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Monday, January 29, 2007

EZ DV Camcorders

Capture digital video with these palm-sized, reasonably priced camcorders that boast high-end features

In bright light where LCDs can be difficult to see, it's usually best to use the viewfinder. Look through the viewfinders of each camcorder to see how comfortable they are to use. Another advantage of using the viewfinder is that it conserves precious battery power.

The Greatest Quality
Of utmost importance is the quality of the video you'll get with the camcorder. You'll be pleased to know that all digital camcorders offer high-quality video far superior to old formats such as VHS, 8mm and Hi8.

The CCD captures the images and is responsible for the accuracy of the color, contrast and tonal rendition. Larger CCDs with a higher pixel count are able to record a greater amount of data and usually result in more detailed, better-looking images. Most digital camcorders record 500 or more lines of horizontal resolution (a video standard), whereas VHS records only 250 lines.

Image quality also will be affected by the quality of the optics in the camcorder. More expensive cameras often will have better lenses, although lens technology today offers remarkable results even in lower-priced units. The zoom range is a crucial optical feature of which to take note. As in digital cameras, digital camcorders have both an optical zoom range and a digital zoom range.

The digital zoom is a deceiving number because it crops the captured image and then magnifies it, degrading the quality of the image and increasing noise in the process. The true range of the lens is the optical zoom—the number on which you want to focus. Numbers such as 10x or 12x don't really tell you whether you're zooming in from a wide-angle or telephoto angle. Look for the 35mm equivalent to give you an accurate indication of the zoom range.

Some models may sport advanced features that further perfect the quality of the image. Image-stabilization technology corrects some of the bouncing that can result when you're shooting without a tripod. This hand shake is sometimes inevitable and is particularly noticeable when shooting in telephoto, but can be minimized by the use of optical or digital stabilization, which smoothes out the jerking and bouncing.



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