buying guide camcorder

pocket camcorders.

pocket camcorders

Ultraportable and convenient, pocket camcorders tuck in a pocket and catch life as it happens with one-touch recording. High-definition models offer resolutions up to 1080p.

traditional camcorders

Want more features? Choose a camcorder with optical zoom and the ability to add on accessories such as microphones, lights, or a monitor to ensure you're getting the shot you want.

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good-to-know terms.

standard definition vs.high def

Everyday standard definition video offers 720 x 480 resolution, while high definition video is 1920 x 1080 resolution, and is best viewed on an HDTV to fully appreciate the clarity.

flash vs. hard drive memory

Flash memory is available via memory card or is built into the camera, and is perfect for everyday shooting. Upgrade to a built-in hard drive for more memory and recording time.

features to look for:

image stabilizer

Unless you are using a tripod, it's almost impossible to hold a camera perfectly still, especially when you're zoomed in. An image stabilizer eliminates much of the shaking in your video.

face detection

This technology seeks out the features of a face, then auto-focuses on that spot, so you can start recording right away, without having to worry about your video being blurry.

zoom lens

Optical zoom uses your camcorder's lens to get up close to your subject, while digital zoom enlarges your shotâ??but be careful: Too-close digital zooming can result in a pixelized movie.

3D capability

It's amazing, and it's really here: camcorders that actually capture 3D photos or video. Use them with a 3D-TV and its specially designed glasses, and you'll see incredible depth and detail.

waterproof

Take videos during your favorite H2O outings, whether it's splashing at the pool with the kids or snorkeling on vacation, no special case or care needed.

still-photo capability

Why travel with two cameras? Many camcorders come with excellent photo-taking features built right in, including a flash and adjustable exposure modes.

nice extras you may want.

digital memory cards

Some camcorders store video onto memory cards; others use them to store still photos. A larger-capacity card ensures you don't run out of memory at a must-get photo opp.

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bags and cases

Protect your camera, plus keep all your accessories right on hand. Look for a case that has protective padding, plenty of pockets and a durable, waterproof exterior.

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batteries and chargers

Get an extra battery pack and rotate it with the battery that comes with your camcorder?it will prolong both batteries' lives. A stand-alone charger ensures the backup battery is always ready to go.

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tripods

A tripod holds your camera steady, making a big difference in your video quality. Look for lightweight models with simple connectors for smooth panning and collapsible design for portability.

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