Your New Digital Camcorder - How Will You Choose?

By: Vince Nitti

When we decide to purchase a particular type of product, we frequently desire the best. If we're in the market for a computer, we might feel we must have the fastest computer or the one that has the largest storage capacity. For a special event, we may want the best tuxedo or gown that money can buy. If we find ourselves in great financial shape at retirement time, we may want the fastest, most luxurious automobile we can find. And if we're in the market for a camcorder, we may look for the best digital camcorder on the market. But what are the qualities that make one camcorder better than the rest?

Finding the best digital video camera will involve some subjectivity. For instance, it's virtually impossible to find one unit that all electronics experts would agree is best. It's also necessary to define what "best" means to you. Your search will most likely break down to the video camera that provides most of the features you feel you'll need in a certain price range.

Since digital camcorders vary widely in cost, the best way to begin the search is to break down the different models by price. These products are available in a wide range of prices, from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The various models are distinguished by the various functions they can perform. A video professional will most likely use one of the most expensive models, while a beginner would choose one of the more basic, less expensive models. Since most amateur camcorder users are looking for something at the lower end of the price range, we'll focus on finding the best of the less expensive digital camcorders.

Digital camcorders can be broken down into three low-price categories. The first is those costing close to a thousand dollars, which would provide the camera of choice for those shoppers who plan to utilize their camcorders regularly. These can be used for occasional special situations such as vacations, and provide enough quality for simple video projects or independent filmmaking. There are many products in this category with enough bells and whistles to satisfy most wish lists.

The next category down in price for digital camcorders would be the $500-$700 range. These camcorders offer a moderate range of features, frequently including hard drive and DVD models. Some come with an ample image sensor or charge-coupled device (CCD). These features are not available on less expensive cameras but don't drive the camcorder's price into the upper category.

For most of us who are on a tight budget, digital camcorders can be found for under $500. Models in this price category may include a feature for taking still photos, although resolution and overall picture quality is generally poor. These cameras are the choice of those who will seldom use their camcorders, and only for personal use. They're entry-level in all aspects, but will record and display the memories you want to preserve at the next birthday party or sporting event.

Finding the best digital camcorder is a very challenging task, based on what "best" means to you, whether you're looking for personal use only or some professional use, and how much you're willing to spend. Whichever camera fits these personal criteria best is the "best" for you. When you find the one that delivers great-looking videos you'll be glad you did your homework before you shopped.

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