. And Canon's 16:9 recording mode produces crisp, detailed, wide-format home movies — great for folks who have a widescreen TV and want their videos to fit perfectly.


The DC420 faithfully captures your memories in sharp, clear video, thanks to an advanced image sensor and intelligent Canon processing. It records straight to mini DVD discs, so your home movies are available instantly for playback on most newer DVD players. And Canon's 16:9 recording mode produces crisp, detailed, wide-format home movies — great for folks who have a widescreen TV and want their videos to fit perfectly.

The powerful 37X optical zoom lens gives you a clear view of distant subjects, and it's enhanced with digital processing that allows zoom up to 48X with virtually no loss of image quality. Built-in image stabilization minimizes blurred footage that can result from a shaky hand. Compose your shots with the color viewfinder, or on the widescreen LCD. For more professional-looking footage, use the selectable level and grid markers on the LCD to frame your subject and keep your shot even with the horizon. A high-speed USB port on the cam lets you transfer your videos and photos to your PC for editing, easy sharing, and backup storage.

Product Highlights:

    Storage and Formats:
    • records video to mini DVD-Rs, DVD-RWs, and DVD-R DLs (Dual Layer)
      • one single-layer disc holds 20 minutes at HQ setting; 30 minutes at SP setting; 60 minutes at LP setting
    • records digital photos to optional SDHC memory cards
    • 1.07-megapixel CCD image sensor (710K effective pixels in 16:9 mode)
    • DIGIC DV II processing for accurate color reproduction
    • 37X optical zoom lens with Smooth Zoom Control (48X advanced zoom; 2000X digital zoom)
    • built-in mic with Dolby® Digital 2-channel audio
    • 2-11/16" widescreen LCD
    • color widescreen viewfinder
    • electronic image stabilization
    • LCD video light for shooting in low light conditions
    • Easy Mode for automatic shooting
    • selectable level and grid markers on the LCD
    • Program AE (Auto Exposure) settings, including Beach, Portrait, Snow, Sports, Spotlight, Night, Sunset, and Fireworks
    Connections and Dimensions:
    • high-speed USB port
    • audio/video output for connection to a TV
    • 2-11/16"W x 3-9/16"H x 4-7/8"D
    • weight: 14.9 oz. with battery
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
    Supplied Accessories:
    • AC adapter/charger
    • rechargeable lithium ion battery (NB-2LH)
    • audio/video and USB cables

    What's in the Box:

    • DVD digital camcorder with attached hand strap
    • NB-2LH Lithium-Ion battery pack (7.4V/720mAh)
    • CA-570S AC adapter with attached 5.5' DC output cable (8.4V/1.5A)
    • 5" AC cord
    • 5' A/V cable (3.5mm male minijack connector on one end and stereo RCA audio/RCA composite video on the other)
    • 4' USB cable (with Type-A USB on one end and Mini-B USB Ver.2.0 on the other end)
    • Plastic battery terminal cover
    • Instruction Manual (English/French/Spanish)
    • Product Registration card
    • Important Notice Regarding Finalizing Discs
    • Note concerning installing software before connecting USB

    Hands-on research

    Product Research

    General Features
    DVD Camcorder Features
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Battery Information
    Inputs and Outputs

    General Features

    2.7" Color LCD 16:9 Viewscreen: This unit features a 2.7" color TFT LCD 16:9 viewscreen with approximately 112,000 pixels. When the LCD screen is out, it can be rotated up to 270° (180° forward and 90° backward), allowing you to choose the best angle. You can also push the panel flat against the camcorder until it is flush with the side with the screen facing out. The LCD screen will present a mirror image when you have the LCD screen fully rotated 180° forward or you can choose the screen to display normally. You can adjust the brightness of the LCD screen as well as set the backlight to Normal or Bright. The LCD Viewscreen's frame features display and menu controls. In addition, the DC420's LCD Video Light feature allows you to use the LCD screen to give a soft, even light to a nearby subject (8"-2') when you're shooting in dark conditions.

    Color 16:9 Viewfinder: The camcorder has a 0.27" TFT color widescreen viewfinder with approximately 123,000 pixels. The viewfinder features a dioptric adjustment lever. The viewfinder turns on when the LCD monitor is closed.

    DIGIC DV II: DIGIC DV II is the next generation of Canon's exclusive DIGIC DV signal processing technology. Even though video and still images have different color requirements, DIGIC DV II digital signal processing ensures optimal image quality for both video and still images. Thanks to DIGIC DV II image processing, the DC420 produces video with improved color reproduction; especially in skin tones, and dark and light scenes. It also uses a hybrid noise reduction system that employs two types of noise reduction for images that are crystal clear.

    Image Sensor: The DC420 features a 1/6" (3mm) CCD imager with 1,070,000 gross pixels. The number of effective pixels are as follows:

    • 16:9 Movie Mode:
      • Advanced Zoom: 410,000 pixels (telephoto) and 710,000 pixels (wide-angle)
      • Optical Zoom: 550,000 pixels
    • 4:3 Movie Mode:
      • Advanced Zoom: 310,000 pixels (telephoto) and 690,000 pixels (wide-angle)
      • Optical Zoom: 690,000 pixels
    • Still Images (16:9): 600,000 pixels
    • Still Images (4:3): 800,000 pixels

    Optics: The DC420 features an f/2.0-5.2 Canon Video lens with 10 elements in 8 groups (1 double-sided aspheric element) and a 37x power optical zoom. The lens features high-quality glass with a unique, super spectra coating developed exclusively by Canon to reduce flare and ghosting for a clean image. Combined with the DC420's powerful 2,000x digital zoom, the lens gives an impressive range of focal lengths.

    Zoom Modes: The camcorder offer three types of zoom - Optical, Advanced and Digital zoom.

    • 37x Optical Zoom: The zoom range is limited to the optical magnification ratio of the lens which is 37x.
    • 48x Advanced Zoom: In addition to the optical zoom range, the camcorder processes the image digitally to obtain a larger zoom range without any deterioration in image quality.
    • 2000x Digital Zoom: When this option is selected, the camcorder will switch to digital zoom. With digital zoom the image is processed digitally so image quality will deteriorated the more you zoom in.

    Note: The zoom speed can be set to variable or one of three fixed speeds. In the variable position, the zoom speed depends on how far you push the lever. The purpose of the three fixed zoom speeds is a smoother zoom transition, at your choice of speeds.

    Image Stabilization:A high quality electronic image stabilization system corrects camera shake instantly, giving you smooth, stable pictures. It enables you to record shake-free images, even on long telephoto shots without a tripod.

    Focus Modes: The Canon DC420 features a Manual, Auto and Infinity Focus modes.

    • Manual Focus: With manual focus, you can manually adjust the focus of the camcorder using the touch panel. Manual focusing also allows you to control the focus in difficult situations where either the environment or the subject does not allow the camcorder's auto focus to perform optimally, such as when shooting through a window or in a crowded environment.
    • Auto Focus: Auto Intelligent Auto Focus ensures sharp images and gives creative flexibility. Even when your subject isn't in the center of the frame, the DC420's TTL Auto Focus will bring it into sharp focus.
    • Infinity Focus: Use this function when you wish to focus on faraway subject such as mountains or fireworks.

    Exposure Modes: The camcorder features the following Auto, Manual and Scene exposure modes.

    • Auto: In the Auto mode the camcorder adjust the focus, exposure and other settings automatically, allowing you to just point and shoot.
    • Program Modes: The Program mode gives you more flexibility over the Auto mode.
      • Program AE: The camcorder automatically adjusts the shutter speed and exposure according to the brightness of the subject. In Program AE, you can point and shoot as in Auto Mode, however, you have the option of changing some settings.
      • Shutter Priority AE Mode: You can select a shutter speed and the camcorder automatically sets a matching aperture setting. In camcorder mode you can select one of the following shutter speeds: 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/100, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 or 1/2000. In still picture mode you can select one of the following shutter speeds: 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/100, 1/250, or 1/500.
    • Scene Modes: The Scene modes record programs to match special conditions.
      • Portrait: Large aperture, achieving a focus on the subject while blurring other distracting details
      • Snow: For recording in bright snow scenes to prevent the subject from being underexposed
      • Spotlight: For recording spot lit scenes
      • Sports: Uses a fast shutter speed to record sports scenes
      • Beach: For recording on a sunny beach to prevent the subject from being underexposed
      • Fireworks: For recording fireworks (tripod recommended)
      • Night: Record in dimly lit places (1.7 lx)
      • Sunset: Record sunsets with vibrant colors
    • Manual Exposure: You can manually adjust the exposure in steps when a subject is underexposed or overexposed.

    Auto Slow Shutter: The camcorder automatically uses slow shutter speed to obtain brighter recordings in place with insufficient lighting. Minimum illumination for the DC420 is 6.5 lux with Auto Slow Shutter on. Recommended illumination is more than 100 lux.

    White Balance: The camcorder's auto white balance system compensates for a wide range of lighting conditions. The white balance can also be set manually or by using one of two preset modes; Daylight or Tungsten.

    Image Effects: The DC420 allows you to record with the following saturation and contrast color effects:

    • Vivid: Emphasizes the contrast and color saturation
    • Neutral: Tones down the contrast and color saturation
    • Soft Skin Detail:Softens the details in the skin tone area

    Digital Effects: You can select from the following digital effects:

    • Art: Adds a paint-like effect, called solarization, to the image
    • Black and White: Makes the image black and white
    • Sepia: Makes a monochrome image with a brownish tint
    • Mosaic: Blurs the image by enlarging the size of some pixels
    • Fade Trigger: begins or ends a scene with a fade from or to a black screen
    • Wipe: begins or ends a scene with a wipe of the scene from or to a black screen

    Level and Grid Markers: Level and well-composed shots are simple with the Level and Grid Marker features. Line up the horizon or other horizontal lines with the Level Marker in the viewfinder for level landscapes. Or, use the Grid Marker to help compose the perfect shot. Both markers can be set to white or gray for enhanced visibility, no matter what the background.

    Self Timer: The self timer is useful when you want to include yourself in the picture when recording movies or still photographs. The camcorder starts to record after a 10-second countdown period.

    Selectable Display Languages: The camcorder features 21 selectable display languages that include: English, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Arabic, Persian, Thai, Greek, Czech, Hungarian and Malay.

    Built-In Lens Cover: The camcorder features a manual built-in lens cover to protect the camcorder's lens when not in use.

    DVD Camcorder Features

    mini-DVD Format Video Recording: The DC420 camcorder records movies to single layer and dual layer 8cm DVD-R discs and single layer 8cm DVD-RW discs. The DVD recording format delivers digital video and sound quality comparable to that of Mini DV. Playback of the DVD media is simple and convenient. After finalizing the disc in the camcorder, the disc will playback in most DVD players and computers with DVD drives. The camcorder records in high-quality DVD-Video and DVD-VR formats (DVD-Video is MPEG-2; DVD-VR is a modification that works only with DVD-RWs and permits functions like playlists and editing). Still images cannot be stored on mini-DVD.

    Recording Time:You can choose from the following recording modes/times using a standard 1.4 GB blank disc: XP (20 minutes), SP (30 minutes) or LP (60 minutes). Using a dual-layer DVD-R disc will increase the time lengths to: XP (36 minutes), SP (54 minutes), LP (108 minutes).

    Recording ModeDVD-R, DVD-RW Disc (1.4 GB single sided)DVD-R DL Disc (2.6 GB single sided dual-layered)
    XP20 minutes36 minutes
    SP30 minutes54 minutes
    LP60 minutes108 minutes

    Widescreen HR Recording: The Canon DC420 use the entire width of the image sensor to capture your video in true 16:9 format. Because more pixels are captured, you get better image quality. The camcorders 0.27" viewfinder or 2.7" LCD screen lets you see exactly what you're recording and makes it easy to view your 4:3 or 16:9 video recordings during playback.

    Dolby Digital Stereo:To match the brilliance of its video image quality, the DC420 records audio with Dolby Digital Stereo. That ensures a complete movie theater experience in the comfort of your living room when viewing back your movies.

    Wind Screen: The camcorder has an automatic wind screen to prevent wind noise from interfering with the sound track. This feature can be turned off.

    Built-In Speaker: The camcorder plays the sound from your recorded video with a built-in monaural speaker. The sound will be muted when you close the LCD panel or connect the stereo video cable to the AV terminal.

    Record Review: When the camcorder is in record pause mode you can use record review to play back the last scene, then return to record pause. You can quickly make sure that a scene has recorded properly and then go on to shoot the next scene, without producing any noise in the picture. No sound is output during this function.

    Playback Modes: In addition to normal playback, the camcorder offers fast and slow playback modes in forward or reverse. The camcorder features a 5x to 15x fast forward/reverse speed and a 1/4x to 1/8x slow forward/reverse speed.

    Disc Title: Before finalizing your disc, you can give each disc a title up to 20 characters. The disc title will be displayed on the index screen when playing the finalized disc in most DVD players.

    Finalizing: In order to play back your recordings on DVD players or computers with DVD-ROM drives, you need to finalize the disc. Once a mini DVD-R is finalized, you cannot record on the disc again. You can however un-finalize a mini DVD-RW, allowing you to use it again for recording.

    Playlist: Playlists can be created on DVD-RW discs recorded by the camcorder in DVD-VR mode. By creating a Playlist, you can rearrange your recorded scenes without changing the original recording on the disc.

    Divide a Scene: You can divide a scene into multiple scenes, allowing more flexibility using a playlist. Dividing a scene in a playlist does not change the original recording. (compatible with DVD-RWs recorded in VR mode only)

    Delete Scenes: You can delete scenes you don't want to keep. Deleting a scene in a playlist does not change the original recording. (compatible with DVD-RWs recorded in VR mode only)

    Protect Your Disc: You can protect the whole disc to prevent the accidental erasure of important movie and image recordings.

    Digital Still Camera Features

    Digital Still Camera Format: The Canon DC420 miniDVD digital camcorder allows you to record digital photos in JPEG format with an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 4:3 on a Secure Digital (SD) Memory Card or a MultiMediaCard. In addition, the DC420 is SDHC compatible, which allows you to use cards with a capacity of up to 32GB. When recording still images to a memory card, you can select a still image size of 640 x 480 (Small), 1152 x 864 (Large), or 1152 x 648 (Large Wide). Additionally, you can select an image quality of Normal, Fine, or Superfine.

    Image SizeImage QualityNumber of images on Memory Card
    128 MB512 MB1 GB
    Large Wide
    Super Fine 245 970 1945
    Fine 360 1435 2875
    Normal 695 2745 4315
    Super Fine 185 735 1470
    Fine 280 1115 2235
    Normal 545 2155 4315
    Super Fine 585 2320 4645
    Fine 850 3355 6715
    Normal 1530 6040 12085

    Auto Focus Priority: When the auto focus priority is activated, the camcorder records a still image only after the focus has been adjust automatically. You can select from the following auto focus modes.

    • AiAF: Depending on the shooting conditions, one or more AF frames out of the nine frames available are automatically selected and the focus is fixed on them.

    • Center: The focus is automatically fixed to the center AF frame. This is convenient for making sure the focus is exactly where you want it. In this mode, a single focusing frame appears in the center of the screen.

    • Off: Select this option if you wish to record a still image as soon as you press the Photo button.

    Histogram Display: When viewing still images you can display the histogram and the icons of all the functions used at the time of the recording. Use the histogram as a reference to verify the correct exposure of the still image. The area to the right of the histogram represents highlights and the left side represents shadows. A still image whose histogram skews to the right is relatively bright, while one whose histogram peaks to the left is relatively dark.

    Viewing Still Images: There are 3 ways to view still images: Single image, Slide show (one after the other automatically in order of recording), or Index screen.

    Magnifying the Image: When viewing a still image, you can magnify it up to 5x the original size. You can then re-center the frame and magnify any part of the image.

    Image Jump: You can jump from the current image to another recorded image without displaying the images one by one. This feature allows you to skip 10 or 100 still images at a time.

    Protecting Photos: You can protect still images recorded on an optional memory card form accidental erasure.

    DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) Compliant: You can print images on the camcorder's memory card by inserting it into the memory card slot a printer compatible with DPOF. You can mark in advance the still images you want to print and set the desired number of copies as a print order.

    Battery Information

    Lithium-Ion Battery Pack: The Canon DC420 Mini DV camcorder features an NB-2LH rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery pack (7.4 volts/720 mAh). The camcorder can be powered with the battery pack or using the supplied compact power adapter. The battery pack is charged in approximately 135 minutes when mounted to the camcorder and the power adapter is plugged into the camcorder and an AC wall outlet. The supplied NP-2LH battery features the following recording and playback times:

    Recording ModeRecording Time (minutes)Playback Time
    LCD 11565
    LCD 13570
    LCD 14070

    * Typical recording times are measured with repeated operations such as start/stop, zooming, and power on/off.

    Optional Battery: The optional BP-2L14 Lithium-Ion battery (280BP2L14) gives you extra recording and playback life. The BP-2L14 charges in the camcorder in 240 minutes. The 7.4 volts/1450 mAh battery has the following recording and playback times:

    Recording ModeRecording Time (minutes)Playback Time
    LCD 245130
    LCD 280145
    LCD 295145

    Backup: The camcorder has a built-in rechargeable lithium battery to retain date/time and other settings. This battery is recharged while the camcorder is in use. If the camcorder is not used for about 3 months, the battery will become totally discharged. In such case, the battery can be recharged by connecting the camcorder to the AC power adapter.

    Power Save: In order to save power when the camcorder is powered by the battery pack it will automatically shut off if left without any operation for five minutes.

    Quick Start: With the Quick Start feature, you simply push the Quick Start button to put the camcorder in stand-by mode. Then, with the camcorder in stand-by mode, you can simply push it again and the camcorder begins to record in less than a second. With Quick Start, it's easy to capture the spontaneous and surprising moments. It also saves battery power so you get more recording between charges.

    Inputs and Outputs

    AV Out: This camcorder features a 3.5mmAudio/Video connection for use with the supplied A/V connecting cable for displaying the camcorder's contents on your television. You can change the aspect ratio of the camcorder's video output from 16:9 or 4:3 according to the screen aspect ratio of the TV you will view your video or images on. You can choose to view the camcorder's on-screen displays on your TV or monitor when you have the camcorder connected to your TV or monitor. The supplied A/V cable has a 3.5 miniplug on one end and male stereo RCA audio and RCA composite video connections on the other end.

    USB: The DC420 is equipped with a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed terminal for fast and easy transfer of full quality digital video to a computer. With the USB terminal, you can also process and organize still images on your PC, or bypass your PC and print directly to a compatible Canon printer or to a PictBridge-compatible printer of any brand.

    Memory Card Slot: The camcorder can take, store and manage still images on 2 types of memory cards: SD Memory Card (including new high-capacity SDHC cards), or MultiMediaCard. A memory card is not included with the camcorder.

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