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I have always wanted a camcorder. Recently I have been very keen to purchase a DVD camcorder because the idea of recording direct onto DVD then playing it in a DVD player was amazing. It would be very expensive however to go with this option and I have been put off by the £300 - £500 for a decent camera price.
The other reason I wanted a camcorder was because my digital camera although including a movie mode did not play continuous clips, by that I mean I film a shot, turn the camera off and need to film another shot they are not continuous.
I have been hinting at various people for a camcorder but never really expected it due to the price. I was therefore very lucky on Christmas day to open the present(s) from the other half and find I had everything I have hinted at.
The camcorder is rather dainty. It is silver in colour and to me I feel this gives it a very modern look at appearance. It does have a navy blue band around the viewfinder which makes it look a little nicer and modern.
The camcorder is so light to carry which is particularly useful when filming for many hours. The wrist strap at the side of the camcorder is very helpful as I could sample 'real-life' whilst making a permanent record for when I get home. I was keen to buy a decent camcorder for my wedding (in a years time) instead of paying loads for a professional one. My dad is pretty good with a camera and this would save us loads. I can honestly say that anyone using the camera on the day will be in for a treat its just amazing in everyway.
EASE OF USE
The camcorder is very easy to use. I found it very easy to carry and the buttons are positioned close to my index finger and thumb so I am not fumbling around. We used the camera when we went to the zoo and I liked the fact that when I saw something happening I didn't have to fumble around to press a button as it was in close reach of my thumb. The zoom button was also very easy to reach for movies that flow well and look consistent.
The camcorder although basic compared to others on the market is stylish and very easy to use. The features are easy to find and easy to use. I am still learning different features but certainly shooting a video, incorporating fades and transitions and playing the movie back is very straight forward and stress-free.
The battery life was slightly disappointing and my main grumble would be that I cannot use rechargeable batteries as can with a digital camera. The camcorder takes about 4-6 hours to charge and lasts about 1-2 hours, not nearly as long as I was expecting.
I was amazed at the quality of zoom (30x) on this camera and was gob smacked to see that the zoom is almost as good if not on a par with my dad's binoculars. We could see great detail up close on many animals at the zoo.
I also find that the zoom makes a great effect during any film...e.g. movement and getting closer.
The camcorder accepts 'Mini DV' tapes. The tapes are very easy to find and due to the small size they can be carried around in a bag as spares. I hope to use a tape more than once by transferring data from one tape onto a DVD disk.
I was a little disappointed that I cannot plug the camera into the computer and take still shots from the movie. By having the camcorder I missed some excellent 'photo opportunities', and although this isn't too bad when they are on a movie it is sometimes just nice to have a photo to look at.
I was astonished to see the crisp, clear and almost practically perfect (I was filming so it was not perfect) picture on my TV screen. In fact the clip on the TV looked so professional which is amazing when you consider the lack of camcorder experience I have.
There is not USB facility so the AV wires provided will need to be inserted into the TV to view the film. My dad has said that the camcorder can be plugged into a DVD recorder and the film be placed onto a DVD which is very good.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
This camcorder is not cheap and at the moment (Jan 2008) it retails at about £140 - £200. It is available from Play.com, Amazon, Argos, Currys and Comet, so if you look around carefully you can pick it up at a great price.
This is a very versatile camcorder suitable for a range of abilities. I have very little experience and found it very easy to use. My dad, who has years of experience was also amazed by the picture quality. I feel confident that this camera will be very useful in years to come as it provides some excellent pieces for a 'video album' and will one day help us remember some of the very special times we shared.