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Digital Camcorder Recommendations

Hello all, My sibling and I want to buy a Digital Camcorder for our parents as their Christmas gift. We need something:

  1. Easy to Use
  2. Takes quality video
  3. Possibly takes quality stills
  4. Reliable
  5. As durable as possible
  6. Under $700 unless something a bit more will give us a far better product.
  7. Easy to use

What brands, specific cameras would you recommend???
Anything else I should consider when buying said camcorder???
Any other useful tips, opinions appreciated.

Thanks,
TheSicilian

I know some of you exhibitionists have digital camcorders…I’ve seen some of you on youtube…any ideas would be greatly apreciated, thanks.

Try to get a camera with 3 CCD chips instead of one for better picture quality. You should be able to find one for under $700.

If you want to edit your footage, get a miniDV camera instead of one that records onto a DVD because the compression that is used for DVD will cause the footage to lose quality during the editing process.

[quote]Outside wrote:
Try to get a camera with 3 CCD chips instead of one for better picture quality. You should be able to find one for under $700.

If you want to edit your footage, get a miniDV camera instead of one that records onto a DVD because the compression that is used for DVD will cause the footage to lose quality during the editing process.[/quote]

I saw one that records directly onto the camera’s hardrive. It also takes good stills. Is this a good option??? Thanks

Just get something cheap, because affordable High Definition technology will arrive in a year or two and then you’ll want to switch.

Get something with a digital tape, miniDV is a good example. There are some camcorders that can shoot directly on a DVD, but avoid that like the plague, sooner or later you will want to edit the movie (remove unwanted scenes, etc.) and editing DVDs is nasty.
With a miniDV tape, you have to download the movie on a computer, edit and encode it, before burning a DVD, which sounds like more work, but it’s actually a good thing, since it lets you edit the movie in the best way. The software is quite simple to use.

Do some research. A few sites to get you started:

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/

http://www.digitalcamera-hq.com/camcorders/

http://www.camcorderreviews.net/

http://www.epinions.com/Camcorders

Once you narrow it down to a few makes / models, go to a local store and play with them and make your own opinion.

[quote]TheSicilian wrote:

I saw one that records directly onto the camera’s hardrive. It also takes good stills. Is this a good option??? Thanks

[/quote]

I think the hard drive cameras that are currently on the market have the same problems with compression that the DVD cameras do, so I wouldn’t recommend them.