Camcorder Advice Centre

Camcorder technology is probably moving along at a faster rate than any other technology. With the introduction of High Definition camcorders, different types of storage and the introduction of other features such as the ability to take still photos the camcorder arena continues to move at pace.

There are three main considerations to take into account when buying a camcorder. The first is whether to go for a High Definition camcorder or to settle for Standard Definition. The second factor to consider is the type of storage you prefer. Next up is the size of the camcorder you wish to buy. As with digital cameras the size of the typical camcorder has shrunk dramatically recently.

High Definition Camcorders

The big advantage of High Definition Camcorders is the better quality footage you are able to record.

The downsides of High Definition include the fact they are considerably more expensive than a Standard Definition model with similar features. They also take up a lot more storage. You also need to be aware that not all video editing software can cope with the way High Definition movies are compressed to fit on to the storage media your camcorder has.

Be aware also that not all brands include a HDMI cable as standard with their camcorders. This is required to attach the camcorder to a television set. If there is not one supplied with your camcorder then you will need to add a further £10 or so to your budget to buy one. You will find the latest camcorder releases at!

Standard Definition Camcorders

It is not so long ago that manufacturers were extolling the virtues of the picture quality produced by their Standard Definition camcorders. At least until High Definition models came along. It is true that High Definition models produce better playback quality, but buying a Standard Definition model can generate a big cost saving.


When it comes to storage the choices include a hard drive built into the camcorder, Mini DVDs, Mini DV tapes and memory cards along the lines of those used by digital cameras.

Camcorders that use Mini DV tapes tend to be the most cost effective. The camcorders themselves are likely to be cheaper and the tapes are also cheaper than buying memory cards or Mini DVDs.

The downside of Mini DVDs is that they do not have the space to record a great deal of HD footage. Costs will mount up if you need to buy a number of them to store your movies on.

You will also find that many camcorders offer more than one method of storage. The most popular types of dual storage are hard disk drive and memory cards and hard disk drive and Mini DVDs.

Zoom Lenses

The length of zoom on a camcorder is an important consideration when buying one. 10x zoom is roughly standard, but many camcorders offer extra zoom on top of this. The extra zoom is likely to add affair amount to the price. You may notice digital zoom as a feature. Be aware that this decreases the quality of the footage you shoot. It is advisable to stick with optical zoom.

Image Stabilisation

Image stabilisation becomes more and more important as the length of lens increases. As with zoom play safe with Optical Image Stabilisation and avoid Digital Image Stabilisation.

Still Photos

The amount of megapixels available for taking still photos is increasing. A small number of camcorders can now rival some of the mid range digital cameras when it comes to the number of megapixels available. I would look on the ability for a camcorder to produce a still image as a bonus as picture quality is likely to fall some way short of that produced by a digital camera.

Editing Video Footage

Just like with a still digital camera you can edit your videos once you have downloaded them to a computer. There are a variety of video editing programs around and you can find a decent one for around £60. Look out for some of these names: Pinnacle Studio, Ulead Video Studio, Microsoft Movie Maker (free), Roxio Creator, PureMotion Edit Studio and Canopus Let's Edit.

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