Digital Camcorders - An Introduction

by : andy2007

Digital camcorders are capable of recording to Mini DV tape, Mini DVD, hard disk, and solid state storage media, so that data can be accessed, transferred, and manipulated cheaply, and with only limited technical expertise.

Key Features

Mini DV tape is still one of the most popular formats for consumer digital video, and digital camcorders of this type use a “FireWire", or “iLink" connection to transfer recordings to (and possibly from) a Windows or Macintosh computer. Mini DVD digital camcorders, allowing recording to special, 8cm diameter DVD media, and hard disk drive (HDD) digital camcorders, with storage capacity for perhaps, 7, or more, hours of high quality video are also popular. Another possibility is a “solid state" digital camcorder, which, instead of tape, or disk, records to an integral memory chip, or removable memory card, of the type used in digital cameras. Examples include the Mustek DV5300SE and Mustek DV8200 multifunctional digital video cameras, which both feature 32MB of internal memory, and compatibility with SD and MMC memory cards.

Your choice of recording media is likely to be determined by how much recording you want to perform, how much editing (if any) you want to do, and, of course, your budget. Generally speaking, tapes are less expensive than disks, which, in turn, are less expensive than solid state storage.

The size, and weight, of a digital camcorder is likely to be reflected in its price; a smaller, lighter camcorder may mean, paradoxically, a higher price tag. It is also likely to affect how often you carry a digital camcorders with you, but, do be aware that some tiny camcorders do have limited capabilities and features, when compared with slightly larger models.

You should be aware that even the steadiest hand is not steady enough to shoot video footage that is completely free from camera shake, or vibration, so, unless you are intending to use a tripod, full time, you may like to consider a digital camcorder with image stabilisation, of some kind. “Optical" image stabilisation is the more sophisticated, and expensive, of the two forms available; it employs a gyroscope, and physically moves the camcorder lens assembly, to counteract any shaking of the camcorder. “Digital" image stabilisation is less effective, and attempts, via software control, to repair the effects of vibration on an image, before it is recorded.


A large LCD (“Liquid Crystal Display") screen can make it much easier to see what you are recording, or provide a useful alternative to the viewfinder in awkward situations, but do bear in mind that this is also likely to increase the size, and price tag, of a digital camcorder. Try, if at all possible, to get your hands on your chosen model, look through the viewfinder, and press some of the buttons, to make sure that it is comfortable, and easy to use, before you actually part with your cash.