Buying Guide: Camcorders

Camcorders have gone through major transitions over the last few years. MiniDVs, which dominated the market until recently, are now being phased out because flash and hard drive-based camcorders are far more compact and offer richer feature sets. Flash memory-based camcorders are also less likely to break down as they have fewer moving parts.

Now when it comes to storage, both flash and hard disk-based camcorders offer substantial amounts of storage space. As of now, flash memory supports just about 16GB of space whereas their hard disk counterparts can give you as much as a whopping 240GB. This gives you the freedom to record and store more than what you might actually need.

If you’re in the market for a camcorder here are a few pointers you might want to keep in mind before choosing a device.

Build Quality: The overall build quality is vital as camcorders aren’t exactly an affordable proposition. Moreover, a better build also ensures that parts don’t come lose over extended use. Here, the overall quality of construction, firmness of moving parts, such as battery compartment lid and port flaps, should be taken into account when making a selection.

Ergonomics: A good camcorder is designed with the user in mind. In other words, the overall design should be such that you find it easy to use and navigate between the various functions. Things like button size/spacing, and the user interface, grip along with easily accessible controls are also features to consider.

Resolution: A camcorder with a higher sensor resolution will not only deliver a better video output, but will also capture decent still images. Most HD camcorders almost fall in the same price range as most standard definition camcorders, so why go standard when you can go HD. Plus with the CRT TV’s slowly meeting their end, you might want to consider an HD camcorder if you’ve already got an HD ready TV. Plus of ocusre they can record at a much higher resolution, thereby producing a much cleaner, crisper and clearer image.

LCD screen size: Look out for a camcorder with a decently sized screen and a bright display. After all, you wouldn’t want to be squinting while going through the menu settings.

Storage capacity: Look for a camcorder with a high capacity drive as it will allow you to record for a longer timeframe. Also try and make sure that the device you’ve chosen comes with an SDHC (memory card) expansion slot just in case you run out of memory and like having a backup memory card.

Optical zoom: Good optical zoom value allows you to zoom into the subject without compromising on the overall picture quality.

Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS): This is probably the most important factor when purchasing a camcorder with high optical zoom. It will help in maintaining a jitter-free video at full zoom. We suggest you test the camcorder at full zoom to test the IS.

Warranty: You can never predict the life of any electronic gadget, and since camcorders are considered expensive and delicate, it is important for them to be backed up by warranty and support.

So keep these simple points in mind when making your choice and always do a little research before spending your hard earned cash on gadget that cost’s a pretty penny. 

Published Date: Sep 02, 2010 09:30 am | Updated Date: Sep 02, 2010 09:30 am