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Choosing a Digital Camcorder:

4 Questions to Ask

Camcorders

Capturing memories is important to all people as life seems to move faster and faster. Choosing a digital camcorder may seem like a daunting task, but there are several key factors to consider. These include the format, resolution, zoom and connection options. Read below for more on these factors so that you can ask your Camcor Representative about them when choosing a digital camcorder.

Format

There are several different formats to consider when choosing a digital camcorder. These types include MiniDV, a Hard Drive Disk and HD. Read below for pros and cons of each format.

  • Most popular format with the most number of options available and generally easy to save onto computer for editing.
  • High quality digital video recorded onto a MiniDV tape, which is also called a DVC.
  • Generally, must use camcorder as playback device by connecting the unit to TV, VCR or DVD recorder for playback.
  • Newer format that records onto a non-removable computer style hard drive.
  • A Hard Drive Disk offers large video capacity and can record up to 7-10 hours of video at the highest resolution.
  • Hard Drive Disks are not linear, which makes it easier to locate specific clips for playback or deletion.
  • Connects to a TV/VCR/DVD via a cable for playback or to a computer via USB for editing.
  • Different brands record in different file formats so be sure to check compatibility if you already own an editing suite.
  • Once full you have to offload and delete.
HD or High Definition –
  • Gaining in popularity but be sure to ask yourself if you can use it. Won’t be worth it if you do not own an HDTV.
  • Also remember DVDs are not HD so unless you own a HDDVD or BluRay burner then you will not be able to make HD copies of your home movies.

Resolution

Camcorder ResolutionWhen choosing a digital camcorder, you also should ask your Camcor Representative about resolution.

  • Most camcorders use a single chip that sees the entire spectrum of color. The CCD, which is a light sensitive chip, will be rated in pixels and size. Generally speaking, larger higher pixel count camcorders have better video quality.
  • Some professional / consumer grade camcorders use three separate chips, each seeing 1/3 of the color spectrum. This lends to higher video quality.  

Zoom

ZoomZoom is also an important aspect when choosing a digital camcorder. Zoom makes things appear closer than they really are, and it is much easier to get a high zoom on a camcorder than on a camera.

  • Optical zoom uses physical movement within the body of the lens to make things appear closer. No degradation of quality.
  • Be careful though; the more you zoom, the more the slightest camera movement will appear very drastic. It is best to use a tripod on high zooms.
  • In addition, the size of the CCD chip, which affects video quality, might directly affect the amount of zoom. It is not uncommon for the highest zooms to be on the lowest quality camcorders and the higher quality camcorders to have some of the lowest zooms.
  • Many camcorders also offer differing levels of image stabilization. This technology generally uses a sensor in the lens to detect movement. It then adjusts the lens accordingly to help give you smoother video.

Connections

Connecting Camcorders
Depending on how you want to use the camcorder, be sure to check the type of connections it offers when choosing a digital camcorder.

If you want to edit on your computer, check for USB or Fire wire (IEEE1394 / iLink) connections.
 

Other Options

There are many other aspects to consider when choosing a digital camcorder that is right for you. If features like wide screen recording, auxiliary mic inputs, larger LCD screens or camera editing effects are important to you, be sure to ask your Camcor Representative to help you determine the options that are best for you.

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