Recently camcorder or video camera has become very popular. They are easy to use and readily available as consumer item. People use them to capture memorable events such as sport events, family gatherings, picnic etc.
A typical analog camcorder contains two basic parts:
- A camera section, consisting of a CCD, lens and motors to handle the zoom, focus and aperture . The camera component receives visual information and transmits it to an electronic video signal.
- A VCR section is exactly same as TV VCR : It receives an electronic video signal and records it on video tape as magnetic patterns.
A third component, the viewfinder, receives the video image as well . There are many formats for analog camcorders and many extra features, but this is the basic design of most all of them. The main variable is what kind of storage tape they use .
The digital camcorder stores the signals in digital mode that is in the form of 0 and 1. Digital camcorders are so popular because you can copy 1s and 0s very easily without losing any of the information you’ve recorded. But analog information, “fades” with each copy. Video information in digital form can also be loaded onto computers where you can edit it, copy it.
Review of Top three camcorders
Canon Vixia HF11:
The Canon Vixia HF11 flash memory camcorder is at the top of full-HD camcorder list . The Canon Vixia HF11 is a reworking of the HF10, that records in full 1920 x 1080 in the AVCHD format. Canon Vixia HF11 has a dual flash memory feature, which allows you to record to both the internal 32GB memory and an external SDHC memory and a new maximum bitrate for recording This model provides the highest quality of video available in the latest AVCHD format. It is less costly than most of the similar models, yet it maintains the quality.
Its dimention is 2.9 x 2.5 x 5.1 inches and 15.2 ounces in weight. In this SD memory cards are used instead of tape, DVD-R, or hard drive, so it has no moving parts other than the zoom lens and focus which makes it easy to handle.You can record HD video at 24Mbps, the highest bit rate currently available for AVCHD format. The video quality is best as well as camcorder’s performance is also excellent .The only problem is that the battery life is short ..
- Design : Full High Definition (1,920 x 1,080) Digitial Video Camera
- Sensor : One 1/3.2″ (0.31″) CMOS
- Recording Modes : 1080i60, 1080p30, 1080p24
- Recording Bitrates : 24, 17, 12, 7, 5 Mbps
- Built-in Memory : 32 GB (Will Record 2 Hr 55 min at 24 Mbps)
- Uses Optional SD Cards for Additional Recording
- Lens : f= 4.8mm – 57mm, f/1.8
- LCD Screen : 2.7″
- Connectors : USB, HDMI, External Microphone, Headphone
- Minimum Focus Distance : 10mm
- Dimensions : 2.5″ H x 2.9″ W x 5.1″ D
- Weight : 15.2 Ounces
- Excellent quality- allows HD recording at highest AVCHD bitrates
- Powerful- 12x zoom combined with Instant Auto Focus brings action closer
- Value- quality, features, and performance are hard to beat for the price
- Smart- records to dual flash memory cards for improved recording performance
- Flaws- awkward eyepiece, slow file transfer time, and poor battery life .
Price: $799.99 – $1,497.50 USD approx
The Sony DCR-SX40 is compact, stylish and easy to use camcorder having user friendly features . It is small enough to carry around in your pocket.. Measuring 53x59x113mm and weighing 250g .The Sony DCR-SX40 is available in three different colours – black, silver and red.
It has 4GB of extra embedded memory and 60x optical zoom. The Sony DCR-SX40 records video to removable flash memory .One of the powerful feature of Sony DCR-SX40 is 60x optical zoom lens.In general while working at maximum zoom the footage is slight blurr but the DCR-SX40 does a pretty good job of keeping footage smooth and steady.
There is one drawback in the Sony DCR-SX40 that its imaging sensor is not so good. It consists of a single CCD measuring an eighth of an inch, with an effective pixel count of just 410k. So picture and sound quality is not very perfect. But the video performance is appropriately match with its price. Sony DCR-SX40 also comes with the still image mode, but with low resolution of 0.3 mega-pixels. All we can say that SonyDCR-SX40 is a good camcorder ..
- Video: 720 x 480 Pixels, SD (MPEG2)
- Zoom : Digital 2000x, Optical 60x
- Focal Length: 1.8 – 108 mm
- Sensor: CCD, 1/8″
- Display: LCD, 2.7″
- Still Image: 16:9 Mode. 250K pixels / 4:3 Mode . 340K pixels
- Storage : Flash Memory 4 GB
- Battery : Lithium-Ion NP-FH30
- Dimensions : 53 x 59 x 113 mm
- Weight : 250 g
- Superior build quality, intuitive user interface, dedicated fool-proof buttons for auto shooting.
- Standard-definition only, imaging sensor not very impressive, video performance only adequate .
Price: $199.00 – $279.00 approx
Though in appearance Panasonic HDC-TM700 may not captivate your eyes at the first sight. But there are several improvements in it. This is the first consumer camcorder to offer 1080/50p recording i.e. full HD video every second. The video is recorded as H.264 running at 28Mbits/sec. The maximum AVCHD data rate available is still 17Mbit/sec. Recording in the AVCHD format at 1080/60p requires a large storage memory space .The TM700 has 32GB of internal memory and a SD, SDHC and SDXC compatible memory-card slot that can provide up to 64GB of additional storage..
Panasonic has three CMOS system, and each of the three CMOS sensors remains 1/4in in size with a gross 3.05-megapixel apiece. Panasonic has improved optical image stabilization system and increases still image resolution from 10.6-megapixels to 14.2-megapixels .The TM700 has an excellent 12x optical zoom, It has zoom factor to 18x without the loss in quality normally associated with a digital zoom.
In all conditions, from low light to very bright scenes, the results are very good. The detail capture, colour balance are accurate. The camera has intelligent auto mode and when auto mode is not in use, the manual adjustment system can be used effectively. Overall, the Panasonic HDC-TM700 is an outstanding product. It may be expensive, but its manual control system, top video quality and general ease to use make it the best consumer camcorder.
- Media: 32GB built-in memory; SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card
- Recording Format: AVCHD
- Image Sensor: 1/4.1″ MOS X 3
- Total Pixels: 9.15 megapixels (3.05 megapixels X 3)
- Resolution: Full HD 1920 X 1080/60p
- LCD Monitor: 3.0′ wide LCD
- Microphone: 5.1ch Surround, Zoom and Focus Microphone
- Jacks: HDMI, USB, Microphone (stereo mini), Headphone (stereo mini)
- Lens Type: Leica Dicomar Lens
- Zoom: Optical 12X; Intelligent 18X; Digital 30X and 700X
- Image Stabilizer: Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization)
- Focus: Auto/Manual
- White Balance: Auto/Indoor1/Indoor2/Sunny/Cloudy/White Set
- Iris: Auto/Manual
- Face Recognition
- Time-lapse Recording:from one frame per second to one frame every two minutes
- 1080/60p recording
- 32GB internal memory + SD, SDHC, SDXC card slot
- External microphone jack
- Accessory shoe adapter
- Focus assist
- Port cover supports seem weak and may be susceptible to breaking
- No HDMI cable
Price: $792.00 – $999.95 approx