Canon ZR50MC, $899
Pros: Three shooting modes include video, digital, and progressive photo — the last designed for crisper still shots. Great zoom at 22X.
Cons: No MPEG capability, although you can transfer files to a digital video-ready computer through the built-in analog-to-digital converter.
Bottom line: Others may have more digital bells and whistles, but at this price it’s a nice first step up from analog.
Panasonic Palmcorder Multicam PV-VM202, coming spring 2002, $2,299.95
Pros: This loaded, top-of-the-line camera does double duty as a digital video camcorder and 1-megapixel still camera. Includes MPEG-4 capabilities for transfer to the Web, and it captures four-color video in very low light.
Cons: Check the price tag.
Bottom line: Two products in one, so the high cost can be justified, but it may be worth waiting a few months to see if the price drops.
Network Handycam, $1,699.99
Pros: The smallest
digital videotape yet, the MicroMV, is 70 percent smaller than the MiniMV, but still records one hour of MPEG-2 video. Weighs 12 ounces and measures 4 inches by 3 inches by 2 inches.
Cons: Requires Sony-only technology, tapes, and hardware.
Bottom line: Pricey, but did we mention tiny? Saves space in that already-overloaded laptop bag.