Three Important Considerations when looking to purchase a digital camcorder
Price: For many camcorder users, this will be the deciding factor. If you don't need the highest-end model with all the special effects and added features, stay within your budget and purchase a good quality camcorder that will do just fine in recording sports games, weddings, and other memories. Remember to factor in the cost of tapes, an extra battery, carrying case and maybe even a tripod.
Purpose: What do you want to use it for? Do you want to edit footage using your computer? Would you like to turn footage into video shorts to email to friends and family?
Recording Format: Deciding which format to use determines the cost of tapes or disks, and also how much recording time you'll get. Additionally, if you choose any of the analog formats, copying your video will result in a decrease in quality with each copy.
Prices of Tapes/Disks: Mini DV and D8 cassettes are least expensive and easiest to find.
How much recording time will you get? MiniDV, Digital 8, MicroMV tapes: at least 60 minutes recording time
Prices of Accessories: Be sure to include an extra battery, carrying case to protect your purchase, and maybe a tripod if you are concerned about stabilizing your footage.
Do you need accessories for editing? Do you have an IEE 1394 port (FireWire or i.Link) on your computer? If not, you will most likely need an expansion card.
The quality of a camcorder’s lens will greatly affect the picture and zoom. An image will only be as good as the optics through which it is recorded. Lenses are likely to be the most expensive component in a quality camcorder, but you will enjoy the improved quality. Some big names in lenses to look for: Carl Zeiss, Leika, and Canon.