Thursday, October 26, 2006

Features To Look For When You Buy A Digital Camcorder

A camcorder is a great way to document the important events and experiences of your life just as they happened. Still pictures are great for some things, but nothing beats a high quality recording of audio and video from a special event. Because digital camcorders record information that does not degrade over time you can actually watch it years later and it will seem like just yesterday. So if you are in the market for a compact digital camcorder here are some features to look for before you buy:

1. Make sure that you get a digital camcorder that uses a LCD screen for a viewfinder. Once you get used to using a camcorder this way you will never go back to peering through an eyepiece again. Video is often shot while a person is moving or has to walk, and watching a viewfinder allows you to still see where you are going much better than is possible when using the eyepiece. You can also shoot from angles high above your head or low down to the ground and still keep an eye on the action as you film if the LCD screen can be tilted.

2. Look for a digital camcorder that uses at least a 10x optical zoom, although 15x or 20x is even better. There are two types of zooms used on digital camcorders, optical and digital. The optical zoom is the lens itself zooming in, and it produces a nice sharp image throughout it's focal range usually. The digital zoom simply takes the image already gathered by the lens and magnifies it with no increase of video detail, so video that is shot using a lot of digital zoom can be grainy looking and not very pleasing to the eye. So try to get a digital camcorder that has at least a 10x optical zoom and try not to rely very often on the digital zoom capabilities for the best quality videos.

3. Keep any eye on the power usage of the camcorder that you want to buy. Some sip power and others drink it at a gulp, so look for a camcorder that will let you record continuously for at least 1-2 hours before recharging. Otherwise, you will need to buy an extra battery to carry with you instead.

4. Image stabilization is a very useful feature found in many digital camcorders these days as it will help eliminate some of the shakes that many folks introduce unknowingly into their videos while filming. They may not notice it while they are recording, but once you sit down and try to watch video that constantly bounces around you will really appreciate the image stabilization feature. Of course, image stabilization still cannot make up for wild swings of the camera lens, but it can help control normal camera shake.

There are other features to look out for when you decide to buy a digital camcorder, but the ones mentioned above will help narrow your choice down to those that will most likely do the best job for you and your video needs.


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