Holiday Helper: Digital HD Camcorders

The holiday season is fast approaching, and with the recent popularity of HDTVs, many people are looking for a great digital High Definition camcorder to replace their aging Standard Definition models. Whether you’re purchasing it as a gift or to immortalize the holidays in the form of digital film, there is a wide selection of HD camcorders to choose from.

Keep in mind, too, that you don’t necessarily have to choose between getting a new camcorder as a gift and using it to film your holiday adventures. You can use some of the smaller models as a stocking stuffer or wrap one up as a gift to be opened first. Just remember to make sure the batteries are fully charged or that the camera allows you to operate it while plugged into the charger.

The FlipHD and Sony Bloggie Touch

These digital camcorders are affordable, simple, and portable. They’re perfect for web-related videos (like Youtube and Facebook) and quick clips. Their cheaper price tag does come with a few sacrifices though. For starters, you’re limited to the built-in memory, which is only 4GB to 16GB (giving you only 1 to 4 hours of video) depending on model.

In order to accommodate the smaller form factor, the lenses lack any form of optical zoom. These limitations make these small camcorders less than ideal for those exciting and epic adventures, but they still make a great and affordable middle ground.

The Flip comes in a couple of different versions, all of which are capable of recording in 720p and have HDMI output. The Flip MinoHD is one of the most popular of the Flip line, with its smaller size, 60 frames per second recording, and image stabilization. For those who would like a bit more internal memory, the Flip SlideHD comes with 16GB of built-in storage and a slightly larger battery. Unfortunately, it lacks image stabilization and only records at 30 frames per second.

The Sony Bloggie Touch Camera gives you a great bang for your buck. Not only does it record in 1080p (unlike the Flip line) it also doubles as a 12.8MP digital camera for still images. Don’t get too excited though. Its camera lens isn’t much more than a glorified Smartphone camera; it has no optical zoom, limited focus, and small image sensor. Just like the Flip line, the Bloggie’s short battery life, restrictive storage space, and average picture quality will be your greatest limitations.

Sony HDR-CX110

When it comes to the more full-featured HD camcorders, there are hundreds, if not thousands, to choose from, and they can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. The Sony HDR-CX110 provides an excellent balance in price and features. It offers all of the standard features you’d expect from an HD camcorder and comes with 16GB of built-in storage with expansion slots for Memory Stick Pro Duo or SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. This keeps it very affordable and allows you to customize the amount of memory you need through the expansion cards.

The CX110 also offers some of the best image stabilization available as well as a great intelligent auto mode to make shooting simple for even the most novice of novices. To top it all off, it comes with an admirable image sensor and high-quality lens complete with 12x optical zoom.

The entire HDR-CX line actually makes a great place to start when searching for a new HD camcorder. While the CX110 offers an affordable middle ground on quality, features, and storage, spending a bit more on the CX550V (one of our highest rated products), for example, gives you a larger image sensor and a bit more storage.

Editor in Chief : Arie Struik

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