Canon includes a decent array of controls and features for a midlevel camcorder. You can choose from program, shutter-priority or night exposure modes, and there are four white balance settings, including evaluative.
We were impressed with the DC220's long 35x optical zoom lens as well as with the camera's electronic image stabilisation, which remained effective out to about 85 per cent of the zoom range. That's quite good for such a long zoom. Plus, if you have a hard time keeping those variable-speed zoom rockers moving smoothly, the DC220 includes three constant zoom speeds.
That brings us to the DC220's biggest weakness: its 680,000-pixel CCD sensor. Right now, as a general rule of thumb, it's best to try to find a camcorder with at least a 1-megapixel sensor if you can. While video from the DC220 had respectably accurate colour reproduction, and the camera's autofocus system does an admirable job of quickly locking on your subject and adjusting to scene changes, the footage we shot lacked the extra sharpness we're used to getting from megapixel-plus cameras.
That said, it did a fine job for a 680K-pixel model. Though, as we've come to expect, Canon's night mode doesn't help capture decent footage in very dark situations. Sony's NightShot mode, while monochrome, yields much more useable footage in extremely dark environments. In our tests, the camcorder also had a hard time focusing in very dim light.
If you're looking for a relatively inexpensive DVD-based camcorder and you don't expect to shoot in dim lighting much, the DC220 is pretty safe choice. Of course, as we mentioned earlier, if the DC220's added features don't make a difference to you, you can save a bit of cash with the . If you'd like to step up to a DVD-based camcorder with a greater pixel count, Canon offers the , which sports a 1.07-megapixel CCD.
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday