Purchasing a DV Camcorder:

Standard or High-Definition

DV Camcorder

High-Definition (HD) video is crisper and more detailed than standard definition. Most video hosting websites now support HD, and the price of an HD camera has dropped considerably. If you want the potential to create more professional grade video, HD may be the way to go.

Recording Medium

If you're getting a DV Camcorder and want to edit your footage, we recommend models that use mini-DV tape, as opposed to hard disk or DVD (which aren't always as reliable). Certain hybrid models record to memory card, and may be a happy medium between camcorder and digital camera.

Computer Ports!

You'll need a USB 2.0 port or Firewire port (also known as "i.Link" or "IEEE 1394"). Some older computers only have USB 1.0 ports, which are not fast enough to transfer video data. Make sure your camera and computer have matching ports.

Battery Life

batteriesCamcorder review sites can be a good source for finding realistic battery life (manufacturers often report optimistically high operation time). If you plan on recording outdoors for extended periods, you might consider a spare or higher capacity battery.

Image and Sound Quality

You can find examples of image quality on camcorder review sites, some sites even review the internal microphone quality.

If you really want great sound, you'll need to use an external microphone. Just make sure you have an audio input jack if you plan to use an external microphone.

Advanced Features

If you're looking to get superior sound and video, here are two advanced features to look for... (Click to expand)

Ergonomics and User Interface

Even if you buy online, we recommend checking out a few brands of DV camcorders in stores. Hold a variety of models and brands to see which shape is most comfortable. Look into the viewfinder and make sure you're satisfied with your ability to hold the picture steady. If you travel a lot, make sure it is a comfortable size.

We're always looking to improve these guides.
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