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Buying A Usable Camcorder

Aug 19, 2007
It is all to easy these days to comparison shop on the internet for almost everything that you need to buy. You can easily check out the best features list and compare the prices for the best buy. But for camcorders will it be the best buy and will you be making the wrong choice.

There is nothing better than a hands on approach to buying your digital camcorder. Doing your initial research online to weed out the poor camcorders is fine but at some stage you need to visit a store and actually handle the camcorders to see how they feel in your hand and see if they are easy to operate. Maybe you have long slender fingers or short fat ones and find using the controls difficult. Will you be able to find all the features and will you need to be a 'techie' just to use the basic menu commands.

If you find your propective new HDD camcorder difficult to operate then you can bet your life that other people will be in the same boat. We are not buying a $3000 pro-camcorder here but just a basic camcorder good enough to make videos for your website. If you find it difficult then look elsewhere and let the manufacturers worry about producing what customers really want.

Despite the fact that there is an industry that specialices in 'Usability Research' or 'User Centered Design' manufacturers still produce camcorders that get low marks in reviews. Maybe they don't listen to the afore mentioned people or are confident that their camcorders will sell anyway. Here are a few things to look out for when handling a camcorder.

Tiny Buttons: Can be difficult to press the right button without touching another one. Best avoided unless you have tiny hands.

Confusing Icons: Check to see if the icons are industry standard and easily understood or are there strange looking ones that will not prompt you at all.

Menu Labyrinth: This can be a real problem for most people but do look to see that the main camcorder menu functions are easily found and accessible.

Speed: When you choose a menu item does it react quickly or is there a built in lag which can become tedious as you grow more confident and use different settings.

Idiot Proof: How easy is it to mess up and do something catastrophic like wiping out the memory card.

Do try out the camcorders but remember the more help you get from an assistant then the more obligated you should feel to purchase. Don't assume that the camcorder will be easier to use after you have purchased it. If you can't figure out how to operate it now then you might be in the same position in a months time.

Finally, don't be seduced by the latest technology. Give it time and read reviews and let any improvements be made before committing to the technology. After all miniDV has been around over ten years and is still great technology for website video producers.
About the Author
Bruce Walls writes about using video on your website to increase traffic. You can read this article and more at WebsiteVideoGuide
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