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What Should I Consider When Buying a Digital Video Camera?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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There is increasing amount of digital video camera choice, which means consumers have a lot of decisions to make when they select a camera. One thing that has definitely changed is price, and there are finally cameras priced under $200 US Dollars (USD), while there still exists many priced far above this. Price may not be the only or final considering factor when choosing a digital video camera though. Other things prospective buyers might want to consider are film and sound quality, ease of use when uploaded to different kinds of computers like Mac/PC, total recording hours available, intended purpose, and additional features.

Both film and sound quality may be important matters, and it should first be noted some digital video camera choices do not record sound. This is vital to find out for anyone who wants to shoot anything from a home movie to an amateur film. Folks should make certain sound is included unless they are prepared to do significant editing. Some editing may be required if sound quality is poor, and this may be a feature of certain cameras. Good ways to test this out are to watch YouTube® videos made with the camera and also to read any reviews from reputable tech sources that mention sound.

Picture quality is a valuable consideration too when it comes to choosing a digital video camera. Cameras do have specifications, but for the amateur, again, watching videos made is a good indication of what will be produced when making videos. Additionally, reviews on cameras from sources like Consumer Reports® may answer some questions. It should be expected that lower price range cameras are likely to have decent but imperfect quality that is suitable for amateur videos or downloads to YouTube®.

Each digital video camera might need to interact with different software on different types of computers. Most will be easier to use on PC forums. Mac users should do some research on recommended cameras for the platform. Some are fairly simple to use but may still require an extra step or two or downloading into programs like iMovie® before being saved as files elsewhere.

Cameras can have varied recording times. Some can record several hours of film, and others only record significantly less. Adding external memory, which is not very expensive, can often extend recording time. People should find out what they’re getting with the digital video camera purchase and what they might need to add to accomplish their filming goals.

Clearly filming goals and purpose of the camera have to be part of this decision. Parents who want to buy a kid a camcorder to play with, or those interested in a little citizen journalism are likely to start with basic cameras like the Flip® or Kodak®. Those who want professional quality video need to move up significantly in price and design to make the kind of videos they want. These factors definitely are important to weigh when making a choice.

Lastly, each camera’s features may be important to consider. For instance, some cameras also take still shots, which can be a great way of eliminating the need to carry a camcorder and camera. Some have extra zoom, allowing for very close shots, and others shoot in high definition. Cameras might also come with extras like tripods, or cases. The importance of any feature must be weighed against intended camera use.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
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Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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