The mug's guide to buying a high-def camcorder

Essential tips for buying the ultimate HD camcorder

So it's that time of year again (i.e. - tax time), and you've decided to treat yourself — or surreptitiously 'treat' your spouse — to a high-definition camcorder. It's the last piece of hardware you need for that Full HD lifestyle, and something no AV enthusiast should be without. After all, you've already forked out an ungodly amount of cash on a HDTV and Blu-ray player, so what's a couple of extra grand, eh? Even if the purchase leads to a worldwide economic recession and ostracism from your friends and family, it'll be worth it for all those high-def colours. [Er, possibly — Ed.]

But before you throw down your hard-earned cash in these uncomfortably stingy times, ask yourself a question: do you know which camcorder is best for you? Or are you, in fact, a mug? If you're not 100 per cent sure, chances are you have the word chump, dupe or sucker tattooed across your forehead. (You can probably see it in the reflected gleam of the store clerk's greedy eyes.) Before you know it, you'll be walking out of the shop with an obsolete handycam packed with features you'll never need or use.

However, there's no need to cower in the shadows like the Elephant Man: a bit of research will wipe those spectral slogans away. Armed with the knowledge contained in this article, you'll be able to pick the perfect camcorder without being horribly fleeced in the process. To go from video mug to video maestro, buck up your chin and read on!

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Chris Jager

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