How to Choose a Digital Video Camera

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We are living in a very technology driven society. Many people are now expanding from using old analog cameras to digital cameras and digital video cameras. Here are some guidelines to help you sort through your choices.


  1. Determine whether you want a camera that records onto tapes or discs. - Tapes and discs are just two of the formats onto which digital video can be recorded. Others record digital video onto a hard disk drive or memory card.
  2. Find a video camera with many pixels. - Digital pictures are made up of hundreds of thousands of tiny dots of light arranged in a grid. Each of dots is called a "picture element" or a pixel. The greater the number of pixels, the clearer your images will be, and the more realistic colors your camera will be able to capture.
  3. Find a video camera with a large CCD chip. - Pixel information is captured on a CCD chip behind the lens, the same way film captures light for a film camera. These chips come in different sizes. Most home camcorders have chips between 1/6-inch to 1/3-inch. The larger the CCD, the more light is taken in with the image, resulting in brighter pictures with better colors.
  4. Find a video camera that has good low light performance. - As most home camcorders are used indoors, it is important to find a camera that can perform well in low light conditions. The better models will not only have a number of automatic mode settings in their menus for dark conditions, but will also allow you to manually set features such as the iris and shutter speed to allow more light into the camera.
  5. Find a video camera that is able to zoom well. - On a digital camera there are 2 types of zoom. Digital and optical. Optical zooms are the important ones, as they maintain picture clarity.
Find a video camera with good image stability. - Apart from lowlight, the second biggest complaint for picture quality is shaky pictures. However, the most important feature for stability is how comfortable you are with the camera. Pick it up, imagine operating it. Try it in the store, if you can. Is the weight distribution
  1. comfortable in your hand? Can you access the controls without fumbling for them?
  2. Find a video camera with the type of interconnectivity you would like. - Each camcorder will come with a number of sockets in the back to allow you to connect the video camera to a VCR or DVD recorder to transfer images, or to a computer for editing. Most have the sockets for the old fashioned red white and yellow audio-visual leads for connection to VCR and DVD recorders, but some also have S-video ports.
  3. Find a video camera with an LCD screen. - Most modern camcorders actually come with LCD screens to view what youre filming and to review what youve already filmed. These screens use up the battery very quickly, and can also be hard to view in strong daylight, so it may be worth checking the camera also has a traditional viewfinder.
  4. Find a video camera with good sound quality. - Unfortunately, most built-in microphones on digital camcorders suffer from picking up handling noise from your camera. If sound is important to you, check whether you can fit an external microphone to your camera. Also look for a headphone socket to monitor what you are recording.
  5. Tips

    • Another important factor is the number of chips. 3 chip cameras have a different chip for capture each primary color - red, green and blue. 3-chip cameras give you far more vivid colors.
    • Some camcorders have an option called "gain" to help with filming in dark conditions. Using gain boosts the light levels being recorded, but be aware that the picture quality will suffer when using this function.
    • Some models even come with a night vision function, making it possible to shoot in pitch black conditions.
    • Some camcorders boast massive digital zooms, but all they are doing is enlarging a part of the existing picture, which means there are less pixels and the image becomes less clear.
    • Check what connections are on your computer, VCR or DVD recorder to ensure they are compatible with the Digital Video Camera you wish to purchase.
    • Try to balance the cost of the camera with the features you want on it. You want good specifications, of course, but until you become skilled at operating a video camera, you may not need high-end features.

Related wikiHows

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  • How to Clean a 35mm Film Camera and Lens
    • How to Use an HDV (High Definition Video) Camera
    • Sources and Citations

      • Original source of this information. Shared with permission.

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