Filming on the move
Namrata Dadwal August 21, 2009
Whether you want to record memories or star in your own whacky movie, a camcorder is your best option. Here are the features you should consider before buying one.
A crucial consideration for camcorder users is the zoom range of the optical lens. An optical zoom between 10x and 20x is generally sufficient. Camcorders often promise a very high digital zoom, but don’t be tempted as an increase in digital zoom worsens the image quality.
Modes & Sound
You can now record videos in high resolutions of 720p, 1080i and 1080p, all of which are good options. The 1080i offers an interlaced (alternate lines are recorded) resolution of 1920x1080, while 720p provides a progressive (recording without skipping lines) resolution of 1280x720.
There are two types of image sensors, CCD and CMOS. They’re equally good, so you should concentrate on the size of the sensor. A larger sensor gives better image quality. So, a 1/3-inch CCD scores over a 1/6-inch CCD. In fact, a bigger sensor with fewer pixels is a better buy than a smaller sensor with more pixels.
These camcorders use small cassettes and are among the cheapest in the market. The problem is that you cannot skip the tape and the recording time is short, usually about an hour.
These camcorders record on a DVD or mini-DVD. This makes it easy to skip and search. However, recording time is limited to the size of the DVD and you’ll need to keep buying fresh stocks of DVDs.
Some camcorders let you record directly on a sizeable hard disk drive. This helps to keep their size small and you cut down on the cost of buying new DVDs or tapes.
If you want a compact camcorder, go for one that uses a memory card. Even camcorders that use different formats often have a slot for memory cards.