Digital Video Cameras

They're an ideal way to record footage of your family, friends and those special occasions: but which one is right for you?


DV camcorders: which one to choose?

From the introduction of the first DV camcorder using the MiniDV tape format, the choices of DV camcorder have expanded, and there are now several format options to suit the way that you want to work.

If you want to prepare video for the Web, or to write to DVD or VideoCD with little or no editing of video, a disc-based camcorder may be the ideal solution. DVD cameras record footage onto digital video discs which can then be inserted straight into your DVD player. However, if you want to edit your video on the PC, a tape-based camcorder should be at the top of your list due to its ability to transfer video to the PC in a format suited to editing. MPEG in all its forms is first and foremost a delivery format, which makes it less than ideal when it comes to editing on the PC.


Tape-based camcorders

MiniDV tape-based camcorders are the oldest form of digital video, with the first model arriving in the mid-1990s. A mini-DV cassette is of similar dimensions to an audio cassette and about half the size, with tapes priced from around AUS$10 each. The tapes hold from 45 to 90 minutes of footage and capture an impressive 500 lines of resolution. In recent years, high-definition MiniDV tapes have entered the marketplace, but these will only work with specific HD cameras (more on this later).

The advantages of MiniDV include a proven tape format with widespread availability. Most PCs with a standard FireWire connection will automatically recognise a MiniDV-based camcorder in much the same way that a USB device, such as a printer or scanner, is recognised when connected to a USB connection.

Tape-based camera tot

Digital 8 camcorders allow you to use your old 8mm analogue cassettes while also offering a direct DV connection to your PC, so you can store DV footage on 8mm tape. This solution could be a useful option for schools and learning institutions with a large collection of Hi8 and 8mm tape footage. Note: As of Q3 2007, Sony no longer manufactures Digital8 camcorders, although the tapes are still available to buy from most retailers as well as from Sony's Web site.

Other DV tape formats include DVCam and ProDV, offering high-end features such as a more robust tape construction, lower compression ratio and an interchangeable lens system, specifically designed to appeal to professional moviemakers. These formats should only be considered when working within a professional environment, as prices for such camcorders start at around $10,000 and go much higher.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PC World Staff

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?