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Support miniDV Camcorders


The Canon ZR40 is a digital video camcorder using the standard MiniDV cassette, designed to produce the highest quality video possible from non-broadcast equipment. The MiniDV format standard delivers more than 500 lines of horizontal resolution. In terms of picture quality, this is about 25% better than the best analog formats. On top of that, because the MiniDV format records both video and audio as digital data, this information can be transferred -- without any loss of picture or audio quality -- to a computer for editing, then transferred back to DV tape, without a reduction in either picture or audio quality. This transfer of data is accomplished using the IEEE 1394 protocol commonly known as FireWire&#174;. <br/> DV Format Technology and Advantages<br/> <br/> <br/> The DV format is based on a robust videotape formulation, a sophisticated and computer-based data capture system, the ability to transfer data from camcorder to tape at high speed, and a standard data structuring system. The MiniDV format makes professional quality video affordable. <br/> Better picture quality, sharper images and better color reproduction than analog -- that's the digital video story. Digital recordings are almost immune to signal problems, and deliver the highest quality picture and audio. This is a major advantage over analog recordings. Digital is the language of computers, which easily store and transfer data without distortion. The same holds true for digital video. Digital copies of digital videos are indistinguishable from the original, which makes editing and image manipulation so much easier and with higher quality than that delivered by analog video technology. <br/> <br/> The video tape formulation used for digital video is designed to last longer and even withstand repeated use without failure, which virtually eliminates dropouts while delivering higher output and less noise. <br/> Digital video has approximately twice the horizontal resolution of a standard VHS videocassette recorder. The resolution of a DV standard image is about 25% better than that from an S-VHS or Hi-8 camcorder or VCR. While resolution is dependent on a product's components and circuitry, standard VHS and 8mm video are capable of delivering about 250 lines of horizontal resolution with S-VHS and Hi-8 at about 400-420 lines. The DV format is capable of delivering more than 500 lines of horizontal resolution, with actual performance depending on the individual camcorder model. Another way to look at it is that an NTSC digital video signal contains more than twice the data of its analog counterpart; a PAL digital video signal contains over three times the data of its analog counterpart. <br/> <br/> Color resolution (or rendition) can be a problem for analog video, producing color blur and color noise. Digital video does not have this problem, delivering a far more life-like video image on the screen. What you will see is much sharper subject edges and clearer color reproduction. <br/> The MiniDV standard ensures that audio quality matches that of an audio CD or digital audio tape (DAT). The audio portion of the digital video signal also is recorded digitally. The digital video standard includes Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) audio recording, delivering more than the normal, natural range of sound audible to humans without both distortion and noise. <br/> <br/> <br/> <br/> All digital video equipment also has the analog video outputs (either S-video and/or composite video) found on current analog equipment. This means you can play a digital video on a regular TV, or transfer a digital video onto an analog VCR. If you record using a digital video camcorder, you can then copy the video onto VHS or Super-VHS tapes, 8mm or Hi-8 tapes, or any of the broadcast formats such as 3/4-inch or Betacam if the recording equipment has the appropriate input connectors.
Canon's image stabilization system corrects camera shake - caused by an unsteady hand, for example. This image stabilization system makes for smoother and steadier video even with hand-held shots, at full telephoto, and shots taken from a moving car, for example.
Canon is known world-wide for its lenses. The zoom technology found in the lens of a ZR40 camcorder is the same as Canon uses in its broadcast TV lenses, found in the majority of broadcast cameras. <br/> 18X Optical Zoom<br/> The ZR40 is fitted with an 18X optical zoom lens, a new high performance lens from Canon. The 18X zoom range will more than take care of all your picture-taking needs, whether they be wide-angle shots of all the family at the reunion, or close-up sports action at full telephoto. Add in the high-resolution capability of DV, and you have high quality video at your fingertips. <br/> 360X Digital Zoom<br/> The ZR40's 360X digital zoom significantly expands the telephoto magnification of the subject, bringing it even closer than you might have thought possible.
The ZR40 offers you two shooting modes to satisfy all your picture-taking needs. First there's the standard Video Mode for the majority of your shooting; then there's Photo Mode for single pictures -- that's right, you don't need to carry a photo camera, too. <br/> Video Mode<br/> Video Mode delivers smooth, full-motion video, for playback on your TV. You also can transfer the video onto your computer to view, edit, post on the Internet, or send to friends. <br/> Photo Mode<br/> You also can make your ZR40 a still camera by switching to Photo Mode. Just press the photo button to capture more than 1,000 still pictures, each with 6 seconds of sound, on a single 80 minute videocassette.
<br/> <br/> The ZR40 offers both a color viewfinder and a 2.5-inch fold-out color LCD screen. For those who prefer the larger screen for composing their videos, the fold-out screen makes it easy. It twists and can be flipped, so you can shoot your video from any angle without having to look in the viewfinder. The screen also is great for playback and review of your video immediately after you've captured a scene.<br/>
<br/> <br/> The ZR40 offers the versatility to meet every exposure challenge, as well as ease of use when you're happy to let the camera make all the choices. Amazingly sophisticated circuitry delivers proper exposure automatically under almost any lighting condition. But you also can easily adjust the exposure in any one of several creative ways to meet your specific need. Selecting a different exposure mode lets you control how you want the video to look. <br/> Easy Recording<br/> For those who just want to point and shoot, choose the Easy Recording mode. All camera functions are handled automatically (focus, exposure, etc.), with the exception of the camera's zoom controls. <br/> Auto<br/> Auto Mode gives control of camera settings to the ZR40, except for those functions you would like to control manually when you want to, including focus, exposure, and white balance. <br/> Sports <br/> Use the Sports Mode to make crystal clear video of sports action, such as the swing of a tennis racket, or accentuate the motion of a racing car, for example, by blurring its motion. Sports Mode also will let you shoot under very low lighting conditions. The ZR40 will automatically select the aperture for a proper exposure. <br/> Portrait <br/> The ability to adjust the lens opening (aperture) gives you the creative ability to adjust depth of field. Larger lens openings decrease the amount of the background that's in focus, perfect for portraits. Smaller openings increase the focus area. When you choose any one of several apertures, the ZR40 will automatically select the shutter speed to match the chosen aperture, giving you the proper exposure. <br/> Spotlight<br/> Nothing can confuse an exposure system more than a singer spotlighted on a dark stage. Spotlight Mode comes to the rescue. The camera will automatically adjust exposure for the center of the frame (the spotlighted singer) rather than the darkness of the stage. This will prevent the person from showing up overexposed or blooming against a dark background. The result is a perfect exposure. <br/> Sand and Snow<br/> Want to record a scene of skiers on a bright, snow-covered mountain slope, or beach volleyball players on bright sand? Then select the Sand & Snow Mode. This will adjust the exposure so the subject will not appear underexposed (dark) against the bright background. <br/> Low Light<br/> When in a dark environment, select the Low Light Mode. The ZR40 selects a very slow shutter speed to deliver adequate exposure. <br/> Night<br/> Bring on the night, in color. No need to make any changes in the camcorder's settings, just move from the light to the dark and keep shooting. Capture night scenes in color as the camcorder's electronics compensate automatically. Bright street and store lights won't bother it; it will adjust for them automatically.
For those who want total control of all aspects of the exposure system, the ZR40 offers manual settings. You can select the shutter speed and aperture settings for full creative control. <br/> Manual Focus<br/> Manually focus the camcorder's lens by using a dial on the camera body. <br/> AE Shift<br/> For fine control over how dark or light you want a scene to look, use the Auto Exposure Shift setting to adjust the auto exposure level. <br/> Manual and Automatic Shutter Speeds<br/> There are 8 shutter speeds (from 1/60 sec. to 1/8000 sec.) available in all auto exposure modes. They may also be selected manually. Slow shutter speeds are available in Night and Low Light modes. <br/> Preset/Auto/Manual White Balance<br/> The ZR40 is designed to determine white balance automatically. You also can use standard preset values for indoors (3200&#186; K) and outdoors (5600&#186; K) or you can manually set the white balance. Manually setting the white balance is useful when shooting: subjects with one dominant color such as the sky, close-ups, rapidly changing lighting conditions, and places lit by certain types of fluorescent or mercury vapor lights.
<br/> <br/> <br/> Show your creativity by using the special effects and digital faders available with your ZR40. These digital effects and faders can add visual appeal and greater imaging variety. <br/> Digital Effects<br/> The ZR40 gives you the opportunity to play with what you've made. For that creative touch, a more appealing look, or greater imaging variety, you can switch on one of several digital effects: art, black & white, sepia, mosaic.<br/> <br/> Art<br/> Adds a paint-like effect, called solarization, to the image.<br/> <br/> Black & White<br/> Give your video a "1940s" movie look, or an "art-house" feel. Use the black & white digital effect for classy black and white reproduction of the scene.<br/> <br/> Sepia<br/> The sepia effect gives an "antique look" to your video, to recreate the look of faded photos.<br/> <br/> Mosaic<br/> Blurs the image by enlarging the size of some of the pixels. <br/> Digital Faders Fade Trigger Vertical wipe Horizontal wipe Mosaic Fade
The ZR40 can record sound in two audio modes:<br/> <br/> 16-bit (48 kHz, 2 channels) for the highest sound quality, slightly better than CD quality, and equivalent to DAT tape;<br/> <br/> 12-bit (32 kHz, 2 from 4 channels) for recording on two channels (stereo 1), leaving two channels (stereo 2) open for post production audio recording (narration, music, etc.).<br/> <br/> <br/>
The ZR40 is designed for transferring of digital video and audio to and from a PC, another IEEE 1394 terminal-equipped camcorder, or a professional DV VCR. The DV terminal allows high quality transfer with virtually no image degradation. You can edit and process images by connecting the camera to a PC using the IEEE 1394 terminal. You can add additional audio track, or replace audio and video on a previously-recorded tape.
In addition to providing digital video input and output, the ZR40 features two types of analog audio and video inputs and outputs: Composite and S-video. <br/> Video Inputs and Outputs<br/> The ZR40 is designed to handle two types of analog video input and output: using audio/video cables (composite) or by using an S-video cable.<br/> <br/> <br/> <br/> Composite / S-Video input and output with Analog to Digital Converter<br/> By using audio/video cables (composite) or S-Video, it's possible to send an analog video signal from your TV, VCR or a camcorder into the ZR40 and record it onto DV. Similarly, you can output an analog signal via composite or S-Video cables to an analog device such as a TV or VCR. <br/> Audio Inputs<br/> The analog audio inputs of the ZR40 let you perform dubbing or insert editing from conventional audio sources such as CDs, cassettes, microphones or the soundtracks of other videocassettes.<br/> <br/> Mic Input<br/> In addition to using the built-in microphone on both the ZR40, you have the option of plugging in an external microphone.<br/> <br/> Audio Dub<br/> You can add stereo sound from another audio source or through the internal or external microphone.<br/> <br/> <br/> AV Insert<br/> The ZR40 offers the option of adding new video from a VCR or another camcorder to a tape recorded in SP mode. Input can be digital or analog.<br/> <br/> Audio Outputs<br/> Audio (and video) on a mini-DV cassette can be output to another camcorder or VCR.<br/> <br/> Audio Out<br/> Audio output is accomplished via the same ports used for input. Video outputs include composite and S-video.<br/> <br/> Headphone Terminal (Adjustable level)
The ZR40 has a number of additional features for ease of use and creative control. <br/> Photo Search<br/> This searches for images recorded in Photo Mode. You can search forwards or backwards through the images one at a time, or +/-10 from the current position. <br/> Time Code<br/> The ZR40 records a time code signal along with the video signal. This time code accurately identifies every point on the DV tape by hour, minute, second and frame. This is valuable when editing on a personal computer or professional video editing system. <br/> Data Code<br/> The DV standard calls for the automatic recording of date and time, shutter speed, exposure settings and other key camera data on the tape as you shoot. The ZR40 does not permanently superimpose this data over your video. Instead, the data remains hidden until you select it for display during playback or editing. You can turn the display on or off at will, and you can decide which data you want to display. <br/> Remote Control<br/> The full-function wireless remote control (WL-D74) of the ZR40 will work at distances up to 16 feet (4.9m). The remote can start and stop recordings, zoom the lens, handle all playback (VCR) functions, handle audio and video dubbing functions, and more. <br/> LANC The LANC terminal on the ZR40 permits easy connection of compatible edit controllers. <br/>

The Canon ZR40 Kit

The Canon ZR40 Kit ZR40 BP-508 Battery Pack CA-560 Compact Power Adapter SS-800 Shoulder Strap WL-D74 Wireless Controller STV-250N Stereo Video Cable


Power Supply (rated)

7.4 V DC (Battery); 9.5 V DC (DC IN)

Power Consumption (While recording AF=ON)

3.1 W (using viewfinder), 3.9 W (using LCD screen)

Television System

EIA standard (525 lines, 60 fields) NTSC color signal

Video Recording system

2 rotary heads, helical scanning system DV system (Consumer digital VCR SD system)Digital component recording

Audio Recording system

PCM digital sound:16-bit (48 kHz/2 ch.)12-bit (32 kHz/4 ch.)

Image Sensor

1/6 CCD (charge coupled device); approx. 460,000 pixels;(approx. 290,000 effective pixels)

Tape Format

Videocassettes bearing the MiniDV mark

Tape Speed

SP: 3/4 ips (18.81 mm/sec.); LP: 1/2 ips (12.56 mm/sec.)

Maximum Recording Time (with an 80-min. cassette)

SP: 80 min.; LP: 120 min.

Fast Forward/Rewind Time

2 min. 20 sec. (with a 60-min. cassette)


f/1.6 - 2.9, 18x power zoom, 2.8 - 50.4 mm

Focusing System

TTL autofocus, manual focusing possible

Focusing System

3 ft. 3 3/8 in. (1 m); 3/8 in. (1 cm); on maximum wide angle

Minimum Illumination

0.5 lux using the Night program during tape recording

Recommended Illumination

More than 100 lux

Filter Diameter

30.5 mm


0.44 in., color LCD; (approx. 113,000 pixels)

LCD Screen

2.5 in. measured diagonally; approx. 112,000 pixels)


Stereo electret condenser microphone

DV Terminal

Special 4-pin connector (based on IEEE 1394)

Video Terminal

1 Vp-p/75 ohms unbalanced

S-video Terminal

1 Vp-p (Y signal), 0.286 Vp-p (C signal)

Microphone Terminal

Stereo electret condenser microphone

Operating Temperature range

32 - 104° F (0 - 40° C)


2 1/4 x 4 x 5 1/4 in. (57 x 102 x 134 mm)


1 lb. 2 1/2 oz. (525 g)

Compatible Supplies & Accessories

Canon offers a wide range of compatible supplies and accessories that can enhance your user experience with you ZR40 that you can purchase direct. Scroll down to easily select items to add to your shopping cart for a faster, easier checkout. Visit the Canon Online Store



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† Prices and specifications subject to change without notice. Actual prices are determined by individual dealers and may vary.

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