There’s never been a better time to buy a digital video camera. Prices are lower than ever, the camcorders are packed with features, and editing software is cheap and easy to use.
Unfortunately, there’s also never been a more confusing time to buy a digital video camera. There are so many different formats competing for your money, it’s almost impossible to know which one to go for. Should you buy a Mini DV camcorder, or a DVD camcorder? What about solid state (flash memory), or hard disk? And is now the time to bite the bullet and buy a high definition video camera?
Confusion reigns, and it’s not helped by manufacturers releasing new models with improved features and lower prices every few months.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce the confusion and give yourself a clear idea of which type of video camera is the best for you.
Below are seven questions you should ask yourself before you studio a single feature list or read a single review.
• What do I want to use the camcorder for?
• Will I be mostly using it indoors or outdoors?
• Do I want to edit the footage I shoot?
• Do I want the camcorder to be a stills camera too?
• How important is the quality of the video I shoot?
• Is audio quality important
• Will I use a tripod with the camcorder?
The answers to these questions will influence which type and model of camcorder you buy. For example, if you want to be able to edit your video footage on a PC or Mac, you should choose a Mini DV camcorder. And if you are likely to use a tripod, you should choose a camcorder which loads its media from the side or top, rather than one which loads from the bottom.
By answering these questions and learning what the jargon that manufacturers are so fond of means, you can make sure that when you come to buy your camcorder, its exactly what you want and not a costly mistake.