Camera Review: Sony DCR-PC1000 MiniDV

Film your first wildlife documentary with this svelte digital video recorder.

It's smaller and lighter than most SLR film cameras, but this digital wonder records both video and quality still images. The PC1000 features a powerful 10x optical zoom lens-you can go full-frame on a moose across a 300-foot meadow or nail a close-up that shows every drop of dew on a blueberry-and sports Sony's image-stabilization technology to ensure footage that won't make you queasy watching it. The autofocus is extremely fast and precise; our tester brought home remarkable video of a trio of peregrine falcons in an aerial dance. The still camera component nails photos that reproduce well up to 26x20 inches (think posters to promote your movie!). Video storage is on mini DV tapes or digital memory sticks. The paperback-sized recorder features a 2.7-inch-wide swivel screen and runs up to 4 hours on a single battery charge.

Price: $1,300

Weight: 1 lb. 3 oz.