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?


Disc-based camcorders

Tape is not the only option when it comes to DV camcorders, for there is a variety of different media including mini DVD discs, removable storage and even hard drives.

DVD-based camcorder

DVD video cameras are one of the fastest growing formats on the market due to their familiarity and ease of use. Most of the big camcorder manufactuers have released DVD-based camcorders that can record from around 20 minutes up to 1 hour of MPEG-2 video (depending on the quality selection) directly to small 8cm DVD that can then be played directly in a home-based DVD player.

It is the best format for people who want to watch their home movies quickly, without any fuss. Because the discs can be played on most DVD players, there is no need to muck around with cables or computers before you watch the footage on your TV - simply transfer the disc from your camera to your DVD player.

One disadvantage of DVD camcorders is that they are not well suited for extensive editing. While it is possible to transfer DVD footage to a computer for editing, it can be a complicated process and the video quality can suffer during the conversion. Some DVD models from Panasonic and Sony record in high definition, using the AVCHD recording format. However, you will need a Blu-ray disc player or other compatible device to view these movies on your TV.

It's important to determine the compatibility with your home DVD player before going with a DVD Camcorder, as users are presented with the same -RW, +RW compatibility issues that exist with PC-based DVD recorders. The latest DVD-based camcorders also provide support for write-once discs such as DVD-R and DVD+R, which means that, once finalised, the disc can be played on most DVD players without any trouble.

Hard drive-based camcorders, utilising a non removable drive (about the same dimensions as one used in a notebook) to store video straight to the drive, have been around for some time. Hard disk camcorders operate by storing captured video in either MPEG-2, MPEG-1 or AVCHD format. Limitations include the inability to add additional storage, as well as the relative fragility when compared to other storage options such as Flash Memory and CD-based media. However, new models are entering the marketplace with increasingly impressive storage capabilities. The HDR-SR8E, for example, has a built-in 100GB hard drive, capable of recording up to 38 hours of high-definition footage.

Hard drive-based camera

Some companies have released camcorder models that rely on flash media - such as Memory Stick Pro Duo and Express Cards - for recording purposes. This has led to the release of a series of pocket-sized camcorders that can record over an hour of high-quality MPEG-2 video. Thanks to improved storage capacities in removable memory, some of these models can even capture high-definition video. Unfortunately, the current price of MS cards and related media (i.e. - $100 and up) makes these cameras expensive to run if you plan to record lots of footage.

Removable media-based camera



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

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

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

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?