Summary: I bought my Canon new back in 2003 or so, and just now, almost ten years later, finally donated it to a local charity. I put in thousands of hours of recording around the world on it, and while the quality was never rock star film grade, it did a bang-up job of capturing the events I was filming. The camera was extremely durable - outlasting another video camera I bought in 2008 - and never gave me any problems in this extremely long time of heavy use.
Summary: This camera is perfect for my 18-year old. Perfect condition & works great. He can't thank me enough! I can't thank the seller enough. (Thanks again, by the way)! The advice he gave was extremely helpful as well.
Summary: Over the last two years, the camera has gotten progressively worse. It is out of warranty and the Stuck in low light mode problem has gone from once in every five startups to about 9 out of ten. The only thing that keeps me from giving it a one star rating is the large screen and general ease of use. When it is working , it is the best small camcorder I have used.
Summary: I bought this camera in early 2004 and have had no problems that other users have experienced. Maybe I just got lucky. My main use for this camera was golf swing analysis. I looked for 3 main features: Manual shutter speed of at least 1/2000, manual focus, and a larger LCD screen, because at that time I didn't have a laptop and planned on doing analysis at the driving range through the screen. The Optura fills all of those criteria perfectly.
Summary: A huge warning for anyone out there looking at this camera!! We dont use ours often and one day it started loading up and being stuck in its low light mode. this means any amount of light in the room causes it to wash out and record as blur. When I looked into this issue, it turned out that there were plenty of others out there that had the same problem with the Optura 20. It will cost you $150-300 to fix.
Summary: Avoid this product and perhaps all Canon Camcorders at any cost! The IRIS is stuck in the low light setting like many others have posted. Search CNET and other forums as well for many other reports of this problem. Canon Customer Service has been very poor in responding to this and say that this is an unknown problem! You will have to shell out almost the cost of the camcorder to get this repaired or otherwise live with a bad paper-weight.
Summary: These camcorders have an inherent manufacturing defect that apparently Canon hasn't fessed-up to. I use mine rarely. I bought a reconditioned Optura 20 several years ago. I quickly noticed that it operated only in low light mode unles it was "warm". I was using it backpacking and it would work ok when I left it in the sun or put it inside my coat, but once it got cool, the only thing I could photograph was a polar bear in a snowstorm.
Open iris has exposure stuck, can't adjust exposure
4 March 2007
Summary: Do not buy this camera! I believe that this is a firmware problem of some sort, though I could be wrong. Whenever I am affected by this problem, I can no longer hit the Exposure button to adjust the exposure. My current work-around is to play a video (tape or card), and go back to the record mode. Very annoying, and it might not work later on.
Summary: I've experienced the same bad iris problem too after several years of normal functioning. Canon wanted me to send the camera in for repair--has anyone else actually had the problem fixed by Canon? If so how much did it cost and did it fix the problem? I'm wondering if I should get it repaired or just buy a new camera.