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Digital Camcorder Buying Tips

Apr 5, 2008
To be able to buy the perfect digital camcorder for you, it is important to arm your self with a few good tips before you your purchase. This will ensure that you do not wind up with a digital camcorder that does not meet your needs or expectations. Outlined below in no particular order are a few tips to help you along the way.

Take a Look at the LCD screen in daylight, if at all possible

You need to ensure that you can use the LCD screen under any lighting conditions as certain screens tend to fade out in bright sunlight. Use the view fiinder if you're unable to view the images on the screen in bright day light. Using the view finder will not only get the job done but also extend your battery life.

The lens's optical zoom ration is more important than digital zoom ration

With a digital zoom, the camcorder is merely making the image larger through the viewfinder as opposed to actually delivering a closer look. The optical zoom spec is more expedient in that respect and you'll want at least 10X optical zoom.

Buy an additional higher-capacity battery for longer recording times

The normal battery that comes with majority of camcorders usually only last an hour or so. For $50 to $100, you can purchase a longer-lasting battery, so consider that into your cost if you think you'll need it. There's nothing more frustrating than running out of power in the middle of recording an important event!

Better audio results can be achieved with front mounted microphones

Buying a front mounted microphone camcorder is is better than a camcorder with the microphone mounted on top. Rather than the camcorder capturing the event being recorded, the top mounted microphone has the tendency to capture the voice of the person using the camcorder.

For best sound buy an external microphone

If the camcorder you're interested in buying has the ability to connect an external microphone, then factor in an extra $50 to $100 for an external microphone as this will give you the best sound possible .

Play and familiarize your self with the camcorder's controls and features before you purchase

If you have large hands it will be better to buy a bigger camcorder if it's more comfortable to handle because the smallest camcorders can ocassionally be difficult to use.

Examine exposure controls and Low-light options

Even though all digital camcorders come with a fully automatic modes certain models are equipped with manual and semi-manual exposure modes which allow you to record at slower shutter speeds, allow you to adjust the apperture settings to permit more light to enter as well as a low-light option to be able to shoot in the dark using infrared light or long shutter mode.

Wide-screen shooting capability and your format

Knowing which format the camcorder records in is very important. The most common formats used are Mini-DVD discs and MiniDV tapes but the most widely available format is the MiniDV tape. Also if you have a HDTV, you'll get a full picture with no black bars at top or buttom if you record with a wide-screen model.
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We assist consumers evaluate, select, and purchase new high-tech products like HDTV and also provide them with free impartial reviews like advice on buying a digital camcorder that fits their personal needs.
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