Considerations Before Buying a Camcorder

France, Paris region, Nogent sur Marne, Darty convention, HD camcorders
J-C&D. Pratt / Getty Images

A camcorder can be a big investment, and it is one of the most important pieces of equipment when it comes to creating high-quality desktop video. With the abundance of video cameras available, it can be difficult to figure out how to buy a video camera that’s right for you.

Before you run out and buy the latest model or whatever is on sale this week, consider the following tips. They’re designed to help you figure out how to buy a camcorder that’s perfect for your needs.

Consider Your Needs

First, consider what you’ll be using the camcorder for. If you have dreams of being a YouTube star or starting a vlog, you should buy a camcorder with a webcam function. If you’re going to be bringing the video camera to family events and on vacation, you should look for something small, light and easy to use. If you’re going to be shooting your big movie or doing professional work, you’ll want to spend a little bit more to get higher end features and better quality.



Once you have an idea of what you’ll be doing with your camcorder, you should be able narrow down the features that you’ll need.



High definition or standard definition, that is the question.

You can find many affordable high-definition camcorders now, but prices are still dropping as quality improves.

If you want to be on the cutting edge with high-definition, remember that besides an HD camcorder you’ll need HD editing software, an HD-DVD or Blu-ray burner, and an HD-DVD or Blu-ray player.

Recording Medium

Most standard definition consumer camcorders record either to mini-DV tape, DVD or hard disk.

Each medium has its advantages and disadvantages.



What comes included with your camcorder, and how much do additional accessories cost? Remember to consider the cost of batteries, microphones, cables, memory cards and editing software when factoring the price of a camcorder. If some or all of these things come included, it increases the value of your purchase.


Do Your Research

Once you've narrowed down your camcorder choices, read some reviews to find out more information about the models you're thinking about purchasing. These reviews might point out information you haven't considered, or reinforce your purchase decision.


Try It Out

You’ll probably get a better deal if you buy online, but you should still take advantage of local electronic stores. There, you can actually get your hands on a camera to see how it feels and functions. And, you can talk to knowledgeable sales people who can help with your decision.