Pocket Directors

Are you amped? Itching to krank? Kick-start the filmmaking fun with these sweet units.

Oct 1, 2004
Outside Magazine
Canon GL2, Sony DCR-DVD101, Panasonic PV-GS120

From top: Canon GL2, Sony DCR-DVD101, Panasonic PV-GS120

Ready to start lensing your first exposé? Don't plunder the 401(k) account for a cable-TV-caliber camera; just get a CANON GL2. You can't swap lenses on this two-pound-14-ounce handheld shooter, but you can plug in mikes and lights. The fat, crystal-clear Fluorite lens captured color with filmlike precision, even after sundown. And we easily tracked the black helicopters that circled our town one day with the 20x optical zoom and onboard anti-shake technology—swapping out the Mini DV cassette with one hand while staying on-shot with the other. $2,799; 800-652-2666, www.canonusa.com

Videographers hucked with joy when the first direct-to-DVD cams debuted in 2002—until they discovered that they had to plug the units into a wall socket and wait at least 20 minutes to burn their sick footy onto disc. The SONY DCR-DVD101 slashes that time to eight minutes and will do the job while you stand in line at Starbucks, so you can TV-replay your buddy's face plant in the powder as soon as you get home. No cables, no computer, no fussing over formats—just a push of a button preserves that spectacular yard sale for generations to come. $899; 877-865-7669, www.sonystyle.com

Ideal for wildlife surveillance, the PANASONIC PV-GS120 packs broadcast-studio-resolution tech into a 19-ounce one-hander. Outback auteurs will get footage so crisp on the Mini DV, they'll see every hair on Simba's hide. The trick? It's a "three-chip" camera—instead of one silicon wafer encoding the image, a trio of them individually capture red, green, and blue. You can get this capability, known as 3CCD, in other units—like the Canon, above—but you won't find a tidier package at a more titillating price. $695; 800-272-7033, www.panasonic.com

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