Travel adventures, family activities, and sporting events are just a few of the moments and memories people like to capture on video. Digital still cameras and smartphones are both decent for capturing basic videos that are easily shareable on social media, but for high-quality videos that you can save, edit, and share with friends and family, it may be worth your while to invest in a camcorder.
These compact personal video cameras have been a popular choice with amateur videographers of all types for years, offering video specific features that you just can't find in a still camera or video app.
Before you start shopping for a camcorder, it's important to consider how you want to use it.
Camcorders come at all price points, but different models are suited for different activities; for instance, visual features will be more important if you plan to shoot things like sporting events, while audio qualities will be your primary concern if you plan to record concerts.
Today's camcorders are more compact, and more powerful, than ever before. They come with clear zoom capabilities, GPS identification, or geotagging, and many other features.
Some even allow you to shoot in 3D or ultra high-definition 4K resolution, and may even have a built in projector so you can share your video with an audience immediately. Many models are very small, even small enough to mount on a helmet or jacket, and have rugged casings available so you can take them with you on extreme adventures.
Some camcorders will allow you to immediately upload your video to YouTube or Facebook, while others make it easy to email a digital file or download onto a disc. The vast majority of camcorders use memory cards for storage, but some include an internal memory chip; depending on how much you plan to shoot, you may need to supplement internal memory with an additional card. You will also want to be sure to transfer any videos to your computer or an external hard drive, so you don't lose it and can free up memory for future videos.
There are several types of camcorders, each suited to particular types of video recording:
- Mainstream camcorders are the most common and best suited to home videos and other personal uses.
- Advanced camcorders have more features, and are a great option for professional videographers.
- Pocket camcorders are popular with bloggers.
They are extremely compact, although may be lacking in video quality.
- Wearable or mountable camcorders allow you to record video from your point of view. These have protective casings and can be attached to vehicles, your body, surfboards, bicycles, and other items to record high action.
GoPro is one of the top players in the camcorder market, offering high-definition, waterproof and shockproof cameras that are perfect for active filmmakers.
With mounts designed to fit almost any surface, GoPro users can take their cameras anywhere they go. Sony is another major brand, with the widest variety of camcorders on the market, ranging from their classic Handycam line all the way to professional-level cameras.