Chances are, you already have some sort of device for recording movies. The phone in your pocket may even take HD video, and your digital camera probably does a halfway decent job at footage too. With all the devices that now capture video, is the camcorder market dying? Does someone with a smartphone in their pocket and a good digital camera in their bag even need a camcorder?
There's no question that the camcorder market is changing, but as more smartphones and cameras offer higher quality HD video, manufacturers are vamping up the perks of owning a dedicated camcorder. If you only shoot short clips for sharing on the internet, a digital camera or smartphone may be all you need. But if you want to shoot the entire football game, zoom in on a single player and then share on your TV at home, you need a dedicated camcorder. Still not sure? Here are five reasons to pick up that dedicated video cam:
Longer record times. Most digital cameras won't record more than a half hour of video at a time. The tech specs detail the maximum record time for each model. Cameras aren't designed for long videos, the memory card space and battery life don't handle them well. Cell phone video limits are generally even shorter. HD video on a digital camera is great for taking short clips to share online, but don't expect them to capture an entire concert, game or event with continuous footage.
Better video and sound quality.Just because a camera or cell phone has 1080p HD video doesn't mean the quality will be the same as a camcorder with 1080p. Another important factor to consider is the frames per second (fps). A good camcorder will record at at least 60 fps, while most cameras shoot at 30 fps or less. Motion like panning is blurred with slower fps speeds. Camcorders also generally have better built-in mics or ports for adding sound equipment, meaning the audio quality from a dedicated camcorder also beats cameras and cell phones.
More data storage. Video can quickly fill up a camera's memory card or a cell phone's data. Getting the “Not Enough Space Available” message while trying to take a quick family video on a cell phone is frustrating. A quality camcorder will come with flash memory that can generally store at least 3 hours of footage, as well as ports for adding memory cards for even more storage.
Extra comfort and tri-pod use. Digital cameras are designed to take a few snapshots, then rest on a neck or wrist strap. Cell phones are rather awkward to hold for long videos. Camcorders are designed with a long grip in mind and are generally more comfortable to use. Both digital cameras and camcorders can use a tripod for steadier shots, while if a cell phone is tripod compatible, it usually needs a special accessory.
More creative control. A dedicated camcorder has adjustable exposure, a longer zoom range, different focus options and creative filters, just to name a few. Most cell phones have little or no zoom and include only the basics. Digital cameras, depending on the model, may not zoom or focus while recording video. When you use a camcorder, you have more control of the final results.
So, do you need a dedicated camcorder? Maybe not. It is another thing to pack and another thing to purchase. Many cameras and cell phones do okay with short clips. But if you want a longer video with better picture and sound, the benefits of a quality dedicated camcorder are huge.