Real quick. (Other sites will go into far more technical jargon- if that’s what you want.)
Types of camcorders
- Hard Disk Drive
- Memory Card
Types of cameras that also shoot video
- Digital SLRs (DSLRs)
- Mirror-less cameras
Key camcorder considerations
Analog formats (VHS-C and Hi8) will require some kind of special hardware to convert your video footage into a computer file format- if you ever want to post your video online or edit your video on your PC/Mac.
If you buy a hard disk drive camcorder, you need to consider where you will store your movie footage for archival purposes. It may be a considerable cost in additional hardware to be able to store the files if you like to shoot a lot of footage. It may also begin to take a lot of time to backup and archive your movie footage.
Tale of the video tape
I would strongly urge you to use camcorders that record onto mini DV tapes. The images undergo less compression than memory card camcorders, and it is easier to keep your footage for archival purposes.
- A video tape will far outlast a mechanical hard drive when talking about long term storage.
High Definition camcorders
High Definition refers to the number of lines of resolution a camcorder records onto its recording medium. To be High Definition, a camcorder needs to record at least 1280 lines of image resolution.
- You should look for a good lens made of real glass. In the case of High-Def lenses– size does matter, people.
Also keep in mind that images recorded on memory cards are subject to a great deal of video compression. This means that the camera uses technology to reduce the amount of visual information being recorded. Not cool if you’re wanting to record the best image possible.
Memory card files are also harder to edit. They require more sophisticated computers and software to properly handle the compression protocols that these camcorders utilize.
What do I recommend?
I have a canon HV30. I love it.
You can’t go wrong getting a Cannon, a Panasonic or Sony. They all perform very well. Please, just consider getting one that records to Mini DV tape.
Stay away from Insignia and other off brands. Also avoid using ultra compact models that can fit in your pocket.
- These may be great for capturing an unexpected moment– but it will not be good enough to share with family and friends when the intent is to impress.
Enough blathering on about technical stuff!
Go make a fun video with whatever camcorder you’ve got.