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Camcorder Shopping Guide
Things to consider when you buy a camcorder
Size and Shape: Choose a camcorder that fits in your hands and
comfortable to use. Smaller means more expensive or less feature than larger
models with same price.
Video Format: Besides the tape size, it actually make difference on
both image quality and copy qualities. In terms of video/audio quality, digital video (DV, Digital8, or Mini DV) formats
are the best, Hi8 and SVHS-C are the next and 8mm, VHS, and VHS-C are the worst.
You can always make copies of digital videos without any loss, while other
format videos will lose quality with each copy you make.
MPEG movie mode: This will come handy if you want to share your videos
Optical Zoom: Mostly you won't use the digital zoom at all because it
affects the the video quality greatly. so don't be misled by the large digital
zoom numbers. Optical Zoom is the one you should check. 10x is ok and 20x is
Image Stablization: It is very useful in most situations, especially
for non-professional users. But make sure it is optical image
stablization. Again, digital ones affect the video quality.
Photo: Most camcorders can take photoes too. But if you are going to
use it as a real digital camera, make sure 1) the photoes are on a flash memory
card, not on tape; 2)Size is adequate for printing, not just for
LCD size: The bigger, the better. 2.5" is normal. Most LCDs can swivel.
Low light/Dark performance: If you need this kind of feature, look for
smaller minimum illumination numbers. Camcorders with NightShot Infrared System
can capture video in complete darkness.
USB/Firewire connection: How to connect it with computer (digital
camcorders only)? Usually firewire is better for video transfer.
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