Cons: Bulkier than rivals; noisy due to movement of internal media; slow to adjust focus; poor low light performance
Bottomline: In trying to be a jack of all trades the BD7HE is a bit overcooked and its usability suffers
This year has seen a fight over next-generation movie disc formats.
But with Blu-ray almost certain to win that, it's fair to assume that Blu-ray discs are the ones that will replace your DVDs.
That means we can expect to see a lot more devices like Hitachi’s DZ-BD7HE, one of the first to offer high-definition recording to small Blu-ray discs.
That makes it bulkier than camcorders that record to memory cards or a hard disk, though a gentle curve to the body disguises this.
Blu-ray isn’t all it offers. The DZ-BD7HE boasts a 30GB built-in disk, plus the ability to read and write standard DVDs as used by DVD camcorders. There’s also an SD-card slot for storing the 4.3-megapixel photos it can take.
If anything, that amounts to being too many options: we found it easy to accidentally start recording to the hard disk instead of the Blu-ray disc and vice-versa.
It has its uses, though: while you’ll be able to squeeze an hour’s video onto a Blu-ray disc, the hard disk extends this to four hours. You do however have to contend with a low, small buzz while it's running, although this didn't come through to the finished video.
Shots are composed using the flip-out 2.7in widescreen. We found the camera a little sluggish to get in focus when panning between subjects, with a lot of noise in low light, and while general quality is fair, it's not quite up to the standard of the Canon HG10.
While it's a good idea, then, the DZ-BD7HE is not quite worth the asking price.