Digital Video Cameras — More Fun Than Ever

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Susan Jan asked:

With your trusty digital video camera by your side you can capture all those special moments, such your child’s first steps, your birthday or wedding, or your vacation with family and friends etc.

With so many manufacturers and models available in the digital video market, you may find it confusing trying to choose the perfect one for you. Your choice will, however, depend on the features that you want and how much you are willing to spend.

The most important thing to consider is the format in which your videos will be stored, as the video format determines the video quality. Digital 8 otherwise called D8, Mini-DV, DVD and HDD are the main types of video format that digital cameras offer. Both D8 and Mini-DV are tape-based formats, with the Mini-DV currently offering the highest quality video format to consumers. The DVD format allows direct video recording onto a digital disk, while the HDD type uses internal hard drives where the video is recorded. As the tape format is slowly being phased out by major manufacturers, it is a good idea to invest in disk or hard drive based digital video cameras.

Digital video cameras also come with charged coupled device or CCD imaging sensor. Digital video cameras come with 1-CCD or 3-CCD features. Cameras with 1-CCD suffer from poor video quality, whereas 3-CCD cameras produce much better quality videos. Most professional camcorders use the 3-CCD technology, thus making them more expensive than the other models.

The optical zoom feature of the camcorder lens generally ranges from 10X to 20X. The choice of zoom depends on how close you want to get to the action. Some digital video cameras also allow still photography at various resolutions, and some camcorders offer both video and still photography features. Some digital video camcorders have in-built flash for low-light photography, while some video cameras come with a ‘Night Shot’ feature. Other popular options include external flashlights, external microphones and external storage devices that can be attached onto the camcorder.

Camcorders with longer battery strength is also recommended. Digital video cameras have battery life ranging from 4 to 8 hours of continuous shooting. However, using the zoom or any external devices reduce the battery strength.

All cameras nowadays come bundled with a digital video editing software. But if you are not satisfied with the one provided, you can always buy a better and more expensive editing software from Adobe or any other reputable brand.

Video camera prices today vary from $500 to $4000, with Sony, JVC and Canon being the more popular brands.

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