The Canon ZR10 is a miniDV video camera designed for the prosumer market. The camera uses a digital format that reaches above 500 horizontal lines of resolution.

  • Records in MiniDV format
  • Digital image stabilization for reduced movie shakiness
  • Captures digital stills
  • 10x optical, 200x digital zoom Canon lens
  • 2.5-inch color swivel LCD monitor
  • Widescreen recording for 16:9 display use

The ZR10 has a fold out 2½” LCD panel which exposes addition controls. The camera has some rudimentary editing capability built in.  Using a second camera with IEEE 1394 its possible to do more sophisticated editing.

The ZR10 is slightly larger than a bulky wallet; it fits the hand solidly and naturally. The controls are well placed to take shots as desired.

One feature a prosumer will like is the ability to use a boom microphone for detailed sound stage use. The shoe on the top of the camera can mount a directional microphone.

Consumers will like the dynamic image stabilization which can level out the quality of using the camera in the hand. The camera works best with a tripod naturally.

The camera makes dual use of video playback controls to disable auto-focus and auto-exposure, with a wheel control located on the camera’s lower left for manual adjustments.

Novices will appreciate the ZR10’s Easy Recording button, which switches all relevant options into auto mode. There are also five auto-program modes, as well as complete manual controls over white balance, exposure, shutter speed, iris, and focus.

The camera can do still images but the quality of them is well below the capabilities of a dedicated digital still camera. Consider the ZR10 to be a video camera and frame accurate VCR only.

The camera is at its best using the digital video and exporting it with Firewire. The camera uses the smaller connector which is under the Canon logo on the front of the camera at the bottom. Using the Firewire connector allows the ZR10 to act like a professional digital recording deck. The DV format is natively digital so copying it to the computer does not degrade the image quality at all.

Adobe Premiere etc. are able to import video from the tape to a PC. It can also print video back to the tape or it can be mastered for DVD distribution. The video quality from the ZR10 is quite adequate for professional DVD distribution.


Avid is the professional software used with the broadcast industry.  The Canon ZR10 with a Firewire connection works well for a student who wants to learn how to use professional systems work.


The industry largely uses 60 minute tape that tend to actually be 61 or 62 minutes of actual capacity. The standard does allow for 80 minute tapes but those are not generally available.

Importing the entire MiniDV tape will take about 15GB of storage for a conventional 60 minute tape. Its advisable to have several hard disks installed as the DV format video is rather demanding. Fast disks are a important and having lots of RAM installed is helpful too.

External disks with IEEE1394 ports and USB ports are available which can be used for importing video and editing.


The camera has an easy to replace battery. There is a car charger and there is also wall charger for the battery which makes it easy to use 2 or more batteries for heavy use.

The BP-511 battery is 1100mAh which is adequate for most uses. The 3000mAh BP-522 is an option for those who intend to shoot a lot of tape in the field.


Canon has the TL-46 tele-converter which expands the telephoto capability. The WD-46 wide-converter is helpful for wide angle shots. The SR-30.5/46 step-up ring is needed.


The tape deck needs to be kept clean, and a cleaning tape is essential to maintain the best quality. Some tapes are bad for leaving lubricant residues and this can be worse when multiple brands of tape are used. Here are some known cleaning tape part numbers.

  • Sony DVM4CLD2
  • Sony DVM12CLD
  • Panasonic AY-DVMCLN
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