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Buying a Camcorder

Buying a Camcorder

Shooting video is a great way to capture special moments. The latest video cameras have professional-quality features that produce clear picture and crisp audio to create everything from home movies to a cutting-edge web series. Whether you're looking to capture baby's first steps or a family vacation, here are some features and types of camcorders to consider.


Why Buy a New Camcorder?

Unlike old models, new camcorders are designed to capture and store larger video files. This is ideal if you're shooting video for a long vacation or if you're an aspiring filmmaker.

Since some models have Internet connectivity, you can upload videos directly to the web. Having access to the web allows you easily share movies with friends and family or lets you post the next viral video on social media.

While digital cameras and cellphones can shoot video, they don't offer the same quality video and sound quality as camcorders. Phones and digital cameras typically capture video in 30 frames per second (fps) or less, but many new camcorders can shoot as high as 60 fps. Many models also offer more creative control because they have precise filter and focus features.


Features of New Camcorders

Memory

  • Camcorders with built-in hard drives, also known as HDD camcorders, store videos directly on the device, so you don't have to be concerned with loosing footage.
  • Memory card slots are more functional and practical, especially for those who record video on the go.
  • Unlimited recording is possible as long as there is a large hard drive or memory cards on hand.
  • Some combo camcorders feature both a built-in hard drive and a memory card slot.

 

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Zoom

  • Optical zoom bring yours shot closer by using the camcorder's optic lens, which is ideal when recording video at your child's performance or game.
  • Digital zoom mimics optical zoom by keying in on the focal point and enlarging your shot. However, this feature can make your video look blurry or distorted if used too much.

 

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Lighting Features

  • Night mode offers a clearer picture when capturing video in the dark.
  • A video lamp is an included lamp that mounts to your camcorder and illuminates your subject, which is perfect for filming interviews or movie scenes.
  • Backlight compensation brightens up the light source beyond the subject, and it can either make the subject appear as a darkened silhouette or focus on both the subject and background.

 

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Image Features

  • Optical stabilization, also known as mechanical adjustment, keeps images steady while you shoot video.
  • Electronic stabilization steadies your video after recording has finished.

 

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Microphone Features

  • Built-in microphones are directly connected to the camcorder, and they are located either internally or externally.
  • Zoom microphones pick up faraway sounds as you zoom in, which is useful if you're filmmaker.

 

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Sharing Features

  • Camcorders with Wi-Fi capabilities can instantly connect to the Internet whenever a signal is available.
  • Some models must use wires to plug into a router, computer or another Internet-ready device.
  • Video cameras with online capabilities may include social sharing options that let you instantly upload videos to social media networks.

 

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Types of Camcorders

HD Camcorders

HD camcorders create crystal-clear images and audio that looks great on high-definition monitors.

  • HD video cameras typically have 1080p, 1080i and 720p resolutions.
  • Full HD models record in 1920 x 1080 resolution to create sharper video.
  • These types of camcorders come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from pocket-sized to large.

 

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HDD camcorders are best for…

Events: Whether you're recording your child's football game or dance recital, these camcorders offer optimal memory and clear picture even when you're capturing lots of action and movement. 

 

Traveling: These models have enough storage capacity and high-quality features to record moments away from home. They can handle shooting anything from daring explorations to low-key family vacations.

 

Filmmaking: If you're making a web series or an elaborate video for a film class, these video cameras have the storage capacity and quality to handle a wide range of footage.

Shoot & Share Camcorders

Shoot & share camcorders are designed to capture quick videos on the go.

  • Shoot & share video cameras normally have a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720.
  • Many models can be stored in a purse or handbag, and some options are small enough to put in your pocket.
  • These types of camcorders are typically more affordable than their counterparts.
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Shoot & share camcorders are best for…

Short web videos: If you love sharing videos on social media, these video cameras can do the job. Some are small enough to carry around, and they can shoot quick and easy videos without hassle.

Reporting: If you're a journalist or blogger that frequently attaches videos to an article or post, shoot & share models can capture high-quality video in a moment's notice.

Action Camcorders

Action video cameras allow you to film action shots when you're part of the action.

  • Action camcorders are lightweight, compact and normally made from durable materials to withstand water and debris.
  • These types of video cameras can be mounted to your head and chest or onto parts of your vehicle, bike and utility vehicle.
  • Mounting devices include suction helmets, cups, straps and hooks.
  • Some models come with built-in Wi-Fi, so you can upload videos to an app almost instantly.
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Action camcorders are best for…

First-person video: If you want to give viewers an immersive experience, action video cameras let audiences feel like they're part of the scene.

Action sports: Since these models can be hands free, you can record video when you're riding a bike, off-roading or playing soccer.


The Bottom Line

While there are many camcorders available, each type offers unique qualities that quit you best. If you're looking to capture hours of sharp video, an HD video camera is the right choice. However, when you need something small to film on the go, shoot & share or action camcorders are your best option.