By Anoop Verma
If you own a high-end smartphone, then you already have access to a reasonably good video camera. But if you are looking for better video quality, then you have to go in for a digital camcorder. What kind of camcorder is best for you? The answer to that question depends on what your needs are. You can go in for a HD shooting model, or for one that lets you shoot in 3D. There is no dearth of choices.
Here is a list of some key aspects that you need to consider while buying a new digital camcorder:
Most camcorders come with built in memory, but Flash memory is important, as it gives you extra storage space for storing the video files, which can be quite hefty. You can go in for SD-card-based camcorders, fixed flash drives, and options like DV tape, Mini DVDs, etc. SD-card based models are generally better.
The camera should have a decent zoom – at least 10X or greater. The zoom lens lets you get closer to your subject.
Any decent camera needs to have at least 1/6-inch or larger CCD; minimum 680,000-pixel effective video resolution.
Standard Definition or High Definition? The answer to this question will depend primarily on your budget. The Standard Definition camcorders are much cheaper. But with pricier HD camcorders you can produce wide-screen video suitable for viewing on an HDTV.
Ports and Connectors
USB ports are usually preferred, as they are easy to connect with the PC and other devices.
Exposure control and Focus
If you are an amateur, you might decide to go in for an automatic system. But if you want to shoot like a pro, then you must ask for cameras that offer manual controls.
Viewfinder or LCD
Quite understandably you would like to have the biggest LCD possible. But if the screen is too big, it will deplete your battery rather fast. The most optimal size for LCD screen is 2.5 inches.
Minimum illumination rating
7 lux or lower.
A camcorder is not only about video, sound is also important. Generally camcorders with mike mounted in the front are able to give better audio quality than those that have their mike mounted on the top. Higher-end camcorders can record in Dolby Digital 5.1.
This is a must have feature in a camcorder. Image stabilisation is of two types – optical or electronic. Both the types perform the task of reducing jittery video caused by shaky hands.
Automatic; manual option via dial on camcorder body.
A camcorder should be able to record for at least one hour with a single full charge of its battery. If you plan to take your camcorder to outdoor-locations, then you should go in for a model that comes with an extra-battery pack.
Weight and ease of use
If the camcorder is too heavy, you are likely to leave it back at home. So lightness of the machine does matter. Also the camcorder should be easy to use. It is preferable that the controls should be positioned within the reach of the thumb of the hand that holds the camcorder. Some touchscreen models are also available, but many users might find the touchscreen difficult to operate.
Capturing video is a camcorder’s primary job, but most models also offer you the chance of capturing low or even high resolution pictures. The image is seldom as good as what you can get from professional digital cameras, as the camcorder lacks the systems for good digital photography.
You must also look for bundled software, cables, and freebies like add on storage devices such as microSD card, a stylish carrying bag, a book of photography tips, etc.