Technical characteristics of modern camcorders
In this part of the article we will talk about what characteristics of modern video cameras should be taken into account when choosing, as well as try to answer the most frequently asked questions.
First, we need to answer the question: “Do I need a high-resolution video camera or will a standard-resolution video camera be enough?” The answer to this question depends on your viewing equipment (or planned to be purchased).
After all, if you want to watch your video on a regular TV with a diagonal of 21 ”, then we can confidently say that an HD video camera will be a useless purchase for you, all the charms of high-definition video will be“ killed ”by an inappropriate viewing device. Moreover, it makes little sense to watch HD-video on conventional TVs with diagonals up to 29 ”inclusive – you will not see much difference compared to standard-resolution video. Another thing is if you have an LCD or plasma TV with a relatively large diagonal – here high-definition video reveals its advantages.
True, the availability of only a suitable TV is not enough, because you must have a suitable playback device. Conventional DVD players are not suitable here, they cannot play high-definition video, and converting your video to standard resolution for burning to DVD-Video will again, to a large extent, “kill” most of the benefits of HD. Thus, in addition to a suitable TV, you need to have a suitable playback device. Of course, the HD camcorder itself can also act as such a device, especially since the vast majority of modern high-definition camcorders are equipped with HDMI outputs for transmitting high-resolution digital video. In addition, a computer with appropriate software and a widescreen monitor can also act as a bundle “viewing device – HD playback device”. But if you are quite comfortable watching DVD-video discs on a regular DVD player and a regular 21-29-inch TV, then we can say with confidence that you do not need an HD-video camera yet, you can completely do with a standard-resolution video camera.
Secondly, we came to the question of which camcorder in which format and with which medium it is better to choose. Let’s start by choosing the format of a standard definition camcorder. Here, to our deep regret, there will soon be no particular choice – miniDV-format camcorders are gradually leaving the market. The prejudice of the majority of buyers against the cassette (for the most part, unjustified) did the trick, most of them need video cameras on DVD, flash, HDD, and therefore – MPEG-2 video cameras. And manufacturers are sensitive to this trend, and in many ways play along with it, folding their miniDV-lines and, conversely, expanding the line of MPEG-2 video cameras. So the question of choosing “miniDV vs MPEG-2” will soon disappear by itself. But the question remains of the choice of media, DVD or HDD. The answer to it is quite simple: if you are going to act according to the “filmed – inserted into a DVD player — viewed, put on a shelf” scheme, then DVD video cameras are suitable for you, they are designed specifically for such a scheme. But if video editing, creating your own DVD-video discs (not as the camera wants, but as you want) are added to this scheme, then the HDD-camcorder (or flash-camcorder in the case when compactness greater value than media volume).
Now about choosing a high-resolution camcorder. Here, as you remember, the competition is between two formats – HDV and AVCHD. And, although HDV-cameras record video on cassettes, it means that they are potentially “not residents” in the domestic market, as long as they are quite widespread, and therefore they are in serious competition with the growing strength of AVCHD. Their advantages again boil down to ease of editing: less loss on recompression, wider support in installation programs, less requirement on computer hardware resources needed for comfortable editing and viewing. Therefore, if you are not afraid of the cassette and are going to be more or less seriously involved in editing your home video, then perhaps the HDV-camcorder is more suitable for you. And if the “progressive” video medium is of more importance to you and you have a fairly powerful computer (an average Core 2 Duo with 2 GB of RAM will not hurt here, more is better), then one of the AVCHD camcorders may be more suitable for you.
Thirdly, another short question that is often heard in conferences dedicated to digital video is “Which cameras are better, Sony or Panasonic (Canon, JVC)?” The answer is simple – you should not look at the manufacturer, but at a specific model of the camera . Each of the main manufacturers has both successful and not very successful models, so the name of the company cannot be a criterion for the right choice.