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Digital camcorders are the next generation of movie cameras for those who like to make home videos.

If you enjoy making home movies or want to start capturing footage of special moments, then a digital camcorder is a must for you.  

A digital camcorder, or digital video cameras, completely outclasses its analog counterparts in terms of image quality, performance and flexibility. They donít have video noise and the picture quality is virtually the same in LP and SP modes. Digital camcorders are simple to handle as well.  

Now there are hundreds of types and makes of digital camcorders available in the market. And all of them are backed by extensive advertising, which shows no mercy in using high phrases and words describing its features. Most likely, a person who is visiting a camcorder shop is going to lose himself in this camcorder deluge. How to differentiate chalk from cheese? Also, a digital camcorder comes loaded with some basic features that are common with every other model in business. What options make a camera stand out from the rest and what facilities should one be looking for in a digital camcorder? The basic thing one should keep in mind is that the camera purchased should have the right features, at a reasonable price.  

Digital camcorders come in MiniDV and Digital8 formats. With both types, there is hardly any apparent difference in terms of the quality of picture or sound quality Ė much more depends on optics, CCD and electronic components involved in a given model.  

MiniDV types are light weight compared to its D8 counterparts. In terms of compatibility, D8 are compatible with older models where as MiniDV is tuned to the future. In some MiniDV, one could store additional information on the aforementioned chip. Otherwise, both the models provide similar features. Currently D8 is cheaper than MiniDV.  

If one plans to purchase a digital camcorder supplied by Sony, the lower priced ones uses D8 and the expensive ones are MiniDV types. The latter comes with more features as well.  

Optical stabilization system, FireWire (IíLink) input/out, powerful digital zoom, and A/V and S-Video inputs are some of the common features in any digital camcorder. But various models differ in the level of implementation of several additional features, which ultimately decide the price tag. A prospective buyer should go through the specs and the provided accessories list to find out if the camera has all the required features.  

The picture quality of similar models of popular brands does not usually have a marked difference. Panasonic and Sony are two popular suppliers in camcorder market and both the players have a similar performance in terms of picture and volume. But both rivals its competitor when it comes to features.   

Sony boasts superior image stabilizers while Panasonic has an edge in mechanics, low-light performance, and reliability. But such differences are not overwhelming and the tide could reverse with the next model.     

The bottom line is that you should buy a digital camcorder only based on its performance, features and accessories you really need, convenience and the price tag. With top brands, the basic level of performance is guaranteed. One cannot go wrong there. Hence the focus should be on comparing the features for similar models.

These are the best places to purchase digital camcorders online:

Digital camcorders - Sony
 Save up to $200 instantly on select Sony Handycam Camcorders at the official Sony Store. Ends 3/31/06.

Digital Camcorders - Pansasonic
Panasonic offers an unparalleled line of digital cameras and camcorders

digital camcorders -
JVC Professional Video equipment at great prices

Here are some related articles:

Buying a digital camera 
Learn about what to look for when buying a digital camera.

Digital Photography Software 
Learn what makes the best digital photography software.

Digital Camera Lenses
Learn about different types of digital camera lenses.

What is the difference between viewfinders and LCD's?

Used Digital Cameras 
Learn why a used camera is a good buy.


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