Last Minute Shopping Tips:
Choosing the Right Camcorder

Robyn Norgan
Dec 21, 2012

...and the Right Camcorder Accessory - .TV!

If you're celebrating Christmas, then I regret to inform you that this weekend is the last weekend for Christmas shopping. That's right procrastinators - I'm talking to you. Some of you may have been using the end of the world as an excuse, but since we're all still here (at least so far), it's time to get out there and complete (or in some cases start) your shopping.

If you're shopping for a friend or family member who loves electronic toys, a camcorder is the perfect gift. Now you might be thinking, "oh but everyone already has a camera and video recorder on their phone!" That may be true, but although phones today have better cameras than actual cameras from a few years ago, they just don't quite cut it. For someone that loves capturing video, a camcorder can make a huge difference in the video quality.

There are several options available on camcorders today, so the first thing to do is think about your "audience," which in this case would be the person who will be using the camcorder. Are they going to be using it on the go while traveling the world? Size and portability will be important, so they can easily carry it to anywhere and everywhere. Are they a parent who wants to capture their kids important moments? Kids are always moving around, so image stabilization will be important to make sure their videos are clear. Are they a filmmaker (or budding filmmaker) or gadget lover? A camcorder that has lots of features and options is a must.

Camcorders, as with many other electronics, have gotten smaller and better over time, but before you pick up the smallest camcorder for your travel buddy, make sure its not so small that they won't be even be able to use the buttons. You'll need to find a balance between size, weight, and usability. To capture moving kids (or other moving objects), there are two options: optical and digital image stabilization. Optical stabilization moves the sensor in the lens to compensate for shaking, while digital shifts the electronic image from frame to frame to counteract the motion. Generally, optical stabilization is thought to be better and companies including Nikon, Canon, Sony, and more all offer Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) technology.

If you're shopping for a filmmaker or gadget lover, you'll want to take a look at the "fancier" camcorders that feature more options. HD or high definition is becoming mainstream and many camcorders offer it. The most common options are 720p, 1080p, or 1080i. The "p" stands for progressive and "i" for interlaced. Interlaced means that only half the picture appears on the screen at a time with the second half appearing an instant later, while progressive shows the entire picture at once, which reduces the flickering that people sometimes notice while watching TV. Progressive is a newer technology and makes the picture appear smoother, so it is recommended over interlaced; however, you should keep in mind that if you choose 1080p it is not supported by some software. After HD, there are also different modes you can look for including low light and night mode. Both of these make it easier to shoot in low or almost no light, which could be an important feature depending on what you are planning to use your camcorder for.

With any camcorder you purchase, you'll want to make sure it has both a viewfinder and a screen. As many of us know, it can be very difficult to see the screen in bright light, and keep in mind that using the viewfinder saves battery. The larger the screen, the more battery it takes to run. You'll also want to look for a front mounted microphone. Having the microphone on the front of the camcorder allows it capture better sound - and less sound of you messing around with the camcorder. You can also purchase an external microphone that will pick up sound more clearly and accurately. Finally, you'll want to look at the zoom. There are two types of zoom: optical and digital. The optical zoom is more important it uses the lens to zoom, while digital zoom only enlarges the image the lens captures. Most camcorders have at least 10x optical zoom, though you can find higher zoom too - just keep in mind that higher zoom lenses are larger and harder to stabilize, so you may also want to invest in a tripod.

An important accessory you may want to consider purchasing with your camcorder is a TV, and I don't mean a television, but a .TV domain! That's right a .TV domain could be the perfect place to display videos to friends, family, and well, everyone! Plus it'll cost you way less money than a TV - .TV domains are on sale for just $12.99! Take advantage before our sale ends on 12/31/12 23:59 PST.

Author Robyn Norgan
This post was written by Robyn Norgan, who hopes that this will help you find the perfect camcorder (and .TV domain) this holiday season!