How to Buy a Digital Camcorder

A digital camcorder offers the ability to preserve memories and document special events. There are many types of camcorders available at a variety of price points. The key is to choose the right one for your needs.

The amount of digital camcorder choices can be overwhelming or intimidating. By following the steps below, you can buy the right camcorder for you. Make sure to bring with you print outs on models and brands from research and reviews.

Step 1: Learn More

Check on the Internet for articles and reviews on digital camera brands. This will help you determine what features you want prior to making your purchase.

Step 2: Determine Your Budget

You can narrow down your choices by determining the amount or acceptable price range of how much you want to pay for a camcorder. This will give you a good starting point for your search.

Step 3: Operating Ease and Functionality

The most important goal for choosing a digital camcorder is to find one that is easy to use while offering the functions you desire. The camcorder should sit comfortably in your hand and mount easily to a tripod if used. Make sure that the buttons are able to be reached easily and the interface and menus are easy to understand and navigate.

While a digital camcorder with a lot of features may sound beneficial, a simpler camcorder may be a better choice for you.

Step 4: Lighting Options

Most digital camcorders are designed to be used indoors. If you will be using your camcorder outdoors or where lighting may be poor, you will want to choose one that offers settings to accommodate these conditions.

Step 5: Sound Recording Strength

Camcorders typically include a built in microphone for recording sound. Depending on the model, the recording strength can vary. If sound is an important aspect to your filming, you will need to choose a camcorder that will record sound effectively.

Step 6: Optical Zoom

Comparing the optical zoom offered in a digital camcorder is similar to comparing one in a digital camera. You want to look for good image stabilization in higher optical zoom measurements. For beginners, you can start with a 10 times to 20 times optical zoom. For more experienced users, you can go higher.

Step 7: Media Choices

Some digital camcorders offer a variety of media types where you can record your video. A basic camcorder will include options to record in DVD or Mini DV format. These are the easiest to use. Other options can include recording on Mpeg, CD or AVI.

Step 8: Battery Life

A very important thing to consider is battery life. Most digital camcorders offer at least an hour of battery life. You can choose to upgrade to a longer battery life for approximately $50 to $100 dollars more.

The type of battery offered is also important. It is recommended to buy a camcorder that uses lithium ion batteries as they are long lasting and are typically integrated with the camcorder.

Rechargeable or alkaline batteries are not recommended for digital camcorders, as they do not offer the right strength and can drain quickly.

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