Digital Video Cameras | Best Digital Camcorders

Choosing your digital video camcorder

Everyone loves to watch a good movie even when it was made by some friend or relative. To start making and editing your own videos you must have a video camera to begin filming with.

There are several types of cameras with different recording formats (miniDV, DV, DVD-Ram, Hard Drive, etc.), the most important thing before decide which one you want to buy it is to determine the kind of films you intend to make.

If what you are looking for is HD Digital Video Camcorders then I suggest you to visit my other hub.

Of course, the price it is also a very important factor to look at before deciding.

Since the 1990s recording onto digital tape has become the norm.

Starting from early 2000s tape as storage media is being gradually replaced with tape-free solutions like optical disks, hard disk drives and solid-state memory.

All tape-based camcorders have removable media in form of video cassettes.

Solid-state camcorders can have either removable media in form of memory cards, or built-in memory, or both. HDD-based camcorders usually have non-removable media in form of a hard disk drive.

Several choices

I am going to give you a list of 12 digital video cameras in which you will find different prices and specifications from where to choose. From the easiest one to operate to the more complex but that gives you the better image quality, they are arranged by recording formats and not only by prices. This list has been made after researching in magazines and several online reviews.

The first group and still the most used type of video camera nowadays is the miniDV. This format uses digital tapes that record both images and sound and can later be captured directly to your computer.

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Canon ZR830 Mini DV

This one it is a very easy to use camera that will allow you to start filming with good quality. We could say this is what we can call a cheap video camera and so the cheapest way to start your filming “career”. It is possible to shoot digital still pictures with this camera.

Product specifications:

Zoom: Optical 35 X

Image stabilization: Digital

Focus: Automatic

Image properties: 1 X 0.167in CCD

LCD screen: 2.7in (~6.86cm)

Color viewfinder

Digital effects: Neutral, low sharpening, vivid, skin detail

Firewire connectors: 1 X FireWire/i.LINK (IEEE 1394)

RCA connectors: 1 X composite video/audio output

Separate connectors: 1 X microphone

Accessories: Drivers and utilities software

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Sony DCR-HC38 Mini DV

Another digital video camcorder very easy to use and capable of rendering very good videos.

The DCR-HC38 has already a very good optical zoom and allows great amount of digital zoom specially if you use a tripod.

This camera permit to shoot digital still pictures.


Product specifications:

Zoom: Optical 40 X (digital 2000 X)

Image stabilization: Digital

Focus: Automatic, manual

Image properties: 1 X 0.167in CCD

LCD screen: 2.5in (~6.35cm)

Color viewfinder

Video standard: NTSC

Digital effects: Pastel, monotone, solarization, sepia, mosaic, negative art

Firewire connectors: 1 X FireWire/i.LINK (IEEE 1394)

RCA connectors: 1 X composite video/audio output

Accessories: Sony picture motion browser software

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Canon GL2 MiniDV Digital Camcorder + Deluxe Accessory Kit
Canon GL2 MiniDV Digital Camcorder + Deluxe Accessory Kit

The GL2 is a must-have for the person looking for the very best video-making experience. DELUXE ACCESSORY KIT: 3 pc Filter Kit: UV/ Polarizing filter/Fluorescent correction & Case - BP-945 Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack - AC/DC Battery Charger - Video Gadget Bag W/Multi-Configurable Interior Padded Dividers - 5pck 60-90 min Mini DV Cassettes - Deluxe Lens Care Cleaning Kit - Package of LCD Screen Protectors - 4GB SD Secure Digital Memory Card - Full Sized 59.5" Tripod W/Case.

 

Canon GL1 Mini DV

Now we are getting to the semiprofessional video cameras. The GL 1 has great image quality due to the 3 CCD (charge-coupled device) high resolution sensors. This camera beside having self timer and night vision it also allows you to shoot digital still pictures.

Product specifications:

Zoom: Optical 20 X (digital 100 X)

Image stabilization: Optical

Focus: Automatic, manual

Image properties: 3 X 0.25in 270.000 pixels resolution CCD

LUX rating: 6 lux

Audio format: PCM stereo

LCD screen: 2.5in (~6.35cm)

Color viewfinder

Video standard: NTSC

White balance: Automatic, manual

Digital effects: Black and white, slim, stretch, strobe

Firewire connectors: 1 X FireWire/i.LINK (IEEE 1394)

RCA connectors: 1 X composite video/audio (input/output)

S-video connectors: 1 X S-video input/output

Separate connectors: 1 X microphone, 1 X headphones, 1 X DC power output

Accessories: Remote control (infrared), shoulder strap, battery recharger, a/c cable

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Panasonic AG-DVX100B Mini DV

Another great semiprofessional video camera.

This one has even greater image quality due to the three 0.333in CCD high resolution sensors.

This camera compensate the higher image quality with less features available.

Product specifications:

Zoom: Optical 10 X

Focus: Automatic, manual

Image properties: 3 X 0.333in CCD

LCD screen: 3.5in (~8.89cm)

Color viewfinder

Video standard: NTSC

Firewire connectors: 1 X FireWire/i.LINK (IEEE 1394)

RCA connectors: 1 X composite video input/output

S-video connectors: 1 X S-video input/output

Separate connectors: 2 X microphone, 1 X headphones, 1 X audio input/output, 1 X DC power output

Accessories: Remote control, shoulder strap, microphone holder, lens hood, eyepiece, cleaning tape

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Sony HVR-A1U MiniDV (HDV)

This Sony camera it is very equivalent to the Panasonic one except the fact that it also support HDV format.

The HVR-A1U has great image quality due to the high resolution sensors.

This camera allows you to shoot high quality digital still pictures.

Product specifications:

Zoom: Optical 10 X

Image stabilization: Digital

Focus: Automatic, manual

Image properties: 0.333in CCD

LCD screen: 2.7in (~6.86cm)

RCA connectors: 1 X composite video/audio output

S-video connectors: 1 X S-video output

USB connectors: 1 X USB

Separate connectors: 1 X audio input, 1 X headphones, 1 X component video output, 1 X DC power intput

Accessories: Shoulder strap, lens hood, lens cap, microphone, memory stick duo adapter

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If you want to make your films and be able to video edit without having to capture them from the camera to your pc, then you must choose from any DV-Ram or Hard Drive ones.

Sony DCR-DVD7

This one it is the cheapest video camcorder from this selection.

We could say this is the most inexpensive way to start filming directly to DVD.

It is possible to shoot digital still photos with this camera.

Product specifications:

Recording format: 8cm DVD+RW, 8cm DVD-R, 8cm DVD-RW, mini 8cm DVD+RW / -R / -RW

Zoom: Optical 10 X (digital 120 X)

Image stabilization: Digital

Focus: Automatic, manual

Image properties: 1 X 0.167in CCD

LCD screen: 2.5in (~6.35cm)

Digital effects: Old movie, luminance key , sepia, pastel, monotone, mosaic

RCA connectors: 1 X composite video/audio (input/output)

S-video connectors: 1 X S-video input/output

USB connectors: 1 X USB

Separate connectors: 1 X DC power intput

Accessories: Drivers, utilities, Sony picture package software and shoulder strap

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Panasonic VDR-D200

Very similar to the Sony DCR-DVD908E except for the fact of not having zoom.

It is also possible to shoot digital still pictures with this dvd digital camcorder.

Product specifications:

Recording format: 8cm DVD-RAM, 8cm DVD-R, 8cm DVD-RW, mini 8cm DVD-RAM

Image stabilization: Digital

Focus: Automatic, manual

Image properties: 1 X 0.167in CCD

LCD screen: 2.5in (~6.35cm)

Color viewfinder

RCA connectors: 1 X composite video/audio output

S-video connectors: 1 X S-video output

USB connectors: 1 X USB 2.0

Separate connectors: 1 X DC power intput

Accessories: Drivers, utilities, DVD-MovieAlbum SE software, lens cap and shoulder strap

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Sony DCR-DVD908E

Another very good quality digital camera capable of recording on DVD but this time with great image quality. This dvd camera video permit to shoot digital still photos.

Product specifications:

Recording format: 8cm DVD+RW, 8cm DVD+R DL, 8cm DVD+R, 8cm DVD-R, 8cm DVD-RW

Zoom: Optical 10 X (digital 20 X)

Image stabilization: Optical

Focus: Automatic, manual

Image properties: 1 X 0.345in CCD

LCD screen: 2.7in (~6.86cm)

Color viewfinder

Video standard: PAL

Digital effects: Pastel, sepia, black and white, old movie

RCA connectors: 1 X composite video/audio output

USB connectors: 1 X USB

Separate connectors: 1 X DC power intput

Accessories: Sony picture motion browser software and remote control

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Flip Mino Video Camera - White, 2 GB, 1 Hour (1st Generation)
Flip Mino Video Camera - White, 2 GB, 1 Hour (1st Generation)

Mino is a camcorder that goes anywhere. Simply put it in your pocket! Then easily share your video on the web on MySpace, YouTube, and AOL.

 

Flip Mino

I have decided to add the Flip Mino (after suggestion from Cheryl) because it seems like a very good option to be carried around and to make MPEG4 movies with very good quality.

With only 2X digital zoom we can say that´s the main disadvantage of this mini video camera but we can not forget its size which is a great advantage too.

Product specifications:

Recording format: Full VGA, 30 frames per second, MPEG4, 640 x 480

Zoom: digital 2X

LCD screen: 1.5 in

Color LCD screen

TV out and connector cable for instant viewing on TV

USB connectors: 1 X USB

2 GB built-in flash memory

Built-in rechargeable battery (Lithium Ion), charges on both USB and fast AC charger

Accessories: TV connector cable, Wrist strap, Soft carrying case, Quick start guide

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Canon HG10 AVCHD High Definition Camcorder

The HG10 has great image quality due to the 0.37 CCD high resolution sensor. This camera beside having the ability to shoot digital still pictures it is also one of the two cameras in this review that save the videos into a hard drive. The Canon has a hard disk with 40 GB of capacity.

Product specifications:

Zoom: Optical 10 X (digital 200 X)

Focus: Automatic, manual

Image properties: 0.25in 270.000 pixels resolution CCD

LUX rating: 6 lux

Audio format: PCM stereo

LCD screen: 2.5in (~6.35cm)

Color viewfinder

Video standard: NTSC

White balance: Automatic, manual

Digital effects: Black and white, slim, stretch, strobe

Firewire connectors: 1 X FireWire/i.LINK (IEEE 1394)

RCA connectors: 1 X composite video/audio (input/output)

S-video connectors: 1 X S-video input/output

Separate connectors: 1 X microphone, 1 X headphones, 1 X DC power output

Accessories: Remote control (infrared), shoulder strap, battery recharger, a/c cable

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JVC Everio Digital Camcorder

The Everio has great image quality due to the 0.17” CCD image sensor with 680K total pixels and 340K effective pixels.

This camera beside having image stabilization can also make digital still pictures with resolutions up to 640 x 480 resolution.

It saves the videos into a hard drive with 30GB of capacity.

Product specifications:

Zoom: Optical 35 X (digital 800 X)

Focus: Automatic, manual

Image properties: 0.17in CCD

Audio: Dolby Digital AC3

LCD screen: 2.7in (~6.86cm)

Color viewfinder: No

Digital effects: Portrait, spotlight, twilight, sports and snow

Accessories: Remote control, USB cable, shoulder strap, A/V cable, AC adapter and software CD-ROM

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For those who still have not found the digital video camera that fulfill their demands I can only recommend some professional equipment like the following one.

Sony DSR-400K Camcorder

The recording quality is really amazing and the picture quality is the best you can have.

Product specifications:

Recording format: DVCam, mini DVCam

Zoom: Optical 17 X

Focus: Automatic, manual

Image properties: 1 X 0.667in CCD

LCD screen: 2.5in (~6.35cm)

Black and white viewfinder

Video standard: NTSC

Firewire connectors: 1 X FireWire/i.LINK (IEEE 1394)

Separate connectors: 1 x Genlock, 1 x microphone, 1 x audio line-in, 1 x audio line-out, 1 x DC power input, 1 x DC power output

Accessories: Shoulder strap, microphone holder and tripod adapter

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Security Cameras

If what you are looking for is survaillence cameras, please visit this other hubpage of mine:

Security Cameras | Fake Security Cameras

More by this Author


Comments 41 comments

umesh64 profile image

umesh64 8 years ago from Canada

yo funride i actually have 3 of the cameras u showed i also have the accecories


Raven King profile image

Raven King 8 years ago from Cabin Fever

These cameras look very expensive. Three cameras? With all that technology comes a lot of resposibility. Next comes the question how do I come up with interesting footage? What video exercises do you recommend to break through video filmmaker's block?


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

You have really collected a lot of information here. My husband has a kodak which does digital and video. Which is great. But cannot change format to put on here.


prems4u profile image

prems4u 8 years ago from KERALA Cochin

Best is canon . it is difficult to get service for sony.


Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 8 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

Have a couple of Panosonic Video Cams, thanks for the detailedinput you have provided for those who need a guiding hans.


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Thanks for commenting.

umesh6, three cameras! You must do a hub with some of your films ;)

Raven, you´re right. Digital video cameras can be quite expensive but we must remember how good it feels to watch our films some years later. One of the best exercise to start filming is to try record on video our kids in their activities, you´ll see it´s not easy but it gives you good training and best of all, good films ;)

Eileen, have you try to upload to youtube our any other video share website? You´ll see that it´s possible to upload several video formats ;)

prems4u, I suppose services can change depending where you are *rolleyes*. I have a sony miniDV and so far they have fulfill all my needs ;)

Rodney, thanks for your kind comment. What is your opinion about Panasonic video cameras? I´ve never tried one.


monitor profile image

monitor 8 years ago from The world.

I am in love with video cameras. I am not good at using them but I have started by simply taking short videos about things I like. Not sure if anyone else will ever want to see them but I enjoy making them. I always want a better camera and your information is great. Thank you.

You fan.

Mon


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Thanks for passing by, Mon. You would be amazed if you knew how many people will love to watch your movies. You just have to "catch" nice images and perhaps add some music to them. I´m glad you found this information useful ;)


acupuncturepoints profile image

acupuncturepoints 8 years ago

awesome info! TY for the great hub!


salespagetactic profile image

salespagetactic 8 years ago from San Jose

Thanks for the great information. I only have a cheapy camera right now, but I am looking at getting more into photography.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

I need to buy a new video camera, so this review was helpful. Thanks funride!


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Thank you all for such kind comments. I´m glad this hub has been helpful for you.


solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 8 years ago from london

Very nice Funride! I could still very vividly remember, how I was running around with a video camera on my shoulder (that was the time of VHS, SVHS, Hi8, betaSP). And all those football matches, professional lectures, political round tables, wedding and birthday parties, etc. It could be so exhausted, sometimes.

Today, I prefer (Full) High Definition with hard disk drive, which are just so very good, considering the quality of the picture and simplicity of later digital video editing. And all these technology is so very cheap, these days, if I compare it with the time, when I was dreaming about my own TV...


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Yes, today it´s much more simple and lighter to cary video cameras around :) . The ones with hard disk drive are still a little expensive and with small capacity but no doubt they are the most practical of all. I remember shooting with my father Hi8 but now with my minidv I get better quality images, it´s much lighter, much easy to edit the videos and, best of all, after all these years they cost half the price of the hi8s of my father :D .


Dumbledore profile image

Dumbledore 8 years ago from Somewhere in Ohio

Many digital cameras will capture video clips. This is handy when you need to record a short clip and do not want to cary anything around much larger than a credit card.


Abhinaya 8 years ago

Funride thanks for so much of info on digital cameras.I think my camera needs a change after reading this.Great hub and thumbs up!


BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 8 years ago

I have a digital camera using flash cards. It could take videos but less expensive compared to the DV cams you have shown. DV cams are about 2x more expensive than an ordinary digital camera. If you are not a professional photographer anyway, digicams are more advisable to use.


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Thank you all for your comments. It´s true that one can use a digital camera to take some shoots but it will never get the image and sound quality as if it was made with a digital video camera. Unless, of course, the digital camera it´s very good and in that case the price will not differ so much from the DV´s prices.


lavenderstreak profile image

lavenderstreak 8 years ago from Seattle

Nice hub, funride. If you REALLY want a light video camera, check out the Flip Mino. I'm loving it. It's great for shooting MP4s to upload to YouTube or put on your website and it's about the size of an iPhone.

Cheryl


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Thanks Cheryl, I have never heard about Flip Minos and I loved the concept. I´ll research some more and will add it to this hub ;)


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi funride. OKay I am bookmarking this hub. When Dayzeebee and I would want to do some things that need a video, this is a good resource hub. And you need to help us too! LOL Thanks...now I better save up for this! :)


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Thank you Michelle, I will be most glad to be able to help you both on your first video adventure LOL. Have you chose which camera would be the best for you?


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi funride :) hmmm... maybe the first two canon Zr830 or sony DCR HC38. :) Between the two, which is better?


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

That´s not an easy question but I would say they are both very nice cameras for beginners. To select one of them I would go for the Sony. Why? Because I had/have several of them (Hi8, miniDV) and they always performed very well. No matter which one you choose one thing I know for sure: you´ll have lots of fun while filming and editing your movies ;)


selena 7 years ago

i really need to buy a camera can you help me


funride profile image

funride 7 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Selena, of course I´ll try to help you. First I need to know what kind of use you intend to give to your camera. It´s also important to know how much you´re wiling to pay for your new camera. Have you ever play with a video camera?


Sandy 7 years ago

Nice looking cameras. I bought an expensive one, because my daugther needed it for college. Someday, when she brings it home, I will learn how to use it.


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 7 years ago

Great hub. There are so many online marketing possibilities with a camcorder/video camera. I've never had one but hey, maybe I should!


funride profile image

funride 7 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Sandy, thanks for commenting. I wish all the success for your daughter`s career ;)

You`re right Mulberry, videos are a great way to promote yourself and/or your products ;)


Perry Williams 7 years ago

Great Information funride...........


flipvideoman 7 years ago

You have really collected a lot of information here.I only have a digital compact camera right now, but I am looking at getting a video camcorder... thanks for your information...


joseph d. clean 7 years ago

thanks for the information, it has really helped me alot and I also like to get a camera of mine own,I don't know if you can help me


funride profile image

funride 7 years ago from Portugal Author

Hey Joseph, thanks for passing by and comment on my hub. What kind of help do you need?

Intended use, money you have to spend on your new camera and your experience with other video cameras... this are information that would help me to give you some advises ;)

If you prefer you can always contact me through the Contact funride link on the top right of this hub.


Emily 7 years ago

Hi, I was also looking for help in selecting a camera, wonder if you would recommend something? I'd appreciate it.

Here are the main uses, also needs to be around 150$ or less if possible :)

I'm a complete novice except having used my sisters videocam a couple of times a few years back.

1. Want to record myself playing piano and upload to web page.

2. Want to record sessions with my therapist, lighting conditions are pretty variable. Sometimes it is a VERY small space.

Also would like to ask probably a dumb question, but what if you want to take your video and play it back to someone, the little LCD screen that comes with the camera is so small. Is there another option?

And I like the idea of being able to watch it on your TV, if you can get one that will do that cheaply.

Thanks!

From Emily


funride profile image

funride 7 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Emily, thanks for passing by ;)

I´ll try to anwser you and give you some help. First I would say that with that money you´ll not find anything better than the Flip Mino unless you try some digital photo camera with video and sound capability (there are lots of them in the market). The problem is you probably won´t get the same quality (image and sound)...

As to watch your videos on TV you´ll have no problem as almost every digital video cameras allow to connect with televisions and play video ;)

BTW, you can always try to find a good deal on eBay or perhaps a second hand video camera.

When you find your camera and record your piano lessons don´t forget to share them with me ;)


laswi profile image

laswi 7 years ago from Sri Lanka

Thanks for the information. It will be very useful for me.


funride profile image

funride 7 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Laswi, thanks for commenting. I´m glad it was helpful ;)


chandanakumarct profile image

chandanakumarct 7 years ago from Bangalore

Good Collection of Digital CamCorders. Excellent Hub. Thumbs up.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 7 years ago from Templeton, CA

This is very helpful, since I'm thinking about buying a video camera and know little about them. It's nice to have someone else help with the research.


rivanx profile image

rivanx 6 years ago from jogjakarta

thasnkk for info to digital


Dwayne strawn 4 years ago

Thanks for all the info,on cameras.

I'm in the process for a hiring a editor, cinematography for a 5 video documentaries .I'm very new to all of this.My years in hoverer in 25 years plus in business start ups will come into pay while allowing the experts to what they do.I plan on purchasing the best listed for initial projects. In essence all those with vast experience in the film area and located in the Northwest area.

I would like to in speak with.

Projects will be starting end of April

Thanks,

Dwayne Strawn

Dwaynestra@aol.com

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