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Keeping VHS-C A Viable Choice
For those who want to keep the convenience of a camcorder video format that will playback directly in the home VCR, the VHS-C Quasar VM-L450 gets the job done. While not the smallest camcorder you can buy, its 4.1/4-inch wide by 4 5/8-inch high by 7 1/8-inch long body tucks away into any small camera bag. Manufactured by Panasonic, this is a basic, no-frills model; still, it includes nice extras like electronic image stabilization.
It is a step up from the VM-D100 with the addition of a 3-inch fold-out LCD monitor screen. And, with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of only $499.95, this is a camcorder that can fit into anybody's budget.
General operation is clear and straightforward. Put in your tape and press Record. Pause, even turn off the power for 24 hours and resume recording again with glitch-free, seamless in-camera editing. Use all of the auto functions, or take advantage of manual controls, such as Manual Focus, adjusted through a wheel under the lens. Use the Manual Shutter Speed selection to shoot anywhere from the standard 1/60- to the maximum 1/10,000-of-a-second setting.
A real plus for a basic camcorder like this is the variable speed zoom. Actually there are four zoom speeds, all controlled by pressure and position of the zoom rocker switch. Go from wide angle to full zoom in as little as 2 seconds, or take a super-slow 16 seconds. The optical lens has a nice range, 18 to 1, going from 3.9mm to 70.2mm. There is also a digital zoom extension, taking your range on up to 150 to 1. Once you reach the extent of …