Camcorder Buying Guide – How to Get It Right the First Time



By Anne Ahira

What Type Of Camcorder Is Right For You?

Which camcorder you choose will depend upon your purpose in buying the camcorder. It also depends on how often you use your camcorder and how much you want to spend. 

If you are buying a camcorder online, you will find thousands of camcorder choices ranging from the low end to the high-end professional camcorder.

There will be analog, digital, high definition, professional, digital DVD and mini DVD, and that is just the start of it. Because you can choose optical zoom sizes, display sizes, sensor technology and then finally price. With all those factors to consider before purchasing a camcorder it is no wonder buying a camcorder is confusing.

However, camcorder buying can be easier if you decide on a just a couple of things first. In addition, before going off to buy your new camcorder, know a few things like, how portable you want it to be. How technically inclined the person using the camcorder is. How much do you want to learn to be able to make full use of the camcorder’s capabilities? How do you want it to display and naturally what price range you are hoping to find.

Camcorder Uses

If you want a small sized camcorder you can whip out of your pocket at any time and record some special moment, but do not plan to use it often, then a Mini DVD Camera might well suit your purpose in terms of portability, display and use. These cameras can be found under the $300 mark online and are suitable for the at home but not very technical minded photographer.

You can pick one with a USB port that will let you edit your camcorder videos with a PC or enjoy as is these camcorders usually have a low learning curve and can produce decent quality spontaneously without requiring much technical expertise on the part of the person using it.

If you use your camcorder to capture motion, especially things such as sporting events, camping trips (wildlife maybe)  where you won’t have the chance to download your film immediately  you may prefer a camcorder with a high resolution and a hard drive. A camcorder such as a JVC Everio with a 30 GB Hard Disk Drive and a 10X optical zoom may be what you are looking for in terms of budget and purpose.

It performs reasonably well in low lighting situations. This camcorder holds up to 30 hours of video and comes with monitor that shows how much life your battery has left. Better results and crisper pictures in low light or demanding situations may require a steeper learning curve and more expertise on the part of the videographer.

Since there are more options there will be more to know to make the most of this camcorder, which is still a great one for the non-professional. There is a huge selection of camcorders with hard disk drives and with many options, you can select the type that fits your budget and purpose and many can be found under $600.

Professionals use camcorders should have far more extras on them, video editing capability with popular editing software, HD and a high frame per second capture rate, HD formats  which is higher resolution and superior in definition to the standard videos, and an on the spot LCD monitor is handy for purposes such as shooting weddings.

These camcorders are usually significantly higher even on sale than the ordinary home use camcorder but then again they are also far more configurable with higher quality results.

When Buying Your New Camcorder – Put It All Together

You know your budget, you know the level of technical expertise you have, you know also if you want to edit the videos you have taken with your camcorder and if you want a flash drive or a hard drive. It is time to put it all together and go shopping. If you have a favored brand and style then it is all over, you know what you can pay and you shop for a sale locally or go online and see what deals are there.

If you do not yet know, which camcorder suits you exactly then you can shop at a retailer and remember your budget or shop with an online merchant. If you shop online, you will stand a better chance of finding a sale and often a larger selection of camcorders.

Before making a purchase, online or at a local retailer find out about the return policy. If you cannot return a purchase (unless it is a sale item specifically marked) then it may not be the camcorder or merchant for you. Nothing could be worse than getting that new camcorder home and finding it was not what you believed it to be or it does not work at all. Extended warranties, do you want one, are they available, how long is the standard warranty and what does it cover?

Do you need extras to make your camcorder work? A portable camcorder will usually require batteries; do those batteries come with your purchase? How long do they last and are they specialized driving the purchase cost up?

If you plan to edit your videos from your new camcorder, does it come with editing software? Do you need to purchase a connecting cable such as a fire wire? If you plan to watch your videos on TV straight from the camcorder, how is it connected will you need anything special?

If you are shopping, online for that new camcorder, you can often find customer reviews on a particular brand or model of camcorder and these can be useful for helping you make your choice. If a camcorder is advertised as simple to use but requires a lot, more expertise than the beginner possesses then you can be sure other consumers will mention it.

That is many questions but they are important to your final satisfaction in your purchase and can help make sure that the money you spend on this new camcorder is well spent.

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