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Hd Camcorders Find The Right Format

MiniDV Tapes

Mini DV camcorders:


  • High quality images
  • Easy to use
  • Tapes and camcorders are cheaper


  • Lengthy Transfer Process
  • Not as convenient of flexible to transfer footage
  • No in – camcorder editing

Once the industry standard, what does this format offer consmers today?

MiniDV tapes were considered the industry standard format for consumers; they’re easy to use, small, a familiar format and give high quality results. However, times change and there are more flexible and convenient formats for consumers to opt for instead.

The MiniDV is probably the least and most time-consuming option to transfer footage from for the beginner, as you have to play the whole tape to transfer it.

There are Five ways to transfer footage from MiniDV: composite A/V leads – the red, white (sound) and yellow (video) plugs – and An S-video cable, though both of these downgrade the footage from HD to standard definition, so they tend to be used purely for viewing on an SD. ADV cable (or FireWire) , and USB 2.0 Both maintain the HD quality. The last way is using an HDMI cable – though this is just for viewing.

Composite Av and S-video can go into Your DVD recorder and PCs. FireWire is for connecting to a PC. If you are saving the footage to your computer, you will need bags of room for HD footage, and plenty of Ram memory too. You will also need dedicated software if you want to edit footage in any way.

Hard Disc Drive

What are the benefits of recording onto a hard drive over removable media?


  • Large storage capacity (up to 240GB)
  • Familiar recording format
  • Compact


  • More expensive than MiniDV and DVD, without the quality of MiniDV
  • Hard drives can fail

Built in HDD hard disk drive (HDD) are now commonplace in camcorders. They work in the same way as your PC’s hard drive in that they store all of the footage internally, so there is no need for removable memory storage, such as cards or tapes.

The benefits of HDD hard disk drive camcorders re: long recording times, compact dimensions and that you can easily access your footage at random place in the recording timeline, which makes for convenient editing in –camcorder.

A possible downside is the argument made by some that hard drives can be fragile ( for example, if the camera is accidentally dropped) and they will eventually wear out. Of course, as you’re recording onto an internal medium, you will also need to transfer it off the camcorder onto a DVD or your PC at some future point. When you are transferring the footage, your footage appears as single files that you can drag and drop, much like many PC operations, making it a familiar format for consumers.

Transferring your footage involves connecting your camcorder using DV (firewire) or USB 2.0 cables, and software if you want to edit. Of the two options, DV will be the faster method to transfer footage.


Enjoy the convenience before they disappear from shelves forever…


  • Straight Forward and easy to use
  • Decent quality
  • Instant playback in your DVD/BD
  • Convenient


  • DVD/BD disc limited capacity
  • Spare media could get expensive
  • Format not popular for camcorders

DVD camcorders are becoming less popular and will soon be dropped by manufactures. They are affordable and offer a very convenient and easy format to get to grips with. However, the chief plus point is that you can take your recently recorded footage and drop in into a DVD player or PC for instant playback without needing any extra cables or some sort of transferring procedure. You can also use your DVD enabled PC to edit footage and you have easy access to the footage on DVD because you don’t have to keep going forwards ans backwards to find a particular scene, as is the case with MiniDVs.

The downside is that the 8cm DVDs used in HD camcorders only hold around 15 – 20 minutes of footage per disc and at around £2 per disc, it can get expensive. Plus, you’ve always got to carry spares around with you and you have to decide which type of DVD to buy: write once DVDs (DVD –R) for extra storage capacity.

The quality of images is very high, but not quite as high as that from MiniDV camcorders. But for the average buyer, the convenience and simplicity of DVD/BD far outweighs the minor difference in quality.

Flash Memory Cards

Removable media cards have enabled camcorders to get ever smaller.


  • Straightforward and easy to use
  • Smaller and lighter camcorders
  • Future proof
  • Convenient


  • Limited memory card capacity
  • More expensive

Removable media cards (SD, SDHC, and Memory Stick) are solid state (they have no moving parts), retain data without the need for power, are vey small yet have high capacities (up to 64GB at the moment, but with 1 &2TB on the way) and fast transfer speeds. Card capacities are ever growing to meet the demand of ever bigger file sizes, so it possibly won’t be long before they could overtake hard disc drives as the convenient form for video storage especially as you can transfer footage to your PC just by inserting the card.

Editing in camcorder is easy too, as the footage can be viewed at no point in the timeline (called random access). Also, as memory cards are physically small, the camcorders can e smaller and lighter too a real benefit if you want to travel lights, as well as making it easier to handhold without introducing camera shakes. Furthermore, battery usage/power demand is far less and some Panasonic TVs, Sony’s Playstation 3 and some DVD players also have memory card slots so that you can insert your card and watch footage directly from it.

Of course, thee are a few downsides, such as the potential to lose memory cards (small isn’t always better!) and the current capacity limits of memory cards (though they can store more than 8cm DVDs)

About the Author

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